Open Forum for April 27, 2017

EDITOR’S NOTE: Letters will be accepted for the Open Forum for publication in the next available issue after receipt. Letters may be sent to Forest Lake Times, 146 N. Lake St., Suite 125, Forest Lake, or by e-mail to [email protected] Letters should not exceed 250 words and must be signed with the writer’s name, address and telephone number. Deadline is noon Monday. The newspaper reserves the right to edit letters and assure that rules of libel and good taste are not violated. Letters by the same writer will not be published more than once per calendar month.

Join other Christians
When listening to the news reports, we quickly wonder what direction our country is going and what can stop its self-destruction. Recently, I wired money to someone in another state, but the monetary amount allowed was very limited. When I inquired why, the clerk reported that scams were high in that particular state, and the cash limitations were an effort to decrease the fraud. The author of Psalms 118:8 knew men well when he wrote, “It is better to take refuge in the Lord than to trust in man.”

The political arena is not the answer to our problems either. Try as politicians may, they are finite people who need wisdom dealing with a divisive country. Maybe that is why the author of Psalm 118:9 wrote, “It is better to take refuge in the Lord than to trust in princes.”

But God can, and does, work through ordinary people to answer our prayers. The Apostle Paul understood this when he said, “First of all, then, I urge that entreaties and prayers, petitions and thanksgivings, be made on behalf of all men, for kings and all who are in authority, so that we may lead a tranquil and quiet life in all godliness and dignity.” (1 Tim 2:1-2 NASB).

Want improvements? You can help by joining area Christians in praying for our country and communities on the National Day of Prayer, Thursday, May 4, noon to 1 p.m. at the Forest Lake American Legion.

Holly Payer
Forest Lake

No more PR

Did you enjoy the April 13 guest column by Mayor Winnick? It was very well written. I expect the city will be billed by the PR firm Zipko Strategy for a similar one to one and a half hours (at $175 hr) it was billed for working on his last guest column. This piece might even have required two hours. I find it repulsive that he is using my tax dollars to pay someone to write his articles to forward his agenda of getting rid of the FLPD. Why don’t we know the total, up-to-date cost of Zipko’s services? Possibly to avoid embarrassment when the bill is brought up before the whole council. Will the Zipko payments be included in the cost of disbanding the police, or will it fall neatly between the cracks and hit the general fund? Where is the transparency in the whole process? From Zipko’s initial verbal contract (so as not to be presented before the council) to the billing, none of this can be found in the proposal documents on the city website. Zipko is only involved with the city on the contract law enforcement issue, and all costs associated with them are related to this issue. Administrator Parrish, please post Zipko’s complete dossier of documents on the city website so we can all see what you and Mayor Winnick are using our tax dollars for and how much it is actually costing us to assist you two in getting rid of our police department.

John Bodine
Forest Lake

Local representation

The community of Forest lake currently enjoys knowing that when we call, an officer will respond, our voices will be heard, and our problems will be investigated by someone who works and interacts with this community daily. There is no such guarantee in the County Sheriff’s proposal. Our local officers will be replaced or demoted, with no recognition of the years of service they have given to this city. In turn, Forest Lake will receive the services of an already overloaded county sheriff’s office run by an elected person our community has very little control over. Who can we hold accountable when our calls go unanswered, our cases wait to be investigated, and our community no longer has the presence of those who care as deeply for Forest Lake as our current officers do? Call or email or visit your elected representatives, and tell them your concerns; ask them to answer these questions with certainty before entering into a contract with the cunty and disbanding our police department.

Dianne Finnemann
Forest Lake

Great story

I am writing this letter to thank Cliff Buchan for the great story about the Boehm family in the April 6 issue of The Forest Lake Times. My grandparents John and Anna left Europe and came to New Orleans to settle there, but John enlisted in the Civil War to the north (Tennessee), then up to Centerville, Anoka County and Columbus Township. His stone is in Calvary Cemetery in Forest Lake.

I am so proud of all they accomplished; they were such upstanding people. They bore 10 children, of which son Frank and wife Frances are my father and mother. They, too, raised eight children, of which I am the only remaining living member (Helen passed last September). I married George Morello (deceased) of Louisiana and there are three children, six grandchildren and seven great-grandchildren to carry on the Boehm heritage. There are more with the Boehm surnames, and I wonder just how many cousins of mine have the name also in their past. Once again, thanks to Cliff, and God bless all.

Myra Boehm Morello
Forest Lake

On integrity

A recent letter writer questioned whether Council Member Bain could be objective in evaluating a proposal from the county to provide patrol services while she is advocating for the current police department. A better question might be why the writer did not question the integrity of a mayor who in newspaper ads, campaign signs, and on Facebook pledged full support of the FLPD, and less than a week after the election began the process to remove the FLPD in favor of the county sheriff. Council Member Bain also stated her support of the FLPD during the election; she, however, has maintained that support and is continuing to act in accordance with her campaign promises. Which of these two people can truly be said to have integrity or to act in the interests of those who elected them?

Jim Skroch
Forest Lake

Will of the people

Mayor Winnick and Councilmen Freer and Eigner have been vocal in their support of the “will of the people.” They were critical that previous city councils did not appear to “listen” to residents that they agreed with, and they even passed a resolution intending that large city expenditures should not be made without a “vote of the people.” These same people now wish to ignore more than 110 businesses, 4,800+ petition signatures and repeatedly packed council chambers that have implored them to end discussions with the Washington County Sheriff to provide patrol functions. Instead, because this majority of Forest lake residents do not share their jaundiced view of FLPD, they now refuse to support the FLPD by ending discussions with the county to contract for services, which would reflect the “will of the people.”

How do I spell “hypocrisy”? “Winnick, Freer, Eigner.”

Steve Thomas
Forest Lake

Valuable resource

Recently we needed emergency assistance. My husband Greg had stopped breathing and was unresponsive.

When I call 911 for police assistance, I want the responding officer to know exactly where to find my house, know who I am, have an idea of my special needs, and care about me and my community. I have all this in the Forest Lake Police Department. Their response time in my crisis was only three minutes. The ambulance was 20 minutes.

Many of the officers, including the chief, graduated from Forest Lake High School. They know the good, the bad and the geography of this city. They collaborate with Beyond the Yellow Ribbon and know the specific challenges and needs of our returning veterans. They are the officers in our schoola and know our youth by name. The work of our officers with the Youth Service Bureau has facilitated diversion from the criminal justice system of youth than have merely made a mistake, saving these kids’ futures. Our officers know the special policing needs of Forest Lake, whether protecting ice houses, keeping Fourth of July celebrations safe, being visible at Arts in the Park, or keeping visitors secure at fishing contests or boat or snowmobile races. Our officers are highly trained and have saved lives by providing emergency aid until an ambulance arrived. The Forest Lake Police Department is a true community policing organization that reflects our community’s values and priorities. This is a valuable resource that our city must not lose.

Janice Ochs
Forest Lake

Invitation to prayer

You are invited to joint area Christians to pray for the evil that’s ever invading America. We see anger among races and political parties. Our police are being attacked, and there is division in our own city government.

What can we as individuals do about it? Our hope for the future depends on each of us to pray for this country — families, youth, schools and clergy.

Our community of area churches will gather to seek God’s intervention on May 4. Join us at noon to pray at the American Legion. Fellowship and treats will be had after the event.

Diane Rueb
Forest Lake

Extra services?

Mayor Winnick,

Can you address my question? What “extra services” will Forest Lake residents be getting by contracting Washington County for police service? Is it the water patrol division, dispatch center, SWAT team, narcotics unit, cyber crime, records keeping, jail, canine or major crimes unit? The Washington County Sheriff’s Office has provided these services for years through tax dollars collected at the county level. If there is a major crime in the city, Washington County, the Bureau of Criminal Apprehension and the federal government will continue to work with Forest Lake officers as they have for years. Not one of these services will become dedicated to our city. The city will continue to receive the excellent service that has been provided through the Sheriff’s Office that it has had in the past. It is my belief residents of the city will not be receiving “extra services” by contracting our police services out.

I have worked with each of these agencies as a Forest Lake police officer (now retired). Information that is being provided is false. What other information being presented to the voters is false? You were elected to represent the citizens and lead our city in a democratic, not autocratic, manner.

Tom Hagert
Forest Lake

Take some time

I propose that the Forest Lake City Council table the contract policing proposal from Washington County. If Mayor Winnick and Councilmen Freer and Eiger really believe that this is the right move, then give the businesses and residents time to learn more about it. People are frustrated because for most of us, this is the first we’ve heard about i,t and Mayor Winnick misled us during the election last fall about his support for FLPD. The Ben Winnick for Mayor Facebook page posted last September, “I support FL Police.” Immediately after the election, he began working to put the entire FLPD on unemployment.

Just a few years ago, Mayor Winnick was on the side of residents having a voice in decisions that have a major impact on the city. He ran for election to the City Council, claiming he would listen to businesses and residents. Now, he seems intent on jamming through an idea that neither businesses nor residents want.

If contract policing is right for Forest Lake, it will still be right in a year and a half, after an election that can be run on where candidates stand on this important issue. Residents are open to learning more about this idea when it’s not being rushed through and jammed down our throats. Give us time to understand why this is good for Forest Lake.

Lynn Dufresne
Forest Lake

  • Eugene Huerstel

    I’m glad to see Maria Bain posted on her Facebook page to have an objective discussion about the police issue.
    Also Jan, I hope Greg is doing well. Eugene Huerstel