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Open Forum

Take down the ATV and UTV signs in Crosslake if the law/ordinance is not going to be enforced

Letter to the Editor

I request that the signs explaining the law/ordinance on riding ATVs and UTVs through Crosslake be removed. Since the law/ordinance isn't being enforced, why bother. Numerous times while in Crosslake I've seen in particular UTVs speeding along well over the posted speed limit as well as traveling in the vehicle lanes.

If you're not going to enforce the law/ordinance take the signs down. They are a joke.

Dan Wilm
Pequot Lakes, MN

Moving Forward

Letter to the Editor

Editor,

[Wednesday, January 6, 2021] is a day that will live in infamy as the day that the shining beacon of American freedom and democracy was dimmed by an armed mob that invaded the U.S. capitol building and interrupted those Republican congressmen who were legally challenging the results of the 2020 presidential election. Those who organized, participated in, and encouraged this shameful act should be charged with sedition and treason, right up to the outgoing President Trump, and including those who failed to adequately protect the perimeter of the capitol.

Thankfully, the forces of democracy triumphed; the capitol was secured and our patriotic elected leaders returned to complete their duty to certify the election of our new president, Joe Biden.

Thankfully, only one person was killed and four injured in the attack. The forbearance of the police and National Guard forces that day should be a model for police across the country to emulate in response to demonstrations by Black Lives Matter, gun rights organizations, and those objecting to emergency corona virus protection measures, as well as ordinary citizens being stopped or investigated for possible criminal activity.

I hope that all of us can move forward with renewed respect for the Constitution and laws of this country.

Patricia W Scott
Brainerd, MN

Property Taxes

Letter to the Editor

There was a front-page article in the December 30, 2020 Brainerd Dispatch related to setting the Crow Wing County budget and property taxes. There were words in one sentence that caught my eye. The County is expected to collect a total of $41,262,480 next year “from those who own property”.

Does not every person, regardless of property ownership, receive the same benefits? Does not every person regardless of the value of property receive the same benefits? On the same city block or lake or woodland home site does not every person receive the same benefits regardless of assessed value? I have not observed the rising or lowering of the snowplowing based on assessed property values and many other comparisons could be made.

Consider two individuals working side by side at the same incomes. One invests in a home for the family and the other finances trips and adult toys. Are those with the higher property taxes subsidizing the others all of whom receive the same benefits of the local government.

I have been a property owner for almost 54 years in three different counties and occasionally I have reviewed the assessor’s reports. It is frustrating how frequently in all three counties there has been falsification of the records but always to increase the flow of tax dollars to government.

One has to wonder if its time or past time to replace the “Kings” tax so that all residents support local government and not just property owners. I also do not want to hear that non property owners pay other taxes, like sales tax, special 0.05% taxes, etc. because property owners also pay these taxes.

Kent Rees
Emily, MN
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Bobcat Trapping Season: DOG OWNERS BEWARE!

Letter to the Editor

Dog owners should know that bobcat trapping season opened on December 19 and it will bring a surge of 1,000’s of the meat baited dog killing traps that will remain in the woods until January 24th.

Your dog could be killed in the process. My dog Penni was killed in a legally set meat baited body grip traps set on the ground on December 17, 2011. Hundreds of other of MN dogs have been killed in legally set traps.

Trappers will claim the woods with their surge of deadly meat baited body grip traps on the ground in the woods. You are no longer welcome.

Some bobcat trappers choose to use proven dog killer traps. These traps have killed the largest dogs by crushing the throat of the dog with 90 lbs. pressure.

Here’s a short slow motion video of the trap firing. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J2E9YjHgdPQ

The reason trappers give for choosing a dog killing trap is that they don't have to work as hard because the state allows them to skip checking the traps for 3 days. In other words, the state is encouraging the use of these lethal dog killing traps by appealing to the laziness of some trappers. Not one District 10 politician is willing to lift a finger to protect your dog. Two of them even voted to allow trappers to set traps on your unposted land without your permission.

John Reynolds
Dog Lovers 4 Safe Trapping MN
Merrifield, MN

Enbridge's Tar Sands Pipeline: Unacceptable during a Pandemic

Letter to the Editor

Dear Editor,

Recently a Forum Communications’ Editorial Board weighed the irreparable harms of death as less significant  than lost income when asking us all to "accept" the Line 3 project as a "greater good beyond (ourselves)". While unemployment benefits can replace lost wages, atop grieving, many Minnesota families are facing the economic hardship of a funeral — or two — as the coronavirus thrives in congregate living.

A few short-term Minnesota jobs versus scores of dead Minnesota nurses and neighbors? I’d call that “unacceptable”.

Unlike referenced election lawsuits, Line 3 evidence has for years resulted in clear court decisions for opposition  parties, as well as a report from the Minnesota Office of Legislative Auditors, showing that the Public Utilities Commission failed to follow the law in the Line 3 approval process.

Forum Communications said “violent protesters … are staging and readying, and law enforcement has been equipping itself with armor … to respond.” If war is coming, it will be waged by over-militarized police fearing violence when faced with women praying while holding sage. It is not our life-protecting stand, but the corrupted power of money that brings war.

We need to maintain jobs that our Minnesota neighbors do: inspecting and repairing the current Line 3 infrastructure for our safety. Applaud their fine work! Line 3 is perhaps Enbridge’s safest, leaking only 66 gallons in the last dozen years (mostly contained pump station leaks).

Meanwhile, in just five weeks, we’ve lost 1729 neighbors; 271 more than last week's 5-week review. Progressing weeks’ data show a bad trend: 249, 327, 317, 397, and now 439 deaths. How many next week?

Let’s do some things that truly are for the greater good: Wear a mask, stay home, and delay Line 3.

Jami Gaither
Alida, MN

Eight MN legislators speak out against Line 3 during visit to construction site

Letter to the Editor

Palisade, Minn. -- Newly elected legislators from Rochester, Duluth and Moorhead were among eight Minnesota lawmakers who spoke in opposition to the Line 3 tar sands pipeline Sunday [December 13, 2020] near Palisade, where its construction would cross the Mississippi river. Winona  LaDuke of Honor the Earth led the group, along with 50 water protectors and activists, around the site, stopping at a prayer lodge she and other Indigenous leaders built recently in the line of construction. LaDuke and the legislators discussed the catastrophic climate impacts of the pipeline, the health risks of bringing in out of state pipeline workers during a pandemic, and the need to respect Native American culture and treaty rights.

“The historic preservation officers are told that they can look at things which are dead. I said ‘We’re not dead.’ The Anishinaabe people are a living culture,” LaDuke said. “The state says they want to respect Indigenous knowledge. It would be good if they actually respected it. I told them, ‘You all are looking for pot shards, but we’re still here.’ ”

Legislators emphasized a duty to future generations. “It’s not just about what we do right now. It’s affecting the next generations,” said Representative-elect Heather Keeler of District 4A in Moorhead. “I believe that when we leave it’s our responsibility to hand down Mother Earth in the best form that we found her if not better.”

Sen. John Marty of District 66 in Roseville said, “We have an obligation to our kids and grandkids and to our tribal neighbors, and their kids, and grandkids.”

“We have a moral imperative to do our part of mitigating the damage of the climate crisis,” said Senator-elect Jen McEwen from District 7 in Duluth, “If this happens right now while we are at the helm of these decisions, history will not look kindly on us.”

Others urged Gov. Walz to heed the advice of climate scientists and health experts. Rep. Sydney Jordan from District 60A in Minneapolis spoke of her own relatives who were sick with COVID-19 but turned away from overflowing hospitals and about the health costs of fossil fuel emissions. “Gov. Walz has tried hard to make good decisions for people’s health. I’m hoping Gov. Walz can be a real health leader and make the decision to stop this pipeline.”

Senator-elect Erin Murphy of District 64 in St. Paul said, “We must invest as swiftly as possible in green energy and the technologies that will protect our climate and create skilled union jobs for Minnesotans. It’s a fresh path that includes all of us.”

Legislators also discussed that the majority of Line 3 jobs were going to out of state pipeline workers. “I think often people believe that if we’re going to protect Mother Earth that means we don’t care about jobs. The reality is we still very much care about jobs, just not jobs that are affecting us so negatively,” said Senator-elect Mary Kunesh of District 41 in New Brighton.

Finally they emphasized the importance of their visit to the site. “I came up here to see the construction for myself, to bring that back to the Legislature and to fight for justice and protect the environment. It’s about justice and fairness,” Representative-elect Liz Boldon of District 25B in Rochester said. Senator-elect Lindsey Port of District 56 in Burnsville agreed: “It’s our job to amplify the voices of you all here and take that back to St. Paul.”

Brett Benson,
MN350 Communications Director

Gazelka

Letter to the Editor

I want to congratulate Judy and Jerry Hoffmann and Dean Borgeson on their letter to the editor published in the Northland Press last week. It expresses my sentiments exactly. How can he have the gall to request priority in Covid19 vaccination after he and his fellow Republicans ignored all CDC recommendations and openly attended political rallies meetings and parties even when they were infected.

The front line workers caring for Covid patients are trying to save lives and deserve the title of essential workers. Those who mock the effort to save lives and instead argue with the governor when he tries to save lives and would rather continue to receive a salary from taxpayer money through six special sessions instead of working on passing a bill to provide relief to Minnesota businesses and struggling Minnesota residents. These people should be called non-essential workers and go to the very end of the line to receive vaccinations.

Dick Dietz
Crosslake, MN

Treat people with dignity

Letter to the Editor

When a person is not wearing a mask or other face-covering, others should not assume that the person is acting in  defiance of the governor's mandate. Some people are genuinely unable to wear masks/facecoverings for very legitimate medical reasons. These reasons are sometimes, but not always, obvious to casual observers. It is out of respect for these exempt people and their medical privacy that many businesses are deliberately and appropriately choosing not to question people who enter without a face-covering.

The Minnesota mandate has very clear exemptions for medical reasons. The reasons are actually quite extensive. People with these exemptions deserve to be treated respectfully and be allowed to participate normally in society if they wish to do so. It is unethical and immoral to treat them as if they are posing a threat to others by being out in public without the ubiquitous mask.

For an establishment to absolutely deny entry to persons who are medically unable to wear masks/shields is unethical, immoral, discriminatory, and cruel. It is bullying to try to force these medically-exempt people to wear face-coverings in order to do business in society, when wearing them may cause severe harm to these people's health. Not everyone has the ability or desire to do business via online ordering and/or curbside service, and the nature of certain businesses makes such methods of operation impossible anyway.

Businesses understand boycotts because boycotts hurt their bottom line. If enough people boycotted businesses over their mask-policies which deny that all persons have a right to be treated with dignity, they would back down and start treating ALL customers with proper respect.

Jessica Schumacher
Emily, MN

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