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Open Forum

Crosslake Ideal Lions: a worthy organization

Letter to the Editor

Crosslake is fortunate to be in a community where people care about the place they live and are willing to put in the time and effort it takes to make it what it is.

Among the very best of these are the Crosslake Ideal Lions. However, I wonder if it is widely known just how much the Lions put into the area both in time and funding as well.

For example, last year 2019 alone the Lions contributed over $90,000 to a wide range of causes. Among the recipients were the Crosslake fire dept that received $6500 for the purchase of a CPR machine, $15000 to the Crosslake Community School for playground assistance, $4000 to the Mission Township Firefighters Assn to purchase equipment, $5000 to the Whitefish Yacht Club for channel buoys, $6000 to the PAL foundation for pickle ball courts, $6000 to the Pequot Lakes Red Line Club to support girls hockey and $7500 to the Northern MN Railroad Heritage Assn to help with the construction of their new building.

As impressive as this may seem, it is just a sample of the contributions and work they do for this community. So, if you might have an interest in becoming a part of this worthy organization and perhaps contribute some time and energy to helping in the work that they do, you would be most welcome to become a member. Join the Crosslake Ideal Lions, 2nd Wednesday of every month at Maucieri’s at 6 P.M.

Patty Norgaard
Crosslake, MN

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Free Stuff

Letter to the Editor

I grew up trying to do the right thing, work hard, study hard, and treat others well. My parents told me that if I wanted something, save money, and then buy it. I wanted to go to college, so I worked weekends and summers during high school. I also had a job in college to pay my tuition. It worked, as I graduated with two degrees from the U of M and had no debt. I got a pretty decent job that kept me ahead of the bills, and continued to save.

While watching the Democratic debates, I’ve decided to change my ways. Yang wants to “give” us all $1000/month. Senator Warren wants to forgive student debt to the tune of $50,000 per household. I saw plenty of families buying new cars, going on nice vacations, then allowing their kids to run up a lot of student debt. It makes me mad to think my daughter, and I paid our way, only to now be expected to pay other people’s debt.

I am concerned about the 23 trillion debt (68,000/person) this country has accumulated. Democratic candidates now think that health care should be free. Senator Warren’s plan costs $52 trillion over 10 years. She can’t explain how it would be paid for. Maybe no one, as it is “free.”

I am tired of paying my own bills and taxes, and then being asked to pay for these stupid ideas. I have a plan. I found an online two week college course for $5000. I will vote for Senator Warren, so you reading this letter, will pay my bill. On completion of the two week course, I am allowed to choose either the title of Ancient Alien Theorist, or Democratic Strategist. I plan to choose the latter, and apply for a job working for the State. There wouldn’t be much oversight, and great “free” benefits. The State of Minnesota spent $150 million on a motor vehicle registration program two years ago. It didn’t work, so they went back to the trough, asking for another 55 million from us. This is the very same department that took 8 weeks to send me a temporary Handicap Parking permit I bought prior to surgery. By the time I got it, I didn’t need it.

The Minnesota State employee benefits are almost “free” too! I pay $490 per month for health insurance, with a $7000 deductible. If I get this State job, single people pay $30 per month with some clinics charging $100 yearly deductible. This is close to free! The State Health insurance is arcane. We all pay taxes to reduce their monthly premiums to this low unbelievable level.

There is a cost to all they promise. You know, on second thought, I don’t think I will vote for more “free” stuff. I like the idea of being part of the solution, doing what is right, instead of being part of the problem and bankrupting our country.

Charlie Carlson
Pine River, MN

Why is Sen. Bill Ingebrigtsen Blocking a Valuable Program to Protect MN Loons and Their Habitat from Lead Poisoning?

Letter to the Editor

Dear Northland Press News Team;

As you may know in April, 2010,  British Petroleum’s (BP) Deep Horizon oil drilling rig erupted in a series of explosions, and it resulted in one the world’s largest oil disasters in history. Minnesota loons winter in the area of the disaster and hundreds of our loons perished, and the fertility and health of survivors was compromised. After many years of litigation, billions of dollars were set aside to be administered by the USFWS for clean up, restoration, and awards to states who suffered the loss of wildlife. Over 1000 proposals were fielded by the Wildlife Service and Minnesota was one of only four projects chosen. The MPCA was awarded $1.2 million in funding for its project to restore Common Loons in Minnesota by focusing on Get the Lead Out non regulatory education and outreach. The program is supported by the MN DNR, the National Loon Center, the MPCA, the Minnesota Center for Environmental Advocacy, and more.

I was very disappointed and upset to have learned that as a member of the Legislative Advisory Committee Sen. Bill Ingebrigtsen has blocked the MPCA from spending the funds it was awarded by the BP Deepwater settlement for their Get the Lead Out education program. The funds come entirely from the BP settlement and the project does not cost the state of Minnesota or tax payers a penny. The project is purely educational and will go a long way to protect Minnesota loons from the fatal danger of lead poisoning. Just one lead sinker can fatally poison a loon. Swans, eagles and other wildlife would also be protected by this educational campaign.

Blocking spending of the funds will essentially prevent this project from reaching their target audience at sporting shows in advance of the fishing opener. Additionally, freezing spending of the funds could cause the USFWS (who is managing the funds) to determine our state is not committed to the project. As a result, they may choose to withdraw the $1.2 million to fund this desperately needed project to protect and support the health and reproduction of Minnesota loons.

As feared, they informed the MPCA that they are concerned about the delay in implementation, so it is imperative that Senator Ingebrigtsen remove his block.

It is my understanding that Sen.. Ingebrigtsen has stated that he is blocking spending of the funds because he has a problem with the agency adding two full-time people to administer the program, and he is concerned that when the project ends the agency will continue to employ these temporary workers.

Here are the facts:
1. 100% of all staffing costs for the Get the Lead Out education program are to be paid for by Deepwater settlement funds. In fact, USFWS is also reimbursing MPCA for indirect costs such as overhead.

2. The two positions will be posted and ultimately filled as Unclassified, Limited-Term positions. This means that the candidates who are offered the jobs will know up front that the project is limited in duration and the positions associated with it are not part of classified state service and that the positions will have an end date.

3. This is a widely used practice in Minnesota State Government. Given the high degree of planned activities over the three-year run of this Deepwater settlement-funded project, it is not realistic to believe that the MPCA would or could implement it without filling the positions paid for through its cooperative agreement with USFWS.

In blocking spending of the funds, I fear that Sen.. Ingebrigtsen is playing politics and intends to thwart a significantly important environmental project that should unquestionably have bi-partisan support. It appears he is putting up an unnecessary road block to the implementation of this important program and the protection of Minnesota’s loons. One has to ask, what is really motivating him to block this program? Hopefully, you can investigate this matter and share this important story.

Sincerely,
Sheila Johnston
Environmental Committee Chair
Gull Chain of Lakes Association

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