Thanks to Reichert bus service, there will be a special bus traveling to St. Paul on our proposal for a veterans health care center at the Brainerd State Hospital. Although we are not sure of the date at this time, there will be room for 54 veterans and the auxiliaries. To sign up, call the American Legion at 829-2249 or the VFW at 829-6393 or 831-2112. It's important to show strong support for our proposal at the Capitol.
DON SAMUELSON is a former DFL lawmaker.
Hockey keeps kids active
Well yes, we are after all Up North aren't we? At least we are to the folks from the Twin Cities. And everybody knows that Up North hockey cities produce the best hockey players. So why not here?
Actually our Up North area has a thriving hockey community. Just check out the blue and white hockey decals with the crossed hockey sticks on the vehicles in the parking lots at Fleet Farm, Cub Foods, Super One etc. You will see them every where when driving around town.
Currently there are over 350 registered hockey players (from ice mites to bantams) in the Brainerd Amateur Hockey Association. In addition the high school has a full program of junior varsity and varsity hockey players. Also there are many outdoor rinks with pond hockey games going on all the time.
During the years 1973-1977 forward-looking council members created the Civic Center Arena. It had one sheet of ice. Later the Brainerd Amateur Hockey Association used hockey grant money to add another sheet of ice. So we now have two indoor hockey arenas. That is as many as any Up North city has.
Anyway, the point is that hockey is one of the best ways for parents to keep their children active during the long Up North winter. Who knows it might even get Dad off the couch.
Sour grapes from the losers
A few points of clarification for the reading public who were not at the legislative listening session last week, but may have read Mr. Pundt's campaign manager's letter:
• Room full of 'hand-picked' public input.... There was vote for change last election (except in our district), and more people are speaking out about the failed policies of tax imbalance in favor of the wealthy and trickle down (voodoo) economics. There was an open invitation to come and speak, with legislators from both parties at the table. I didn't get to speak either.
• Grandstanding by the panel? They barely spoke. There was a non-partisan speaker on the budget situation, and then the public spoke. Legislators only spoke to welcome and thank folks for coming, and to keep the speakers moving. Grandstanding would be better defined by what Gov. Pawlenty did this week in going around the state to announce (claim credit?) for transportation funding coming from the president and Congress in a stimulus bill that he didn't support. Pawlenty's usual strategy of accounting gimmicks and no new tax pledge is two reasons why we have been in budgetary dire straits several times in his tenure as governor or House majority leader.
I think we are hearing sour grapes from the losing side of an election. Thank you, legislators, for listening to constituents before making up your mind on a budget solution.
Park violence is not rare
This letter is in response to the stupidity of the Washington Post editorial in the Brainerd Dispatch regarding law-abiding citizens being allowed to carry self-protection firearms in national parks and refuges.
The editorial says, violent crimes are exceedingly rare in these settings. In 2007 the Park Service reported 9 murders and 49 rapes in national parks. I guess those 58 victims are insignificant according to The Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence. That is why the Brady Bunch has filed suit to overturn this decision. I would like to ask Paul Helmke, head of the Brady Bunch, when do the numbers become significant, when it is 10 murders and 50 rapes? Or maybe when it is your daughter that is raped, is it significant then, Helmke?
The editorial also says that Obama has rightly called concealed weapons a menace to public safety. Thirty-eight states currently have shall-issue permit laws. In those states violent crimes against a person have gone down. Concealed weapons in the hands of law-abiding citizens are not a menace to public safety; they are a menace to the criminal's safety! Anti-gun people should be thanking permit-holders for making the streets safer for them! When will you stop fearing law-abiding citizens wanting to protect themselves and their loved ones? We pose no threat to you.
Random acts of violence are just that, random. It does not matter if you are in a national park, Columbine High School, the Virginia Tech campus, a church in Colorado or the Westroads Mall in Omaha, Nebraska. Violent crime can happen anywhere.
DALE WALZ is a former Republican legislator and a partner with Walz-Lund Enterprises, a firm which conducts firearms and personal safety training.
President Obama's budget calls for a deficit of $1.75 trillion dollars. (expenses minus revenue). How many years would it take to pay this off at a million dollars a day or $365 million dollars a year? Answer: 4,794 years. (Excludes interest)
Millions don't add up very fast when it comes to covering trillions.
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