As a former Baxter mayor and council member I would like to offer another possible solution to the ongoing talk of annexation.
Given the expanding commercial and residential ring in the lakes area it would be wise to involve East Gull Lake, Nisswa and Unorganized Territory. With the preceding statement in mind how about pursuing the idea of establishing water-sewer districts, fire-police districts and any other type of district needed to provide the area with better services?
Sure it would mean another board but the end result may be worth it.
Don't fix it
Minnesota's state retirement system that includes all state retirees from police to teachers to engineers ranks at the bottom of the 50 state retirement systems.
The saving grace for retirees is that since 1992 post-fund increases have been based on a 5 year average of what the post-fund generates in the stock market. This has "helped" overcome the deficiencies of a retiree's initial retirement sum.
Now, state retirement officials want to "protect" future retirees by extending the averaging to ten years and by creating a "rainy" day fund in excess of the present 3 billion dollar surplus.
This "rainy" day fund will be created out of the pocketbooks of existing retirees and those who retire in the next 9 years. For example, in 2005, approximately 50% of the stock market generated increase will be used to determine the retired state employee's pension benefit, if this legislation passes..
With that size surplus, what will stop an ambitious politician from "tapping" the fund for, say, light rail or bridge improvement?
"If it ain't broke, don't fix it"
Karsten O. Braaten
Gun control needed
School shootings capture the attention of Americans, but yet the overall crime in handgun homicides has gone down. Does that make it acceptable not to pass stricter gun control laws? I don't think so.
Why won't Congress help us out on this situation, I know I would like a very good explanation. Are the lives of our children not good enough to better the laws? Or is it a money. Has our country come to be so greedy that money is more important than the lives of human beings? At what point will our nation decide to take matters into their hands and deal with the problem of gun violence.
Yeah, handgun homicide might have gone down, but at this rate it can go right back up again. Providing better laws for gun control and gun violence may cease the problem that has spread throughout our nation for years. What must be done to prove that gun control is needed? Another violent school attack?
I moved to Brainerd in 1970 from Chicago. I met a person walking in downtown Brainerd who said "hello." I viewed him with caution because, in Chicago, he would have said "What are you looking at?" I knew right away that I had arrived "Up North". I've been told that Up North is a state of mind, not a place.
I made many futile attempts to find a job here but found that industry was not a priority in Brainerd. Many people considered it to be a resorting community and vacation area. There were also rumors that a 371 bypass around Brainerd was in the works.
The small suburb of Baxter has different views. An industrial park grew, new construction, urban sprawl, Hwy 371 development, and finally here comes the bypass.
What this says to me is that Baxter has chosen to become a fast-track community like the Twin Cities and Brainerd has not. I chose to live in Brainerd 30 years ago because of the small town charisma and the feeling that it entails. I have watched as Baxter improved it's infrastructure. The new sewer and water systems were a large part of this development.
I am troubled about the possibility of any discussions about a merger between Baxter and Brainerd. Baxter is comprised of mostly newer homes and massive building and re-building projects. Brainerd is made up of mostly older homes. I would have many questions about the possibility of a property tax increase.
I still want the guy on the street to say hello.
L.M. "Lenny" Boyd
Brainerd Dispatch ©2013. All Rights Reserved.