It is interesting that our national-office-seeking governor put extra stress on our troops in the Middle East because they had to accommodate and protect him while he was visiting them.
He did this at the time the bad news came out about how some of our veterans were being cared for in the Minnesota Veterans Home. Of course, the old deserve better care, but surely a major blame could be placed on Gov. Pawlenty and his conservative cronies who were and are supported by the Taxpayers League. You see, in the last session they did not want to spend a little more for better care; instead, they cut financial corners thereby saving even more money for the upper crust. Budget cutting was their game - just as long as the wealthy had their money taxed less. In part, the result of their tightfistedness is that some senior veterans lost their lives because of inadequate funding which did not provide enough of the professional care these Minnesota veterans deserved. The official administrators will want to blame the staff- but they will never blame the governor and his army of tacticians.
Let us all remember this lack of leadership from Pawlenty and his crew when the next election comes - be it statewide or national.
M. Fritz Bertelt
Polar Bear Plunge a huge success
Congratulations Brainerd lakes plungers on a successful second annual Polar Bear Plunge for Special Olympics - your response was truly "Bunyan-esque!"
What a great day for Special Olympics and the Brainerd Lakes. The Polar Bear Plunge is undoubtedly the highlight of my long and somewhat unconventional law enforcement career. I appreciate the extra help from the law enforcement community in my absence - I may be biased but I don't know where you will find cops with any bigger hearts.
Keep up the good work, Special Olympic Athletes - thanks for showing me what you can achieve with undaunted courage and a big heart!
Terry Crocker/aka: the Blue Ox
Music is vital to education
I am writing to you as chairman of Music in Our School Month (MIOSM) committee for the Brainerd schools. March marks the annual celebration of music in our nation's schools. First held in 1973 as a Music In Our Schools Day, this celebration has grown to a Music In Our Schools Month. MENC: The National Association for Music Education, more than 130,000 member sponsoring organization, has announced that this year's MIOSM theme is "Music Touches Lives."
In 2002, the arts, including music, were deemed a "core academic subject" along with math, science and English in the federal education policy - No Child Left Behind. When children are singing a song, they are using language skills. When children are playing an instrument, they are unlocking the code to understanding a symbol-based language. When children are learning what to listen for in music, they are developing crucial listening skills.
Recent studies show that students who participate in the arts out-perform their non-arts peers on the SAT. In addition, participation in music education increases children's creativity, self-discipline, critical thinking, and self-esteem. New research indicates that music may be the nutrient that can enhance the development of abstract thinking skills. The study of music and the other arts also provides students with a sense of their cultural heritage.
We would like to thank all of the people who support music education programs throughout the Brainerd Public School District. We greatly appreciate your support and help in using music as a vehicle to change and enrich students' lives.
On behalf of all music teachers
Brainerd School District
Nobody went over the speed limit
I was traveling though South Carolina a few years ago and came upon a familiar sight, construction, with all of the signs, cones...just as we have here, but with one difference. A large sign at the start of the construction zone. It said, "Mandatory 30 days in jail for speeding in a construction zone." Even though there were no crews in the area, not one person, myself included, went 1 mile faster than the posted speed limit.
Fighting radical homosexual zealots
Defending traditional marriage against overt attacks is not "imposing one's will on others," it's an attempt to protect oneself from a handful of radical homosexual zealots who are attempting to impose their moral values on all of society.
Strong marriages are the foundation for any healthy society and they should be promoted not weakened. Although I am opposed to discrimination against homosexuals in terms of access to basic individual human rights (i.e., jobs, housing, food, etc.), I'm certain that providing monetary incentives to encourage homosexual couplings is not in the best interest of our country.
Strong traditional marriages promote the well-being of each partner. In contrast, homosexuals are likely to live a longer and healthier life if they abstain from homosexual relations. In fact, homosexuals involved in long-term "monogamous" homosexual relationships are even more likely to get sick because they engage in homosexual acts more often. When homosexuals die prematurely because they engage in dangerous sexual practices (and homosexual sex practices are inherently dangerous), it is not only a personal tragedy, it is a tragedy for society.
If the letter writer from Deerwood is really concerned about civil rights violations in connection with the homosexual rights movement, he should spend more time looking at what is happening in the USA, Canada, and Europe, and less time looking at Nigeria. Last year, Scott Savage, a librarian and head of Reference and Instructional Services at the Bromfield Library at Ohio State University was demonized by pro-homosexual University staff because he recommended the book "The Marketing of Evil" for a freshman reading program. Although Mr. Savage was eventually vindicated, the repressive tactics used by these homosexual "freedom-fighters" are commonly used to silence those who do not dutifully step inline to advance the pro-homosexual agenda.
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