As I've been watching the fuss created by the Twin Cities media reporting the emotional last moments of a Minnesota Amusement Park legend, I can't help but reminisce about my younger days.
As a toddler growing up in Bemidji, I was awed by the statues of Paul Bunyan and Babe the Blue Ox, which have stood next to Lake Bemidji since 1937.
It wasn't until a few years later that I became aware an imposter and his pet ox resided roughly 100 miles "down South" in Brainerd. (Yes I know its actually Baxter; excuse my callous attitude toward that congested confluence of Minnesota roadways.)
Later in life I came to despise this commercial attraction and his mumbling retorts to the thousands of gullible passers-by each summer. Tired of the endless confusion between my home town (real Paul Bunyan) and the municipality hosting the fake, as well as the ever-growing suburban sprawl associated with Brainerd-Baxter area (careful, they're a Minnesota Star Cluster!!) I finally removed State Highway 371 from my list of usable driving surfaces in the state of Minnesota (besides, the flea market in Motley is awesome!)
Bemidji's Paul Bunyan doesn't talk. But if he did, today he'd be saying with a smirk, "Hey Brainerd! Love the bypass!"
Response to Sviggum
Speaker Sviggum, in your recent article, you left out that you and the GOP will also be willing to accept the responsibility for all of the additional deaths, injuries, and property damage which occurs on our roadways, regardless of the number of lanes, because your nearly roads-only transportation policy forces many of us to drive rather than have the option of using commuter rail lines such as the Dan Patch, Red Rock and the Northstar.
With the National Safety Council stating that you are 14 1/2 times more likely to become a fatality on a roadway than riding a commuter rail line we are sure you will take responsibility for all of the unnecessary deaths, injuries, suffering, property damages and higher insurance rates which the 14.5 times higher roadway rate brings with it.
Robert L Anderson
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