During the week of Oct. 1 through Oct. 6, Brainerd became a Magical Kingdom due to the extraordinary Homecoming Week festivities.
It has been a long time since I have witnessed a community so excited.
The community pepfest really kicked off the big excitement which was followed by a number of class gatherings at various sites in the community. You could really sense the fervor building Friday evening and it peaked at the parade and the victory by the Warriors over the Otters.
The parade was especially fulfilling. As a participant, it was overwhelming to see the number of spectators lining both sides of the street from downtown to the football field. It was easy to see that the community was excited about what was transpiring. I became especially proud to be a Warrior and I know that all involved must have felt the same way.
All the students that were participants were obviously enjoying themselves and the twinkle in the eyes of the grade school children taking part was something special.
Kudos to Superintendent Walseth for his idea and to Todd Lyscio, Jenny Holmes and all others that made this week something special for all of Brainerd.
Those who did not see fit to take part or to witness any of the variety of events, truly missed out on something special.
BHS - Class of 54
Blame will yield no solution
The cup has been laid before us to fill. This is not a challenge of our choosing, but it is a challenge nonetheless. Tests like this - no matter the scale - have been leveled against generation after generation. Each time, the task has been put to them to understand their adversity and overcome it. What we have learned is that more understanding is required of us and an even greater effort is required of us. And that understanding is hard, because we do not grasp why the cup we seek to fill always seems empty.
We see this empty cup and we are filled with rage, casting about for someone or something to blame. But blame will yield no solution to our test. We can blame the administration and we can blame the teachers. We can blame the passage of the bond and we can blame the failure of the state. But blame will not fund our school. Blame will only create more problems for us, and we have enough of those. What we need are answers, and only we can supply them.
We kneel now in the olive garden of our time and ask that the cup be passed from our hands. We ask this because we do not know why we must shoulder this burden. We ask because we are on a fixed income and money is tight. We ask because we are old and retired. We ask because we are young and uninterested. We ask because we have no children and fail to see the relevance. But the true measure of a generation is not their ability to rise to a challenge when they have a proprietary stake in its outcome, but rather when they have no such stake and rise nevertheless.
Look at Bushs accomplishments
Your correspondent of 9/19(Presidential Mistakes Abound) suggests that President Bush accomplishments include the following:
1. Reducing taxes. 2. Recovery from a recession. 3. Provided a strong economy. 4. Responded strongly to 9/11. 5. Spent $88 billion on Katrina recovery.
1. Reducing taxes, many on the wealthy, has helped to add $3 trillion to the federal deficit. 2. Weve had a number of recessions since the 1800s, and weve recovered from each one without borrowing trillions. Its called the business cycle. 3. Massive borrowing will always boost economic activity, until its time for our kids to pay the bills 4. The presidents response to 9/11 included invading Iraq (incorrectly tied to 9/11). The horrendous cost in lives and treasure doesnt need repeating. 5. The condition of New Orleans today after $88 billion highlights the incompetence shown during that event.
As to Sudanese Gen. Erwas supposed offer of bin Laden, there was at that point no evidence that binLaden had harmed American citizens.
Four years later, Bushs new Secretary of State, Condoleeza Rice, indicated to Dick Clarke that she had never heard of binLaden. Finally, discouraged by the new Bush administrations reluctance to aid Afghanistans Northern Alliance against alQaida and the Taliban, Clarke resigned as counter terrorism coordinator.
As to Whitewater, etc, CNN reported on Sept 20, 2000, that the final report by Independent Counsel Robert Ray turned up little evidence of wrongdoing by the Clintons, despite $60 million of taxpayer money spent by the Bush administration on the matter.
Finally, are we safer? The new( 9/17) CBS poll reports that by a 4 to 1 margin Americans think the war in Iraq has made the threat of terrorism against the U.S. worse rather than better.
I think we will know how to vote in 2008.
Rolf E. Westgard
(The writer is deputy chair of the Crow Wing County DFL.)
Please vote yes for our children
I have been a secondary school English teacher for over 31 years (21 of those in Brainerd). I love kids; I love teaching. Students who have had me in class know these two statements are 100 percent true. Parents I have gotten to know over the years also know this to be true. With the approaching school referendum vote, I am excited about the chance for additional funding to keep District 181 one of the best school systems in the state.
Both of my sons have graduated from Brainerd High School - one in 2003 and the other in 2007. They received the highest quality of education in the humanities, the sciences, in math...in any area of study they pursued, and they both had successful and enjoyable years from 4th - 12th grade participating in extra-curricular activities and school programs.
When I think about the referendum vote in November, I refuse to speculate what our district would be like if it does not pass. But if I did speculate...my class sizes would rise from 35 to at least 42, my chance to work with kids in extra-curricular activities would be gone with the elimination of middle school programs, my chance to watch kids I have in class participate in high school activities would be gone, school service organizations/programs would be eliminated, two neighborhood elementary schools would close their doors, etc... but I wont speculate, because I know that voting yes on this referendum is the right thing to do; its the only thing to do to ensure our kids the same well-rounded educational experiences my sons received.
Please vote yes District 181 voters...Im beggin yall - for the sake of our community and our children.
This is the time to become a mentor
Kinship is in the middle of a campaign called 100 mentors in 100 days. The campaign has a saying Become a mentor for what you can give and stay a mentor for what you receive. Because the joy you receive when you see how happy these kids are to have a match will be twice as much as what they will feel. I would like to invite you to seriously think about becoming a mentor.
Being a mentor doesn't cost a lot of money or time. Just involve the child with things that you already do. Kinship also provides activities that you may participate in each month if you want. Kinship receives tickets for local events and sometimes even Twins tickets that are passed on to mentors.
If you ever thought about becoming a mentor, this would be a great time to join in on the fun. There are a lot of children in our area that need a match and some have been waiting for up to two years.
Check out the Kinship Web site for children in our area that need a match. www.kinshippartners.org. You can also get an application online or call Kinship office at (218) 829-4606.
Start the cuts at the top
As I read the pros and cons about the approaching referendum I would like to express a viewpoint. First of all, it is always the children who will suffer the most if the referendum fails just as in any situation that breaks apart. I am sure there are many parents who would gladly volunteer their time to help keep the recreational sports going for the kids but why do the teachers get into these events free when the parents have to pay several dollars for each sport their child wants to participate in?
Why do so many teaching positions have to be cut? Were there too many hired in the first place? Having worked for the government for many years it seems its always the ones at the top that nothing ever happens to. Look, for example, at the Congress. Do they ever take a cut in pay? Oh, no. Every year they give themselves a raise. No wonder none of them ever want to retire. Even the flight attendants and pilots take cuts when necessary to keep their jobs but the CEOs get bigger bonuses. Does this make any sense? I think the cuts should start at the top. How many top paid administrators will volunteer to take a cut in pay to save a teachers job? As the saying goes, Its always the little apples at the bottom that are keeping the big apples at the top. I know, Ive been there. Another question. Why do we, as taxpayers, pay for the health insurance of the school board members? I hope everyone gives this referendum some serious thought before going to the polls.
Whichever way you choose to vote, its the kids who will feel the brunt of all of it.
He recognized his old church
When I saw the church pictured on the cover of the American Profile in Mondays Dispatch, I said, Thats Tonset. When my wife Marvel read the story she said, Its Tonset. What a thrill to see that the picture and the story inside were about Tonset Lutheran Church, Lignite, N. D., a church where I had preached in from 1957 to 1962.
Delbert C. Ring
Two empty-nesters to vote yes
Like most of us, I dont want to pay more property taxes. But I also dont want to see our children denied the best education possible. If the school referendum passes in November, my wife and I are looking at an increase of around $350/year in our property taxes. Thats less than a dollar a day for two of us to make sure our children get the education they need to succeed in a very competitive world. Are our kids worth 50 cents a day? I think they are, and Im willing to help in the effort to create upstanding citizens by eating out less, drinking less coffee at the coffee shop, changing my guitar strings less often, renting fewer DVDs, purchasing fewer CDs, conserving energy use at home, and not buying new socks even when the old ones have holes in them -- even when my feet are cold because I turned the thermostat down at home.
When I said I was willing to make sacrifices for our children, I was talking about the children in our community -- your children. My wife and I are empty-nesters who moved to Brainerd five years ago, so we dont even have children in the Brainerd School system. That doesnt matter to us. What matters is that this community should do whatever it takes to create intelligent, well-rounded, compassionate kids who care about the world as much as we care about them.
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