Montevideo American-News
  • Letters to the Editor, Thursday, August 15, 2013

  • The American-News welcomes letters of opinion from our readers. Letters regarding current local and national news items are encouraged. All letters are subject to editing for length and style. Letters containing potentially libelous or obscene statements will not be published. Letters must contain name, address and phone numb...
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  • The American-News welcomes letters of opinion from our readers. Letters regarding current local and national news items are encouraged. All letters are subject to editing for length and style. Letters containing potentially libelous or obscene statements will not be published. Letters must contain name, address and phone number for verification and in case of questions. E-mail letters to: jjones@montenews.com Letters may also be mailed to: Editor, Montevideo Publishing, P.O. Box 99, Montevideo, MN 56265
    The Kingdom did Rock
    Thank you so much for the fantastic picture of the Vacation Bible School which was held at the United Methodist Church in Montevideo.
    I want to acknowledge the other churches that were involved: Trinity Lutheran Church, Salem Lutheran Church, St. Joseph’s Catholic Church, all of Montevideo. The United Methodist Church was privileged to host the event, however, it was a true cooperative effort and gathering of adults, youth and children from all four churches. The Kingdom did Rock!
    —Pastor Gwen Bohlke
    We are the Legion Riders
    This summer, the Legion Riders participated in a number of local community parades. Our presence has sparked a number of inquiries as to our actual function(s) within the American Legion. The following is a short synopsis.
    The American Legion Riders is a separate organization sanctioned within American Legion. Members hail from Madison, Dawson, Montevideo, Granite Falls, Milan, Algona, Iowa, and numerous other communities.
    We serve numerous functions within the Legion, including participation in Legion fundraising events, supporting and assisting local veterans and their families, raising funds and donating to local diabetic medical entities, the local Food Shelf, Santa Anonymous, the Special Olympics, the Let’s Go Fishing project, the Veterans Home/Care Facility in Luverne, local educational/school scholarships through the Legacy Fund, participating in local parades and organizing safe and well managed rides. Organized rides such as the upcoming Fall Colors Tour are open to the public and four wheeled vehicles are welcome.
    Membership requires a valid motorcycle license and affiliation with either the American Legion, the Legion Auxiliary or the Sons of the American Legion. Montevideo Legion Riders Post 59 is the largest of its type in the state of Minnesota and invites anyone who is community minded, loves to ride and enjoys working with a family of dedicated veteran support oriented individuals to join. Becoming a member is easy. Stop into the Montevideo American Legion or approach any active member of the American Legion, or the American Legion Riders and they will be most happy to provide membership information.
    —Everett Bain
    Turning down a gift horse
    I never imagined having to write a letter to promote a donated vault-toilet for a six-acre park without any toilets.
    Page 2 of 3 - Let’s look the gift horse in the mouth. When no other source of funding appeared to be available I raised the entire amount, but despite a $19,263.87 check in hand, the (Montevideo) City Council declined to accept the offer, citing greater priorities, but expressed a willingness to accept an un-earmarked donation to the city budget.
    The proposal would essentially restore former key features now lost: by namely adding a unisex vault toilet to replace the two former toilets now lying as heaps of rubble; a picnic table to replace the one of a pair now lost; a pair of benches “replacing” the current non-existent benches; a standing fire grill to replace the two “fire pits” as they are called; and a downward directed arch light with a mercury switch attached to the light pole near the entry road, avoiding bright side lights to irritate residents.
    The big price ticket is for a state of the art unisex prefabricated Huffcutt PT 175 all-concrete vault, ADA compliant, handicap accessible toilet with babychanging table, triple roll toilet paper dispenser, hand sanitizer, two skylights, side vents and a solar powered fume evacuator to virtually eliminate odors, and a concrete slab doorstep. Annual supply and maintenance from the Lauritsens would run about $300 per year, including $150 to add water in the spring plus about $50 more for chemicals and $100 for pump-out at the end of the season.
    The council does not rank the Camp Release restoration as important, even if the funds are donated, fearful of staffing and planning tasks. The problem with this is that no additional staffing is required and most of the planning has already been done and doesn’t interfere with plans in the distant future. The monument grounds have varied uses in which the general public has an interest.
    1. Historical interests for city residents, area residents, and the state’s citizenry. When this is ignored a stipulation in the deed requires returning the deed to the state. The legislature erected a huge monument to commemorate the release of hundreds of captives in the Dakota War in 1862. The city council, the chamber of commerce, and other interests should try to avoid the risks of degrading a site still important to many.
    2. Recreational uses, which in the past included softball and games, now including lacrosse, frisbee, etc.
    3. Picnics and gatherings used to be held, but now there is no place to sit down for any reason, among other considerations.
    4. Natural history can be enjoyed away from busier sites. A number of people at the Camp Release Sesquicentennial last year walked through a grove of Norway pines, the state tree, without being able to identify them. A few signs and labels could identify native trees, particularly along the peripheral access alleys. School children, scouts, and various groups could benefit from this.
    Page 3 of 3 - It may do no good to try to “stop inertia,” but it can be transcended. Don’t complain later if you haven’t expressed your varied views to city officials, including the park board. I’ve done my duty, now please do yours.
    —Jon Willand
    Fatalities show trends
    The Fatal Review Committee (FRC) met this July as a result of the third fatal motor vehicle crash within Chippewa County in 2013.
    The FRC meets to review each fatal crash that occurs within Chippewa County, with the goal of determining if certain trends or patterns can be identified to make our county roads and drivers safer.
    We identified two trends after discussing recent crashes.
    1. A recurrent theme has emerged from our past few reviews — is it possible that drivers have become overly comfortable on our highways? We often take for granted our wide, straight, open roads with low volume traffic and begin to feel comfortable behind the wheel, some drivers comfortable enough to feel multi-tasking and speeding are appropriate. This feeling of comfort can also lead to daydreaming, or what is referred to as “hypnotic driving.” Feeling overly comfortable behind the wheel highlights the importance and need for driver attentiveness in reducing fatalities on Minnesota roads. Please make a conscious effort to drive all roads with the caution you would drive an unfamiliar, narrow, or curvy route.
    2. Not only must we take action to become safer drivers, we must also be aware that health conditions, impairment, or deteriorated driving skills increase the risk of driver error. Drivers should be aware of these effects so they may make appropriate decisions regarding their driving, as well as discuss with others whose driving may be impaired or deteriorated. These subjects may be touchy, but necessary to discuss. Other avenues of travel may be a designated driver, a friend, a family member, or public transportation. Please be aware of your county’s public transit resources and other options for travel. For local transit information, visit http://www.prairiefive.com/trans.htm or call (320) 269-6578. For helpful age-related driving information, visit http://seniordriving.aaacom
    We would like to extend our sympathies to those who have lost a loved one in a fatal crash this year. Every fatality reminds us of important issues that could potentially save a future life.
    —South West Central Safe Communities/Towards Zero Death Coalition
    Natasha Haukos, Ryan Barney, Steve Kubista, Wendy Augeson
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