Letters to the Editor graphic

Letters to the Editor kr

Uncertain times

As the old saying goes, the squeaky wheel gets the grease – and that certainly is the case when it comes to attention surrounding the Line 3 Pipeline Replacement Project.

Pipeline opponents are blocking roads, disrupting construction and causing a ruckus, which often leads to them being highlighted in the news. But I think it is important to also look at the pipeline supporters and groups like Minnesotans for Line 3 to hear the other side as well.

Minnesotans for Line 3 was founded by Bob Schoneberger as a way for Minnesotans to support key projects like replacing the Line 3 pipeline system that was built in the 1960s. As any infrastructure project that has aged 60 years, this pipeline is in great need of repair, and more than 100,000 Minnesotans have signed on to pledge their support for this project.

Supporters include mayors, county commissioners and city council members as well as construction workers, small business owners, and others. The men and women who support this project have looked at the big picture and look toward the future, and understand that this project can be done safely while updating our energy infrastructure for decades to come.

I am grateful for the Minnesotans for Line 3 voice that is there to counter the misinformation and half-truths from the pipeline opponents, because this project is very important and will benefit our state greatly in the future.

Randy Ihle, Hill City

Crisis at the border

With all the ranting and raving by politicians in Washington about the treatment of unaccompanied children crossing the border, we have not heard of one Congress person volunteering their homes as refuge for these children.

How about finding a permanent solution to the immigration problem instead of playing political football with people’s lives.

Mickey Carter, Onamia

Arts are needed in schools

I am writing this as an Aitkin Public Schools alumni who is inflamed by a recent vote by the school board.

I understand there are complexities in balancing and allocating program funds.  I recognize the complicated factors that go into a vote like this. But I question whether this vote was made considering the repercussions and long-term ramifications this will have on the Aitkin community.

The arts are integral in every aspect of a successful society. The clothing you wear, the wedding rings or jewelry you own, the movies you watch, the music you listen to, the graphics you see in advertising, commercials, or on the news, the video games you play, or the photographs you treasure from significant family events were all created by an artist. Artists are one of the essential businesses that have kept this economy afloat during this pandemic.

I am a professional artist. I have made my career in film and visual art. My love and understanding of the arts began in Aitkin.  Mr. Vonasek taught me skills that I use to this day in my professional work. Teachers like Loren Vonasek, Julia Real, Gaylen Doub, Kelly Blake, Bryan Johnson, Amy Wyant and Rachael Holden fostered the arts in me and I was able to make a career out of it.  

And I am not alone. My graduating class from 2006 has multiple people working in the arts. Rachel Goble is a professional with work currently featured in your Jacques Center. Andrew Petrie is an award-winning video game director. Garrett Tetrick is a photographer in your community. Kari Jo Johnson is an award winning producer. Laurina Siebolds is an artist who heads an online artisan group.  And this is only to name a few.

How many professional athletes have come out of Aitkin? I’m not saying athletics don’t have their place in the Aitkin community!  But both are necessary and teach valuable lessons for life, teamwork, and problem-solving in the professional world.  However, favoring one, like Aitkin, is a detriment to the community.  

If you want the Aitkin economy to grow, to attract new small business owners, or encourage new families to the schools (and you should as a way to improve and increase your budget) you have to invest in the youth. You need a school board that allocates funds to these programs. There are viable career paths and lessons to be learned in the arts. I see names on the board who haven’t had children in the school for over a decade. If they are truly in that position to do good then put words into action. Invest in the youth with these programs.

Levi Morris, 2006 AHS graduate, Los Angeles, California

On COVID deaths

In the March 17 edition Dale Lueck continues taking potshots at Minnesota’s coronavirus prevention efforts. His letter states that COVID deaths in Minnesota are “pretty much a mirror image” of neighboring states that have been less restrictive.  

Really? COVID deaths per 100,000 people in Minnesota are 121, in Iowa its 180, in North Dakota 196, in South Dakota its 217. Minnesota has lost over 6,830 people to COVID. If Minnesota had Iowa’s death rate there would be 3,328 more dead. North Dakota’s rate would produce 4,230 more dead, and South Dakota’s rate would be a whopping 5,414 preventable deaths.  

This is what Lueck considers a “mirror image.” Rep. Lueck, you may be anti-abortion but you sure aren’t pro-life.

Dan Newman, Aitkin

It’s not the same world

One of the letter writers from last week went a little off the mark with his views in my opinion.

While I didn’t agree with much that was said, I’d like to express my view on his statement regarding his point on guns.

I’ve owned guns all of my life. Still do. I hunted and target shot as people still do. The pro gun forces, those who would be financially impacted by tightening of gun laws, have been singing the same old song for as long as I can remember. They are trying to take my guns away!

The sad reality is that the world is not the same place it was 20, 30 or 40 years ago and the number of guns in our society has increased. It is estimated that Americans own 120 firearms per 100 people.

Many of the guns out there are illegally obtained and used not for hunting and target shooting but threatening people or killing them. For shooting at police and first responders. For threatening drivers who cut them off on the freeway, for killing innocent people who are just going about their day.  That list goes on.

I am very much for honest, responsible, sane, reasonable and prudent people owning firearms. However,  I’m also against people who are not any of the above, from owning them. And in my opinion, the laws need to change to support a society that is now so negatively affected by guns.

Dick Weinhandl, Aitkin

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