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Open Forum: Make an informed vote Feb. 8

I love talking with our Pequot Lakes community members about the need for the referendum on Feb. 8.  This last week showed me that if correct information is placed into the hands of our voters, they begin to understand the need for this referendum. A group of employees at a local business were against certain aspects of the proposed renovations. The questions they had were answered and they are now advocating for this referendum. I love informed voters!   

Inform yourself, inform your neighbors, and cast your own informed vote on Feb. 8!

Kelli Levenske

Pequot Lakes

A step in the right direction

I’m not a particularly “political” person. And I don’t have a lot of extra money to throw around. But I have three daughters in the Pequot Lakes public schools and I’ve heard about and have seen some of the concerns that our middle-level and high school face. Gym classes are being held in the lunchroom. Lunches are being eaten in the hallways. Classrooms are being created from spaces that have no business being classrooms. Nobody wants to pay more property tax. But we should be willing to do our share to give our kids the proper facilities to learn in. 

With the tax base we have in our district, paying a little bit more each year shouldn’t be a hardship for most taxpayers. Is the referendum a magic wand that will instantly put the district in the top tier? No, but I think it’s a step in the right direction. I plan to vote “yes” on Feb. 8.

Michael Glover

Pequot Lakes

Why it’s happening

Today is the day after the shootings in Tucson that killed six people and left a congresswoman fighting for her life. As always I was appalled by this senseless act and I wanted to run for my keyboard and express my outrage. But common sense tells me this is a weekly event in this sick country and it is getting worse by the day.

There have always been sporadic instances of this kind of behavior, because in our society there have always been people who were out of their minds enough to do this. Just not on the scale we are seeing right now.

Contentious issues are always around and always have been. That is part of what a democracy is all about, being able to disagree? But prudent people disagree peacefully and promote their causes without violence. So what has changed to make this kind of behavior so prevalent? Well here are a few things I can think of.

We are an increasingly militant country. Not only in our attitude about world policy but on the streets of our big cities. More and more people are solving their problems with violence. Take away the guns? Impossible, for many reasons. Arm everyone? The congresswoman owned a handgun, just like the one that shot her. A lot of good it did her. If someone wants to shoot you bad enough you will get shot unless they give you a heads up.

We teach our kids violence in many forms. Television, video games, movies and online. The things that used to calm us and teach us right from wrong, like religion, have been pushed out of our lives. They're just no fun anymore. Yes we are reaping what we sow and I doubt it's going to stop anytime soon.

Mike Holst


What it’s worth to me

On Feb. 8 residents of the Pequot Lakes School District will get the opportunity to vote on the proposed capital bond referendum.   

So what is the referendum worth? There is a document on the district’s website that shows charts comparing the cost of the proposed referendum to other things that people frequently buy. For $100,000 of residential property value, the referendum will cost $1.91 per month. This means that for the amount my own property taxes will increase each month, I could buy a bottle of fingernail polish, or I could buy an alcoholic beverage, or I could buy one fast food meal. Or instead of buying one of those things, I could support the education of more than 1,600 students in this school district.

To me education represents hope.Hope for strengthening our community.  Hope for our children to be well prepared to enter the labor force. Hope for the children of this school district to have a bright future where they have opportunities and can make choices about what profession they would like to be in, rather than having to just take whatever they can get because they don’t have enough education and skills for the best jobs.

Education and hard work are how I “pulled myself up by my bootstraps,” so to speak. I want my child to be well educated so that he doesn’t have to struggle in his future. I want my child to be able to have the education he needs to reach his dreams. Whether or not this bond referendum passes will have a huge impact on my child’s education and therefore on his future. My child means everything to me. So what is this referendum worth to me? To me this referendum is worth everything.

Please vote yes Feb. 8!

Kathy Gilchrist

Pequot Lakes

Becca Clemens
After graduating high school in 2004, I attended Central Lakes College in Staples, MN for 2 years where I got a diploma in Communication Art and Design. I then transfered up to Bemidji State University in, you guessed it, Bemidji, MN. In the spring of 2009, I graduated from BSU. Then in the fall of 2009 I got a job at Echo Publishing, a sister company to the Brainerd Dispatch.