Open Forum: Library board head addresses drop box
I read the recent Open Forum letter concerning the Brainerd Public Library and an outside drive-up drop box. On behalf of the library board, we appreciate the writers' patronage and its suggestions for how the library can be improved. I understand the attraction of a drive-up drop box and the board has raised the issue with library staff. Staff has informed the board that they do not recommend a drive-up drop box because it would have to be located some distance away from the library and would require a considerable increase in staff time to retrieve books on a regular basis.
As a compromise, library staff will allow the regular drop box, located to the east of the main door, to be accessible to the public during library business hours and when the library is closed. Library patrons, including parents with small children, will be able to drop off items without entering the library at a location about 10 feet from the driveway.
Our public library, like all public institutions, is facing difficult financial times right now and is being forced to do more with less. Volunteers are always appreciated and there are a number of volunteer opportunities available. Please contact the library if you are interested in volunteering.
Brainerd Public Library Board
Say 'yes' to Cara
Our toddler, Cara, will start kindergarten in just a few short years. So it's with no small concern that we listen to the Pequot Lakes School District's reports of classroom crowding and buildings in desperate need of repair. As a young family, we certainly don't have extra money to throw around, but by any measure that I can calculate, spending money on critical renovation and adequate classrooms is a sound investment. Clearly, we have a keen interest in seeing Cara get the best public education that she can. But our broader community should also know the special role that great public education can play in creating a growing, vibrant place to work, play, and live.
I implore you - all of you voting citizens of Pequot Lakes District 186 - to see the greater, lasting value of passing Tuesday's referendum. Yes, our taxes will rise a bit. And no, passing this capital bond levy won't solve all of our district's challenges. But it's a bold step in the right direction. Please say yes to Cara. Say yes to all of the other Caras out there - even those yet to come. And say yes to a better future for our community and our country. Please vote yes this Tuesday.
Don't allow beer at the fair
The Crow Wing County Fair is a great family friendly fair with lots of fantastic food stands to satisfy your hunger and thirst. Let those who want a beer get it off site, where there are less kids around, and less pedestrians near the parking areas. If more revenue is needed for the fair, charge $1 admission. This would generate approximately $90,000 a year (Minnesota Federation of County Fairs.com).
Leave a lasting legacy
My husband and I retired to Pequot Lakes a number of years ago. We don't have kids in the Pequot Lakes School District, but we are still quite interested in the vital role that our schools play in creating a vibrant community. We retired to this area for lots of reasons, but one thing is for sure: a community with schools that cannot adequately meet the needs of students because of overcrowding and deteriorating facilities will not thrive for long. That's why we are enthusiastically supporting the capital bond referendum on Feb. 8. Quality schools are more important than our saving a couple of bucks a month. Decent public education is the foundation on which all communities - including our very own - are built on. Let's not be short-sighted when it comes to leaving a lasting legacy for this great area. We may not be here to see all of the students learn and grow and bear fruit as they venture out from our schools. But we'll take great comfort in knowing that we helped by doing our part to support our public schools. Please join us in voting Yes on Tuesday, Feb. 8.
Let's move toward excellence
The voters in the Pequot Lakes School District 186 will participate in a pivotal referendum this Tuesday, Feb. 8. But this is not merely a vote about whether the district will secure much-needed funding for capital improvements. This is a vote about whether we want our students to compete on the national and international stage. This is a vote about the future of our district and our country.
By most accounts, the Pequot Lakes School District is a pretty good district. And many families have moved into the district in large part because of its decent school system. But I can say with some assurance that the school board and administration are not content with a district that is only above average. Their commitment is to creating excellence.
Excellence in educating our children cannot be accomplished solely with schools and faculty and staff. Nurturing our kids' minds and bodies begins and ends with committed parents. But while our young ones are in school, we owe it to them to provide the best opportunity for them to thrive. Adding more classroom space will not, by itself, guarantee educational success. But cramming too many kids into too few classrooms will almost certainly guarantee failure. Let's not saddle our teaching staff with the added burden of trying to educate our children with one hand tied behind their backs.
Our district faces many challenges. Throughout America, schools face the same issues that we do. How do we slow spending while providing more services? How can we bolster math and science ability? How can each student graduate with at least basic life skills? So we each have a choice this week to take a step backward or to stand for a hopeful future. Please help our schools move toward excellence. Vote Yes on Tuesday.
Vote yes on Feb. 8
A strong school district is one of the pillars of a strong and healthy community. Therefore, the strength of the school district is directly correlated with the strength of the community.
An investment in our children's education and the facilities they use on a daily basis is in our own best interest as well as in the interest of our society as a whole.
They are children. They do not get to make the choice about their education and their future for themselves. There were taxpayers before us that provided quality facilities and education for us and we need to pay it forward for our children. It is our most important job to take care of our children and provide for them. We have the opportunity to decide to give them a quality facility that will enhance the education they receive, and at the same time to help keep our community strong and to maintain our own property values. And the dollar amount to us will be very small to do so.
Please remember to vote yes on Feb. 8! Our future and our children's future depend on it!