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Reader Opinion: What Brainerd do you want to live in?

To "Be the best Brainerd we can be!” we must celebrate our past accomplishments, while also reflecting on past lessons learned to improve our future.

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Having lived in the Brainerd lakes area for nearly 20 years, I am reminded daily of the physical beauty of our home through the countless lakes, Paul Bunyan Trail, and the Cuyuna overlooks. The physical beauty is only surpassed by the sentiment of community and friendships. Politics have begun to play a predominant role in our society by allowing national narratives to creep into our local community and divide families and friendships. I have witnessed this firsthand with discernment of ISD 181 over concerns of mask usage, thoughts of critical race theory, and most recently the “us” versus “them” mentality when addressing the board of education.

I ask, “What Brainerd do you want to live in?”

A Brainerd that imitates other communities and school districts or one that cultivates optimism and uniqueness? Do we continue to allow division in our community or focus on unification? Do we continue to allow political divide within our neighborhoods, or do we collaborate to find respectful, mutual ground, and a positive path forward?

To "Be the best Brainerd we can be!” we must celebrate our past accomplishments, while also reflecting on past lessons learned to improve our future. Parents, community members, and school district leaders need to model transparency, earn trust, and reciprocate dignity and respect to create a Brainerd that people from all around want to live in.

The Brainerd I am prideful of showed itself most recently, by raising nearly $100,000 for a fellow Brainerd Warrior. This is the Brainerd I want my children to live in; one where we set aside differences and collaborate for the benefit of our fellow citizens. It takes a few to start a movement, it takes everyone to make a culture change.

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I ask again, “What Brainerd do you want to live in?”

Mike Stanek

Merrifield

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