Sunday, April 28, 2002


Huff Street bike pathis bad plan

From: Jean Kalmes

We appreciated your editorial on the proposed bike path on Huff Street. The entire operation concerning bike path construction is generally done without the knowledge of the public. Public Law 81:11 which was passed by the federal government in 1983 was deceptive and unwise because the wording was inserted at the end of a lengthy conservation bill "the building of bike paths on abandoned railroad tracks from willing sellers." I assumed this was the doings of bike salespeople and/or clubs. I now feel the DOT and the DNR were probably the instigators in a big landgrab plan. Much of the land has been in private hands for many years and is being obtained by harassment of unwilling sellers. More thought and study should have been involved.

Then just two years ago the State of Minnesota passed a bill without general knowledge which is MN Law 85:015. It authorizes the DOT and DNR to build a bluffland trail system and lists the names of towns including Rollingstone and Winona. I have all of this more specifically in my files. I feel this usurping of private land "for the public good or economic development" is unconstitutional. Condemning land for recreation I have been told is not legal in Minnesota although Minnesota has the easiest laws in the country in regard to eminent domain. I learned this from a group in Illinois who are fighting the expansion of trails in their state.

Rollingstone does not need economic development and is the proliferation of these trails all across the land paid for by the federal gas tax and other taxes really for the public good or is natural nature true conservation? The bike club sent a letter to all city councils saying "trails are free." We do not object to city trails or all bike trails, but we feel there is a need to limit the number and it should be done from willing sellers and costs of construction and upkeep publicized.

I was aware of the Huff Street plan by local bicyclists who are working hard to get their way. When it was brought up at the city council meeting over a year ago, I called to see what the projected cost would be . I was told, "The bids have not been let yet; we think about $150,000." The bikers wanted two sides. The council said only one. I agree that it will eventually be on both sides and drivers will be limited to a very narrow street. Also, the city liability insurance will probably be higher. Where trails are built in farmland, liability insurance rises. They customarily build all trails in smaller sections so the public never finds out the total cost plus needed additional facilities.

Sad to say, the public just sits by. They may complain, but don't have the courage to do anything more about it. Thank you for your courage in speaking out even though some of your friends and advertisers are probably bike fanatics. Rep. Gutknecht has replied that the federal money is given to the DOT but without any specific guidelines or checks as to all that is involved in bike trail building...the usual political double talk.

Birthright to mark anniversary

From: Mary Ann Fuchsel

Birthright of Winona will be celebrating their 30th anniversary on Tuesday, April 30. They will sponsor professional speaker and author Michelle Neujahr. She will present her "Choice, Consequence and Challenge" program at 7:30 p.m. in the Common Room on the third floor of St. Mary's Hall located on St. Mary's University campus. Her program will include her story of how she challenged herself and overcame the consequences of her bad choices. Her motivational program will include the following topics:
Personal-Professional Development, Image-Self Esteem, Work-Life Balance, Teen Issues and more. She will leave you inspired to make immediate positive changes in your life. Her clear and professional speaking style will leave attendees with a renewed passion for achieving a successful and satisfying life. Many teens and adults who attended Michelle's program say they were captured by her message. She is a monthly columnist for Stressfree Living Magazine.

Following her talk, anniversary cake and coffee will be served to all that attend. There is no charge for the evening celebration. This is our gift to the community for their support of Birthright. The men and women who founded our local group will be especially honored earlier in the evening at a dinner for all Birthright volunteers.

Birthright provides caring, non-judgmental support to girls and women who have an unplanned pregnancy. Besides friendship and emotional support, free pregnancy tests, maternity and baby clothes are provided.

Annual Poppy Drive is here

From: Bev Keiper
Poppy Chair
American Legion

Many employers have been visited by the American Legion Auxiliary volunteers recruiting donations for our veterans and their programs. The Auxiliary assists the American Legion Post with the van that transports veterans to the Veteran's Hospital in the Twin Cities, and we provide Christmas cards and gifts of money to the veterans at the Mosher Home and shut-in veterans in the city of Winona. We also offer scholarship for veteran's family members to our Girl's State Program.

Look for more volunteers at local retailers on Saturday, May 4. We encourage you to support this worthwhile program and want to thank you in advance for your donation and continued support of our local veterans.

Looking for classmates

From: Kevin Haessig

Invitations for the Winona Senior High School Class of 1991 reunion have been sent out. This is a list of classmates for which we have no address on file right now. We may try to publish another list if we get a lot of invitations returned as undeliverable. If you know where any of these people are (or if you are one of these people), please call 507-457-9696 or E-mail If you don't receive an invitation (and are expecting one) by May 1, contact me also. We don't want to leave anyone out if we can help it. Thanks.

Aaron Ahrensfeld, Travis Brugger, Dennis Dunbar, Brenna Duran, Tonya Finley, J.D. Fratzke, Michelle Grebin, Christine Green, Jesse Hall, Brent Hanson, Jeff Hanson, Jennifer Hoff, Christina Holubar, Laura Johnson, Jeremiah Kimber, Christine Korupp, Courtney Koth, Keith Lockwood, Michael Lowther, Terri Morey, Tim Newcomb, David Portis, John Przytarski, Stephen Reiter, Eric Repice, Chad Sieracki, Toby Smith, Dave Stephans, Michelle Stiles

Thank you

From: Connie Blackburn
for the Winona County
Child Abuse and Neglect
Prevention Council

The month of April is observed nationally as Child Abuse Prevention Month. As the month comes to a close, the Winona County Child Abuse and Neglect Prevention Council would like to thank the businesses who supported our "Hands Are Not for Hitting" poster contest. This poster contest allowed children from our community to play a vital and visible role in getting across an important message for Child Abuse Prevention Month. We greatly appreciate the savings bonds awarded to the winning students through the generosity of Winona National Bank. The four winning posters are featured on placemats which have been used by the following local restaurants: McDonald's East, West, and Downtown; Burger King; Hardees; Perkins; Culver's; Prime Steak n' Cake; Beier's; Country Kitchen; Taco John's; Taco Bell and Chula Vista. We thank these restaurants for their help in building community awareness about child abuse and neglect and the role we all can play in keeping kids safe.

Students concerned about Monarch butterflies

Dear City Workers:

Our city is beautiful because of your work. You are good at cutting the grass and picking the weeds so we can play in a clean place. You snowplow our roads, and if you didn't we couldn't get places fast. Sometimes we need to get places fast.

We know you are cutting the grass, and we know you like it short. But you need to notice that the grass near the lake is full of milkweed. The Monarch butterflies need milkweed to survive. I like to see Monarchs. But I will not get to see them if you keep cutting the milkweed. That will be very sad. In school we learned about the life cycle, we had our own butterflies. A Monarch only lays one egg per a plant. When the caterpillar hatches it eats the milkweed. The life cycle takes about a month.

So when you think about it, there will be less Monarchs.

Monarchs are part of our community too. Thank you for your time.

Bailey Gardner


Dear City Workers:

Our city is beautiful because of your work. You pick up the garbage, pick weeds and cut the grass so we can play. You snowplow our roads. You keep Windom Park clean.

We know you try to keep the grass short for us, but don't cut down milkweed. The Monarch butterflies need milkweed to survive. The Monarch caterpillars are dying. A Monarch only lays one egg per plant. The Monarch caterpillar eats the milkweed leaves. They make their chrysalises under the leaf. The life cycle can take up to 4-6 weeks.

We had Monarchs at school. We know that they are very, very special.

Eric Mueller

Take some real history classes

From: Beth Carrier

I don't usually take the time to respond to all of the absurd things that I often read in the Letters to the Editor section of the Winona Post, but I had a sudden and uncontrollable urge to do so today. I just read Patrick Johnson's piece on "Israel and the PLO" and all I can say is, "Please take some REAL history classes before you start throwing out information as though it were valid." It's embarrassing to read such stuff passed off as historically documented fact. You never cited references or resources for your data. It is fairly obvious that your information did not come from any objective, reputable, or historically documented material. Your attempt to justify the horror of the current situation in the Middle East and the inhumanity of actions being taken by one group of people against another by minimizing the humanity of one on the basis of random trivia, unsubstantiated data and percentages is disgusting. Attempting to further discredit Palestinians by somehow linking them with Hitler was beyond the pale of civil discourse.

I do not approve of any of the violence on either side, but I do understand where it is coming from as I have made it my business to be informed about both sides of the issues. It may be of interest to note that there were thousands of Israelis who have demonstrated against the violent policy which their national leaders have deemed necessary to the survival of Israel. Peace -- any peace -- will NEVER come about as a result of political or military might on either side. It can only arise from a basis of mutual respect and a recognition that to claim ownership over a piece of land at the expense of peace is the most foolish act of all. What good is any "holy" site when it causes blood to be shed to "defend" it -- as if all that we hold holy and sacred can only be found in a bit of soil or rock or monument. That which is truly sacred exists in the temples of our hearts. I keep hoping and praying that justice will come and that the desire for peace will some day outweigh the need for power. In the meantime, the words (I hesitate to use the word "information") you were throwing around do a disservice to people on both sides of a complex issue.

Profile of Learning

From: Morgan Brown
Executive Director
Minnesota Education League

Ever since its inception four years ago, the Profile of Learning has received a steady stream of well-deserved criticism. This week, the Minnesota Senate came closer than ever before to approving an end to this ill-conceived mandate on schools and teachers.

On a tie vote of 33-33, the Senate narrowly avoided sending legislation to Governor Ventura that would finally repeal the Profile of Learning. (The House of Representatives had previously passed the bill by a vote of 109-22.)

As a result, Minnesota voters who care about education reform have a unique opportunity to ask if their Senator could have made the difference.

What would a repeal of the Profile of Learning mean for K-12 education in our state?

For students, an increased exposure to challenging lessons that help build the knowledge and skills necessary for future success.

For parents, an end to the frustration of watching their children waste countless hours on busywork projects that lack clear learning objectives.

For teachers, the freedom to rely on experience and sound research in developing the best teaching methods for instructing their students.

For schools, a reduction in the endless paperwork and curriculum planning that pulls staff time and funding away from the classroom.

For education reformers, an opportunity to develop rigorous standards in core academic areas (math, science, history) and rid our state of the stigma of having standards that are ranked among the worst in the nation.

With their votes to end the Profile of Learning, 26 Republican and 7 DFL Senators demonstrated that they recognize its fatal flaws. The only question remaining is why 33 of their colleagues continue to ignore the evidence and stick their heads in the sand.

Complaints about school

From: Kathryn Harr

I recently readmitted my son into the district 299 high school after he had spent 7 months with his father in a different school district. I thought it would be a fairly easy process since he had attended here for two years already...WRONG! It took THREE weeks to get him enrolled in this high school, that's one-third of a quarter that he missed because of beaurocratic red tape. I could understand having to wait for transcripts (although not for three weeks when they were given the fax number the first day), I could even understand there being a few days betweeen my phone call and time of the meeting to re-enroll him. But what I find appalling is the fact that not only did my phone calls get ignored because the principal was busy with meetings for the entire three weeks(!), but when I finally did get a call from him, he told me that he understood that my son was already enrolled! I told him that my son had NOT been enrolled yet and that the school had not returned any of my calls, he then proceeded to forward my call to the teacher who was to have enrolled him in his classes. She said she'd been busy and hadn't had time to get back to me...three weeks is a pretty long wait! I understand that my son is just one student, but having to wait three weeks is ridiculous!!! And having my calls ignored really ruffled my feathers, I wasn't asking for something that they didn't normally deal with--THIS IS THEIR JOB!

Anyway, the teacher told me she would get back to me on Thursday or Friday, so I sat at my desk in front of the phonewaiting patiently for a phone call that never came. She finally called me back on Monday morning at 9:00 am and in a very rude tone of voice asked me why I was not at the meeting to get my son into school...

She claims that she called me TWO times on Wednesday about the meeting and proceeded to insinuate in front of the other people who were there to attend the meeting (including my son) that I was lying.

It seems to me that all of the children would benefit from open communication between the teachers and parents, while there is nothing to gain by the actions that I and others have been forced to endure from this district. If you can't treat the students and their parents with some respect and don't have time to do what it takes to ensure that EVERY child is getting the eduction that they deserve, then maybe you're in the wrong profession.

An amazing group of kids

Joanie Heydt-nelson
Winona Senior High
Soc. St. Teacher

So . . . Imagine this: A public high school . . . Thirty-seven ninth graders sitting in a required 80 minute American History class. The teacher is absent. She had requested a substitute teacher . . . but the system failed. No sub was called. No sub showed up. The kids are (yikes) in-class-alone.

When you were in ninth grade what would you have done?

When you attended a university what did you do when the professor didn't show?

Well, when I walked into Winona Senior High School today I heard all about my amazing 3rd hour class! I learned today that these students found and followed my lesson plans! They took notes from the overhead, they read the material, they completed the questions that were to have been assigned by the substitute teacher!

The teacher in the room next door told me that the class was so quiet (37 ninth graders!?) that he had had no idea that there was no substitute assigned to the room.

So, when the system failswhat will 37 ninth graders do? They will behave respectfully and responsibly.
What an amazing group of kids! Once again I am proud to say I am a public school teacher!

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