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January 28, 2016     Tri-County News
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PAGE 6 28,2016 www.tricountynews.mn Dairy farmer favors a 'yes' vote I'm writing as a member of the Kimball school district. In December I participated in a meeting discussing the bond- ing issue. After the meeting, Mr. Wagner walked several of us through the areas of concern. It is obvious these areas need upgrad- ing and have needed attention for quite some time. Mr. Wagner discussed the problem of declining enrollment and the efforts to turn enrollment around. It is critical to keep enroll- ment above 700 students; every additional student provides $5,900 of state funds. Kimball Area High School is Kimball's largest employer. The public needs to pay attention to and make sure the school con- tinues to update where neces- sary. The Kimball schools have been doing a good job of updating since the 1970s. Open enrollment creates additional concerns. We are in competition with all other schools in our areas. Many of our local towns and businesses are in expansion mode. More families will be seek- ing homes and schools for their children. Kimball schools must be competitive and attract these families to our facilities. Kimball school district voted for our school board members and hired Mr. Wagner to turn enroll- ment around and find a solution to update our school. Together they spent many hours and conducted many visits with other schools and professionals to address the build- ing's problem areas. Financial representatives, designers and all other needed professionals were I can't vote a tax increase on my At the Dec. 9, Special Board Meeting, I, like many in atten- dance, listened to the many speak- ers- both for and against- express their opinions on bringing ques- tion two back to the voters so soon after it was defeated by approxi- mately 75 votes. Since that time there have also been letters to the editor in our local paper expressing similar viewpoints. The one thing that is new is that question two has now increased from $5.48 million to $5.7 million. I have trremendous respect for everyone's .viewpoint, and I greatly appreciate the effort of those promoting community. But there is one matter that hasn't been discussed in regards to com- munity, which is what do I know about my "neighbor"? You see, for me, it is one thing to vote to raise my taxes. It's quite another to raise taxes on my neighbor. In my community group this past week at church, I spoke to one of my neighbors about this very topic. This neighbor has had the misfortune to lose her spouse. Let's call her Betty. I asked Betty if she might need a ride on Feb. 5, to the polling place. Not only did she say yes to my offer of transporta- tion, she came right out and said to me, "Dennis, I can't afford this. I'm on a fixed income." What is being asked of me? Am I being asked to support education (something I believe in deeply)? Yes, I am. But I'm also being asked to support something I don't see as an educational need: a community fitness center and a $320,000 concession stand. I toured the building on Dec. 15, and noted, as have others, that there are legitimate educational needs. And maybe it's a genera- tional thing with me, now that I have six grandchildren, bnt:I believe wants are being put above educational needs in this bond question. A $320,000 concession stand? How is this an educational need? A community fitness cen- ter? People can walk, do sit-ups and push-ups, use their tread- mills, or climb stairs to be fit. My point - there are other affordable options for people in our commu- nity who want to remain healthy. I don't agree that it's the school dis- trict's responsibility, nor should it be the taxpayers' burden. And make no mistake; this is a burden, as my friend Betty pointed out, to many in our community. What really is being asked of me? I am being asked to do without. As I approach retirement, I realize that I will have to do without some- thing to support this bond. I'm being asked to take on a 20-year contacted to prepare a solution to the problem areas. Informational meetings were held and advertised. These meet- ings were poorly attended until the very end when voting took place. My question is: Where were these people that were so upset at voting time? Why didn't they have some representation at the plan- ning meetings? Why would they let Mr. Wagner and the school board go through this large effort and then shut it down? I have been on many boards and committees in my dairy career, and have never seen a board as micromanaged as this. Again, the public elected the school board and it is our duty to support them. Vote Yes! on Feb. 5. Thank you, Tom Gregory neighbors burden, at the age of sixty-two that will cost my wife and me any- where from $10,000-$15,000 over the next 20 years. For two people, that's at least three years of gro- ceries. For some people that's a year's supply of necessary medica- tions or an unforeseen emergency room visit. For one friend of mine, that is a yearly health insurance premium. What is being asked of me? I'm being asked to raise the taxes of my family, friends and neighbors who may not (some who in fact are not) in a financial position to pay for what many of us see are wants, not needs. I'm being asked to vote to have myself and my neighbors do without - without luxuries as well as without necessary, every- day items. I would support and do support improvements to the Science and Industrial Arts programs. Because of what I now know about my neighbors, I must vote no on the upcoming bond referendum. With respect, Dennis Loewen Fitness center gets a 'yes' While there are many views on the future of the school, I feel almost everyone can agree it is time for the science rooms to be updated. For that reason I would rather focus on a heavily debated topic - the fitness center. The fit- ness center will improve the health of both students and the community as well as be a source of revenue for the district. Although many feel adding a fitness center provides no aca- demic value, this would be an incorrect statement. As a nurse, I see the continued hospitaliza- tions of those who have developed a chronic disease related to a sed- entary lifestyle. Unfortunately, this will only continue to get worse unless we do something to change this. Physical activity is more than simply knowing one should do it; there is also mental training involved. Teaching students at a young age a wide variety of activ- ities to help ensure their physical health is imperative. The current space limits class sizes and only allows students a limited num- ber of workouts to improve their health. The proposed fitness cen- ter would improve our students' current and future health. In addition to improving our student health, the fitness cen- ter would also improve the health of the community. I have "been involved in many discussions over the past five years in regards to why Kimball does not have a fit- ness center for community use. We are finally being given the opportunity, let's take advantage of itl Although I do not currently have children, I can only imag- ine how great it would be to bring your child to an activity, get your workout in, and then head back home with your child. How about someone recovering from a sur- gery and needing particular exer- cises that cannot be completed at home? Wouldn't it be nice to have somewhere in your community to complete this rehabilitation? Or what about those who usually go for daily walks but in the winter do not feel safe walking outside for fear of injuring themselves? I could go on, but I will stop here. There is no doubt the positive impact the fitness center would have on our community health. Finally, why let an opportu- nity to generate revenue pass us by? There is currently no fitness center in the community. Why wait for someone from outside the community to come in and make money off of us when the money could be used for the school? Paynesville schools have a fitness center which brings in around $10,000 per month. Our fitness center would actually be slightly bigger than theirs. Why would we not support a fitness center that could bring in more than $100,000 per year? During school board elec- tions, I choose very carefully who I vote for, knowing I will be trust- ing them to make decisions for the FUTURE of our school. The major- ity of school board members voted to bring this vote back. I trust in them, knowing their vision is truly to improve both the school and the community. Do I agree it seems like a lot of money? Of course. Again, this is where I trust the school board is making an invest- ment in our school's future; not simply just making things work for now. Generations before me paid to ensure Kimball schools were up-to-date for my education and extracurricular activities. I feel as resident of the Kimball school district it is my responsibility to ensure a quality future for gener- ations to come. I hope you can also appreciate the school board's vision for the future and vote yes with me on Feb. 5. Jill Libbesmeier Ninth Annual DU Banquet Maine Prairie Ducks Unlimited By Bill Liedman Plans are being made for the Ninth Annual DO Banquet at Powder Ridge Friday, April 8. Highlight will once again be at least 12 guns raffled. Your chance of winning will be better than 1 out of 15. The DO Shotgun of the year, better know as "Big Dog Raffle" is a Beretta A400 XPLOR 12 gauge, semiautomatic with 3" chamber, fiber optic front sight, interchange- able choke tubes and a hard side case is included. This shotgun is a beauty with DO engraving and is a collector's dream. New to the Maine Prairie Banquet this year is the "Super Dog Raffle". This is the DO Rifle Of the Year. This bolt action rifle is a bolt-action Howa Hogue Kryptek Cerakote .22-250. It has a 20" barrel and features Kryptek Highlander camo. Attached is a matching Nikko Sterling 4-16X44 scope. The rifle also carries the DO logo and has an attached bipod. Another highlighted gun is the new Remington V3 Camo Shotgun. This shotgun will lead off the list in the four-gun raffle. It is a semi-automatic with Mossy Oak Shadow Grass Blades Camo. Interchangeable choke tubes and a trigger lock are also included. Roast beef and chicken dinner will be served by Powder Ridge. Many positive comments were received last year regarding the excellent food prepared by Powder Ridge. Tickets will be on sale soon. Contact any Maine Prairie DU committee member after Feb. 3.