Upgrade made recycling easier

To the Editor:

I would like to offer a big round of applause to Roger and Donna, employees of Chris’ Foods, for taking the steps that led to the upgrade in front of the recycling sheds.

Before this upgrade, a person would have to stand in a puddle of water that was in front of the shed doors to open them and recycle items. Thanks to these two thoughtful people, a massive amount of rocks and gravel were added and now it’s easier to use the recycling area.

If you have a chance, go into Chris’ Foods and let them know what a great job they did.    

Sue Lightner

Pine City

Don’t change name of park

To the Editor:

As executive director of the Hinckley Convention & Visitors Bureau (HCVB), I have been asked by the Board of Directors (BOD) to express its opposition to the potential renaming of St. Croix State Park.      

It is our understanding that there is an effort to rename the park in honor of former Vice President Walter Mondale. While we appreciate Mr. Mondale’s considerable contributions to our state, renaming the St. Croix State Park in homage to his legacy does not seem like an economically prudent or marketing savvy decision, in our opinion.

Economically, the cost to replace signage, markers, maps and marketing materials could cost the taxpayers of Minnesota as much as $250,000 by some estimates. Certainly there are more pressing infrastructural needs that warrant tax dollar allocation.

From a marketing perspective, it seems unwise to discard the more than 75 years of branding synergy that has made St. Croix State Park one of the most iconic and popular tourism destinations in Minnesota. With neighboring states like Iowa, Nebraska  and Wisconsin vying for similar segments of the tourism industry, it doesn’t seem prudent to forego the significant branding advantages that St. Croix State Park has established and enjoyed over the course of its existence.

It may make much more sense, from both a marketing and economic perspective, to consider an alternative solution. It would be much less costly, on both fronts, to rebrand the St. Croix State Forest instead of the park. There are far fewer signs, markers, maps and marketing materials affected by such a decision, as well. Additionally, the resulting compromise would allow St. Croix State Park to maintain its current identity, while providing Mr. Mondale’s legacy the consideration it is rightly due.

As a destination marketing organization (DMO), the HCVB is acutely aware of the many and varied destinations that Hinckley and East Central Minnesota offer to prospective visitors. It is our hope and understanding that legislators will consider our position regarding this proposal with the weight and value that our 25 years of tourism promotion warrants. In light of its unique historic and tourism value to the community, the HCVB sincerely hopes the decision to rename the St. Croix State Park will be reconsidered. We hope your readers will also contact our legislators and let them know that they are similarly opposed to this project.  

Timothy L. Williams

Hinckley Convention & Visitors Bureau

Nelson against name change

To the Editor:

Are you among the many who are outraged by a legislative proposal that is moving forward in the Minnesota House that would change the name of St. Croix State Park to Walter F. Mondale State Park?

I have heard from countless local constituents who have complained to me that this process is moving forward without their consultation.

 I share your frustration. Some at the Capitol must have thought this wasn’t a very controversial idea, but now that the plan has been publicized the overwhelming majority of area residents are adamant they don’t want to see the name changed.

Some background: in the 1800’s, the threat of mining the St. Croix Dalles prompted leaders from Minnesota and Wisconsin to preserve the Dalles of the St. Croix River. Working together, the first interstate (Minnesota and Wisconsin) park in the nation was established with the Minnesota Legislature establishing the park in 1895 and the Wisconsin Legislature following suit in 1900.

Since then, St. Croix State Park has become very special to generations of local families who have not only worked there over the years, but have camped and hiked there.

In St. Paul, the bill that would authorize the name change has been included in a sizable environment finance proposal that will be debated on the House floor in the coming weeks.

From the conversations I’ve had, people want to honor Vice President Mondale, but at the same time they want to maintain the name of St. Croix State Park. This is a personal issue for many local residents, and I’ve heard a tremendous outcry to keep the name as is and to find another way to pay tribute to Walter Mondale going forward.

Had those who wanted to change the state park name consulted area residents, I’m confident they would have heard the same message. Unfortunately that did not happen, and I will be opposing this provision.

Rep. Nathan Nelson

District 11B

Preserve St. Croix State Park

To the Editor:

There is a bill – HF1963 – that started out with the intention to rename the Interstate state park the Walter Mondale State Park.

 There was much public outcry and the bill author, Rep. Ryan Winkler changed it to trying to get St. Croix State Park renamed after some discussion with a local official.

Without any notification to the public or solicitation of the public’s opinion this bill is going to be going to the legislature to be voted on. I personally find this appalling at the total disregard of what the people might think let alone the cost that would result from this. With no disrespect intended towards Mr. Mondale or his family, basing this on Mr Mondale’s commitment to preserving the waterway.

St. Croix State Park is more than the name Walter Mondale. It goes back to the fur traders, trappers, loggers who pioneered the area. The Ojibwe, the great white pines, the CCC camps and the story of that has led it to the park that it is today. We need to protect the culture, the history, keep the name true to its beginnings.

It is unacceptable that our legislators who are voted in to represent us are proposing things they have not even asked us about.

We as taxpayers need to have a voice and write letters or emails to our representatives ... time is of importance as the legislature is in session.   

You can email Rep. Nathan Nelson at Rep.nathan.nelson@house.mn and  Senator Jason Rarick’s legislative assistant at karen.johnson@senate.mn.

Dodie Frye

Pine County

The way things used to be

To the Editor:

I remember back in 1945 on my 15th birthday a driver’s license cost 25 cents. I put two dimes and a nickel in an envelope with my name and address and they mailed me my driver’s license.

Don Meyer

Pine City

Address Alzheimer’s as national health crisis

To the Editor:

Alzheimer’s affects over five million Americans living with the disease and over 16 million unpaid caregivers. As an Alzheimer’s caregiver and advocate, it was my honor to represent them on April 2 at Washington, D.C. for the Alzheimer’s Impact Movement Advocacy Forum with other Alzheimer’s advocates from across the nation.

On Capitol Hill, I and fellow Minnesota advocates met with R-MN-8 Pete Stauber to ask for his support behind legislation that will provide necessary resources for this national crisis. Specifically, we urged him to support increased funding for Alzheimer’s disease research at the National Institutes of Health, as well as funding to implement the Building Our Largest Dementia (BOLD) Infrastructure for Alzheimer’s Act which Congress passed into law late last year. We also encouraged him to co-sponsor bipartisan bills:  Improving Hope for Alzheimer’s Act and the Younger-Onset Alzheimer’s Disease Act. Both of these bills will provide necessary service planning and support to those in this horrible journey.

Alzheimer’s is the sixth leading cause of death but also ranks as the most expensive disease with no cure. We thank Rep. Stauber for his openness to this cause. Please join me in urging Rep. Stauber to invest in these policies that address Alzheimer’s as the national health crisis it is.  

Terry Klosterman

Tamarack, MN

Keep park name what it is

To the Editor:

An attempt to change the name of Interstate State Park to Walter Mondale State Park failed because of intense opposition. But they haven’t given up, and now they want to name our St. Croix State Park in Pine County after Mondale.  

Mondale is still alive and State Law Chapter 101; S.F.No. 2082.17 clearly states that “Laws enacted on or after July 1, 2009 may not name councils, buildings, roads, or other facilities or entities after living people.”

Our new representative Nathan Nelson says, “I am trying to stop this. I was just sworn in a week ago and found out this information late on Tuesday, April 2. I called the park manager Wednesday morning to alert Rick Dunkley of what was taking place. The name change is being proposed by DFL Representative Ryan Winkler. I had an amendment on Thursday to remove the language in the bill to change the name of St. Croix. The Democrats rejected that amendment and are pushing the bill. The DFL is in the majority, most of them are from the the cities and don’t care what we think in rural Minnesota. The park is a very big part of the history of the area and we need to preserve its name as St Croix State Park.”  

People can contact officials:  Email addresses: rep.ryan.winkler@house.mn (He is proposing bill); rep.rick.hansen@house.mn. (bill supporter); Our local reps:  rep.nathan.nelson@house.mn; Senator Jason Rarick:  karen.johnson@senate.mn.

Paul Raymond


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