Letters from Readers: Levies, candidates and care among the topics

There’s the infamous cup of Caribou coffee, or perhaps the membership to Netflix, satellite radio in our cars, or the donation to MPR. These are some of the smaller things we spend a monthly amount on, and by choice. We do need to add another “small” item to the list — education.

If I were to tell you the things ISD 728 can do with levy dollars, or can’t without the levy dollars, I will tell you nothing new. The plain truth is funds for education are being cut at all levels — federal, state and down. This leaves us, the residents, to continue to fund education in our school districts. This is my school district and therefore my opportunity to contribute to my community.

Please vote “yes” for the school levy. Please choose to support something as important as education, something that in turn supports our community. — Luana Burlingame,, Elk River


Burandt well qualified to be on City Council

We have never had a candidate more qualified for the position on the Elk River City Council than Barbara Burandt.

She has spent all her life serving people. In order to establish yourself and to be successful in any field, you must be respectful of everyone and you must respect others’ property as well as your own. You must also be an attentive listener. Our society has lost respect and has been halfway listeners. There is a real need to make certain that the listener hears what you are saying. Sometimes the listener interprets what you are saying differently. There is an old saying: “I thought a thought, but the thought I thought, wasn’t the thought I thought, I thought. I think if again I think, I will write it down in pen and ink.” I find that this is true in many cases!

Another quality that Barb has is that she is a researcher. She thoroughly researched the position of council person before filing. She is continually researching. She gets the facts before she makes a decision. It has been said, “…know the truth and the truth will set you free.”

Finally, we have a real need for a woman on the council. I believe a woman will restore respect to the council and also a woman views things differently than a man. Sometimes a person has to pause and rethink a decision.

Barb is a researcher, respectful, listener and whatever she does she does humbly and diligently.

Please, those of you in Ward 3, vote for Barbara Burandt. The entire city of Elk River will benefit from her wisdom and knowledge.—Lola Driessen, Elk River


Man for this position already has the job 

This letter of endorsement is written for Larry Farber, who is running for the position of county commissioner in Sherburne County.

I have known Larry since my childhood, and have had the opportunity to be a part of his family. But more so, he has become a mentor and friend to me for many years. Larry has always been true to his word. When he says he will do something he has always followed through and has done it.

Larry always has an ear open to listen to people and their ideas. I have seen Larry get pulled aside on several family occasions to discuss and listen to people about different issues. I am proud to say he never sighed. He just listened and then got the job done.

What I see the most in Larry is his compassion for the community. His whole entire life has been in public service and he has done a wonderful job working as your county commissioner. Larry retired from law enforcement after serving for over 28 years. Larry has also served this community being on the City Council. Larry for the past four years has looked out for the county’s best interest not his own. Not only is Larry committed as your county commissioner, but he also gives back through being a part of Lions Club. Many hours are spent to make sure this county is being run successfully.

Larry is currently the county’s chair and from the meetings I have attended, he is very well respected by his peers and others. Larry has spent countless hours running to several committees and meetings to make sure our tax dollars are being spent wisely. Larry considers this a full-time job, not a retirement job! From what I have seen, Larry treats it that way.

Larry is extremely knowledgeable in being your county commissioner and has proven this many times over. Larry will spend the time getting to know who you are and listen to your thoughts. Given another four years I know Commissioner Farber will continue to be your professional spokesperson for Sherburne County within the county and throughout the state.

The man for this job is the one who is already there, Commissioner Farber. In times like these, you need someone who is 100 percent committed to this county and Larry will treat it as he always has, a full-time job. — Travis Basavage, Big Pine Key, Florida

There is an important vote in this election

Voting for someone to represent our interests is crucial and we have a choice between Sondra Erickson and Joe Walsh. According to parentsunited.org, Sondra Erickson is a member of ALEC and Joe Walsh is not. It’s that simple. ALEC is an organization that claims to be bipartisan but is not. ALEC is funded by big corporations and they have an agenda. Their agenda is to pass legislation that puts corporate interests ahead of the interests of ordinary Americans including privatization of public education. Please spend some time researching ALEC (besides their own website) and ask yourself, “Why are pandering and changing laws to benefit big corporations including multinational corporations good for our district, good for our state and good for our country?” Why did Sondra Erickson sign on to be a member of ALEC? How do you get representation when you have a representative that has signed on to an organization to do the bidding for Exxon, AT & T, Wal-Mart and the Koch Brothers?

In looking at Sondra Erickson’s voting record, you often see that she votes “no” on bills that will benefit the citizens of our district and “yes” to bills that help big corporations. Check out her voting record on environmental issues and education issues. We need a grassroots person like Joe Walsh who wants to represent our community interests, not pander to ALEC. — Deb Lavoie, Milaca


Riebel: A strong and consistent advocate 

I am writing this letter in support of John Riebel, who is running for re-election to the Sherburne County Board of Commissioners. I have known John for more than 30 years and have always found him to be an ethical, caring and community-minded person

John has lived in Sherburne County his entire life. One of his ways of paying back Sherburne County for the good life it has provided him and his family was to become active in local government. After serving a stint on the Becker Township Board, John was first elected to the Sherburne County Board of Commissioners in 2004 and has served since that time as the commissioner representing District 3. The most recent redistricting has expanded District 3 to include the entire Elk River Ward 2.

Throughout his service on the County Board, John has been a strong and consistent advocate that all residents of Sherburne County receive quality, efficient and cost-effective services from the county. John is a good listener and is always receptive to hearing from constituents about county issues. Anyone visiting John’s hardware store in Becker will likely find John soliciting and listening to customer comments about the state of the county. John will continue be a good listener as he serves new constituents in Elk River’s Ward 2 and welcomes their comments and suggestions. One of John’s strong qualities is that in addition to listening he provides solid leadership as needed in behalf of his constituents.

In addition to serving on the County Board, John’s community service has involved extensive volunteer work with the American Legion (both locally and at the district level), with the Sherburne County Fair and as a volunteer Santa. One of my favorite memories of John is the time he came to play poker dressed in his Santa Claus suit. He was coming directly to our game from playing Santa for a local charitable organization.

Please join me in voting for John Riebel Nov. 6. — John Kuester, Elk River


You won’t regret a vote for Nick Zerwas 

I have worked closely with Nick Zerwas for the last six years and found him to be a fair, compassionate, hard-working leader. He has volunteered an incredible amount of hours on various boards and commissions, always seeking to contribute to his community.

Nick’s six years on the Elk River City Council makes him an ideal choice to be our District 30A state representative. He has extensive experience in dealing with budgets and the tough issues that confront government officials.

This experience will make him an excellent voice for the citizens of Elk River and Big Lake at the Capitol. Every citizen deserves strong representation at the state level. Nick will surely provide that and more.

I ask you to join me in voting for Nick Zerwas for 30A state representative on Nov. 6. You won’t be sorry.— John Dietz, Elk River

Kiffmeyer wrong in her claim of simplicity 

Mary Kiffmeyer is wrong in a claim she made in her Oct. 12 commentary, called “Photo ID — A Simple Solution To Voting Problems.” What she says is simple is not. This amendment spells out no details but Kiffmeyer claims military voters won’t be “affected by state laws or the constitution” because of certain federal law. Not true!

Federal laws might ensure our servicemen and women get ballots, but they won’t ensure these same ballots are actually counted back home if this poorly written amendment passes. The wording states that all voters, including those not voting in person, must meet the requirements. This is restrictive on our military men and women. This amendment, if it passes, goes into our constitution. We cannot go back and change it later. Our military people deserve the right to vote and be counted. Vote “no” Nov. 6. — Nancy Schumacher, Elk River


Strong leadership needed in county

Honest, sincere and passionate with a strong work ethic are not often used to describe a candidate running for elected office. However, Bruce Anderson embodies all of those characteristics and I am writing in support of him for District 1 county commissioner.

Bruce will bring strong, transparent leadership to Sherburne County. In these difficult economic times, thoughtful consideration to our county budget is important, but Bruce will not sacrifice the quality of service to and safety of the citizens of Sherburne County.

Elect Bruce Anderson, a strong, considerate leader to District 1, Sherburne County Commission. — Daryl Thompson, Elk River


Long-time parents in district offer support

As longtime parents in the district, we would like to share some of the changes that we have seen over the past 16 years (we have two older children who graduated in 2007 and 2009, respectively, and now have a daughter who is in fourth grade).

Over the course of our time in the district, we have seen a lot of programming eliminated due to lack of funding. For example, there is no longer a Challenge (gifted and talented) program in our district, which has caused many families with academically oriented students to leave our district, or choose private alternatives. We no longer have a sports program in our middle schools, and foreign language courses in the middle schools have likewise been cut. Many of our arts and music programs across the district have been eliminated or reduced. Juxtaposed against these reductions, we have seen class sizes soar. Our elementary school classes now have up to 35 students in a classroom.

Voting yes to Question 1 sustains current funding, reducing the risk of even more program cuts and even larger class sizes. Voting yes to Question 2 (which cannot pass without Question 1 passing) supports initiatives that have been cut or have been unachievable — programs like all-day everyday kindergarten, up-to-date classroom technologies, online learning opportunities and revision of outdated curricula.

Such programs and smaller classes were a part of what made our district one of the best in the state. We as citizens and voters need to re-evaluate what is important to the betterment of our community. Please vote yes to both levy questions in November — and help ensure that all students can continue being offered the excellent education for which Elk River area schools have long been known. — Liane and Mark Kondrak, Elk River


Who is Rep. Michele Bachmann, writer asks 

Her stance on earmarks is well known, but from a Freedom of Information Act request shows on at least 16 separate occasions, Rep. Michele Bachmann petitioned the federal government for direct financial help or aid. A large chunk of those requests were for funds from the stimulus program, which Bachmann once labeled “fantasy economics.”

While drumming up support to start a war against Iran, Rep. Bachmann claimed that the Iranian president said his country would use their atomic bomb to wipe Israel off the face of the Earth and that he will use it against America. Iran’s president couldn’t have said that, because he denied pursuing nuclear weapons in the first place.

In 2011 she claimed that the founding fathers worked tirelessly to end slavery (49 percent of the founding fathers were slave owners) and that John Quincy Adams was one of our founding fathers. He was 8 years old at the signing of the Declaration of Independence. She reported that the American Revolution started in New Hampshire. It started in Massachusetts at Lexington. Lastly, she went on and told us that Paul Revere went on his historic ride to warn the British! This, folks, is elementary school history.

Huffington Post revealed that during the late 1990s through early 2000s, Ms. Bachmann went by the name Dr. Michele Bachmann, even though she had never obtained nor sought the degree needed to have this title.

Rep. Bachmann called for a new McCarthyism when in October 2008 said, “I wish the American media would take a good look at the views of the people in Congress and find out: Are they pro-America or anti-America?”

Ms. Bachmann stated, “How can CO2 be harmful? Carbon dioxide, Mister Speaker, is a natural byproduct of nature. Carbon dioxide is natural. It occurs on Earth. It is a part of the regular life cycle of Earth.”

Michele Bachmann is responsible for what she says and is judged by those words. Once she makes up her mind, facts just get in the way. A fool never sees truth. — Jon Anderson, Zimmerman


Kiffmeyer: A friend   of small business 

Rep. Mary Kiffmeyer was recently awarded the Guardian of Small Business Award for being a “real friend of small business.” The National Federation of Independent Businesses cited her work and efforts as being crucial to the success and viability of small businesses.

I personally experienced Mary being a friend of my business Itzi Bitzi Childcare, a small in-home childcare located in Elk River. Mary personally worked with myself and many other providers not only at the Legislature in St. Paul, but also on a direct level, in our homes, to stand up for our right to stand free and independent of the governor’s attempted mandate to force us into a day-care provider’s union. I independently own and operate my day care. I am not Gov. Dayton’s employee.

Because of Mary’s work and other Republicans like her, I am free today to run my business.

Thanks, Mary. You have earned this award because of your selfless work and countless hours devoted to the protection of small business. You are truly a guardian of my small business and many other small businesses alike. — Chelsey McDonough, Elk River


Yes votes on levies will build community 

As a resident of the 728 school district communities, a parent of two school-aged children and an involved participant in school activities, I encourage all residents to show their support to the school district in the upcoming election. I believe most-many-all of us show our support every day in different ways. I know that support is felt and appreciated by our district School Board, district and school administration, teachers, staff, and most importantly, the students in any of the 16 schools in our district. But, we need to do more.

Voting yes to these two questions will build our community. There is a direct correlation between a quality community and a quality educational system. When you see a thriving community, you will see a thriving educational system within it.

As a parent, I have a vested stake in the results produced by our district schools. Voting yes is one way I can ensure a positive return on my investment. I have faith in the district leadership, teachers and staff to put my dollars to use in a productive way to positively impact my children’s school day.

We live in an imperfect world and what is perfect to one, may certainly not be perfect to the next. Do I wish some things were different? You bet! Thankfully, the district has opened the door for me to voice my opinion about those wishes. For now though, I’ll vote “yes” to the two levy questions and continue to partner with the district as we drive forward with the momentum created by the recently developed strategic plan — the plan we as community members had a voice in.

It seems every time I turn around, someone is asking for money and, for the life of me, I can’t find the money tree in the back yard. It is challenging. It is painful sometimes. It does require difficult decisions. In the end, it’s the right thing to do for our communities, the schools and the students. Please vote Tuesday, Nov. 6. Please vote yes to our schools! — Sandy Langer, Otsego


Amazing seminar lights a fire for her 

On Sunday, my husband and I flew home after an amazing seminar where we learned how to be the best versions of ourselves. We couldn’t wait to get back to the office Monday to see patients and start giving back!

On our connecting flight, a little boy named Joe was seated behind us. My observation, based upon Joe’s mannerisms and verbal skills, was that he was on the autism spectrum. He was so upset by the little TV; you know the one that shows the safety video and movies. He kept kicking the seat and yelling “No TV!” despite his mother’s pleas for him to talk quietly.

I suddenly felt an overwhelming sense of gratefulness. Grateful that our children are “healthy.” Then, I quickly felt angry. Angry that we’re not doing enough to save these children. Angry that we’re not preventing these disorders. Yes, preventing! How do we do that? Their perfect, pure, little bodies are being assaulted with GMOs, pesticides, herbicides, hormones, artificial colors, flavors and sweeteners. And that’s just what we’re feeding them! Then there’s induced births, 81 vaccines before age 6, overuse of antibiotics and drugs for every symptom they may have.

Do you know this generation is not expected to live as long as their parents? This is not health care, it’s sick care. It must change!

Joe settled down once he was able to block his view of the TV with his jacket and play his iPad.

So, what started as an exciting trip home to see our three boys and to serve our patients even better, has turned into a mission. A mission to transform the lives of millions in our community from surviving to thriving through chiropractic care, nutrition, exercise and positive thinking. We’re committed to living this message out loud …Who’s with us? — Dr. Sandy Rebrovich, Elk River