Letters from readers: Thoughts on motorcycling; tweeting; a Fourth of July tribute; garage sale signs; and kudos to police

Reflections on motorcycling

It was a bit over a year ago when my then 17-year-old son reminded me of an item on my bucket list. He reminded me of what I’d said to him just after he earned his driver license: “When you’re 18 maybe we should get our motorcycle endorsement together.” The plan was put into action. Bucket list item – check!

While I’m still learning, my son is a very practiced, attentive, and cautious motorcycle rider. He’d already mastered highway driving when I made my first highway voyage. Before I set out I told him about my apprehensions. He wisely told me, “It’s a big responsibility, that’s for sure.”

Recently I asked him to reflect on his year with a motorcycle and any other gems of wisdom he’d gained. He answered, “Just don’t be dumb.” He explained: Be vigilant, know your limits and ride within them, anticipate what might happen. He thinks most car drivers are good about giving him room on the road. He tries to repay that courtesy by being a good representative of all motorcyclists.

With motorcycle safety messages quite fresh in my mind – wear a helmet and protective clothing, drive sober, look to where you are turning, use both brakes, countersteer – I encourage all riders to check out the resources available from the Minnesota Motorcycle Safety Center and the Motorcycle Safety Foundation for all experience levels of riders. (msf-usa.org and dps.mn.gov – select “I want to: Get a Motorcycle License”). These offerings are a great way to begin, or to find out if you are as good a biker as you think you are.

I’m asking for awareness of motorcycle safety as part of the Sherburne County Safe Roads Coalition, which promotes safe driving practices in all types of vehicles. I want to ask all drivers to offer one another the respect and attentiveness we each deserve, no matter what mode of transportation we’re using. After all, it’s a big responsibility. — Charlotte Strei, Elk River (Editor’s note: Strei submitted this on behalf of Sherburne County Safe Roads Coalition. She is a member of the group.)


Please think before you act

The youth act before they think. When we mature we should think before we act.

It really troubles me when I hear about all the folks in this world who are so involved in their thoughts that they forget to stop and think. People, we must slow down! Stop and enjoy the beauties that God has created for us. When we rush, rush, rush, we don’t even hear the birds singing.

Do you think before you tweet? Or do you tweet before you think?
Do you think before you tweet? Or do you tweet before you think?

Right now I am thinking of the Rogers High School incident. A student had posted something on the Internet. I assume all your readers know about this. Was this a mole hill that turned into a mountain?

I truly believe if the officials involved in making decisions in the “tweeter Sagehorn” case had calmed down and not jumped in to react immediately, there would be no lawsuits.

Every day I am more aware of the meaning of, “I thought a thought, but the thought I thought wasn’t the thought, I thought, I think if again I think I will write it down in pen and ink.” It is only in the past year that I truly understand the meaning of this. So here is my interpretation: Often what we are saying is interpreted differently than what we intended. I am not judging, but I am just saying that we as adults must slow down and think things out a little more thoroughly.

I have said before and I will say it again, I really believe we should live by the Golden Rule. I know that not everyone is a Christian, but the Bible tells us how to live and how to have peace of mind. In 1 Corinthians 13:11 it says, “When I was a child, I thought as a child; but when I became a man, I put away childish things.” Let us think upon these things and go forth from now on without revenge in our hearts. — Lola Driessen, Elk River

Tribute to July Fourth offered

Today was kind of a pleasant but overcast day in Elk River, so I spent the time transcribing script of the pension records of my great-great-great-grandpa Josiah Dunning’s Revolutionary War service record.

Of course I went for a walk tonight with three of my grown kids, Brandon, Jennifer and Alex, and it dawned on me the significance of the Fourth of July. Be it noted I have never served my country but have always had great, great, and I mean great, admiration for the service all of our country’s soldiers have devoted to us to preserve our freedoms. It’s sad the phrase “preserve our freedoms” gets overused to the point we do not realize the significance of freedom.

Fireworks were launched from Elk River High School for the fifth year in a row.
Fireworks were launched from Elk River High School for the fifth year in a row.

So as we walked down the long dark but moonlit country road, we could see thousands of fireflies on one side of the road and spectacular fireworks on the other side in the direction toward town.

It occurred to me at that moment the sound of the fireworks resembled black powder gunshots and hearing many in sequence got me to thinking what it might have been like 240 years ago to hear hundreds of gunshots and cannon fire and then respond without hesitation in the direction toward the danger, not knowing personal destiny, and all in the name of freedom. You have to put yourself in those shoes and decide “am I a revolutionary soldier in the name of freedom, or a tory?”

My ancestor mentioned above dropped what he was doing at the age of 20 and left home (he called it running away) all in the name of freedom. His brother by the way was proscribed for being a tory. Luckily Josiah returned by New Year’s Eve after trekking through the snow to get back home during the common winter lull in the war.

The fireflies? I think they represent freedom. They are not bound by the ideology of others, they just shine because they can. Fireworks colors resemble the same in my mind.

God bless our revolutionary soldiers of the past and present and God bless America. — Patrick LaValley, Elk River



Take an ad out and make big signs

It’s garage sale time again.

As a garage sale junkie, I have a few suggestions.

Garage signs were a big topic this past year. They might be again this year.

Help us find your sale! Point us in the right direction with notations like behind Perkins, near Coborn’s, past the Sherburne County Government Center or north of the Elk River Golf Course.

Make all signs the same, including the one at your sale. Make signs large with large arrows. (We can’t read and drive at the same time.)

Place ads for your sale in the newspaper so we will know about it. — Barb Campbell, Elk River


Garage sales signs missing from impound lot

I am writing to the citizens of Elk River that have garage sales and put signs up advertising their sale.

We had a garage sale and we wondered why we didn’t have any people coming.

Someone finally came and asked why we didn’t have any signs out for our sale. We said we had nine signs located all around our neighborhood.

Well, I guess that the city had picked them up. I called and asked about it. The person we talked to remembered our signs and said that they were at the impound. My husband went there, and there were no signs. He went a few more times as well.

I sent a letter to the mayor along with an invoice for the $36 that our signs cost. I told him that someone had taken our signs from the impound lot.

I have also talked to more than one person that could not find their signs at the impound. So where do they go? I would like to know.

The other reason I am writing this letter is because I want to make a presentation to the Elk River City Council, asking that the garage sale sign ordinance be overturned.

If you agree with me, please send me a statement via email stating so along with your name, address, phone number. I will put them together and present them to the City Council at a meeting.

My email address is: [email protected] Subject: Garage Sale Signs.

If you do not have email, you can mail me a letter. Our address is 514 5 1/2 St. Elk River, MN 55330.

I hope that I hear from all of you that are fed up with this ordinance.

Thanks for your time. — Gayle Fox, Elk River

Kudos to the Elk River police

I want to thank the Elk River Police Department on the outstanding job on the apprehension of a juvenile who was taken in custody on my property on the early morning of July 2.

Both my wife and I were awakened by the commotion and went out to investigate what was going on. Seems there were three people in a group and two others got away through our backyard and into a wooded and swampy area.

Elk River police then brought in a police dog and two officers went into this mosquito-infested area to track down the other two. Their persistence in finding these two individuals in those conditions is greatly appreciated, as they could have just given up or waited them out by surrounding the area with squad cars.

Thank you again for your persistence and doing a job that you all don’t get enough credit for that all police officers in this country deserve. — Stephen Painter, Elk River