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Bulletin letters to the editor: Police reserve officer, Park athletics, youth sports, Newport business, Janis Quinlan,

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Reserve officer's generosity stuns residents

I was recently at a Cottage Grove Neighborhood Watch meeting. Two police officers spoke. One had the word "Reserve" on his ID. I asked him what that meant. He said he was a volunteer. He does everything other officers do, except carry a gun. Someone asked, "Do you have a day job?"

"Yes," he said. He is in sales for a large corporation.

Someone else asked, "Do you have a family?" He has a wife and kids.

"Why do you do this on top of your job and your family?" he was asked.

"Just to help out," he said.

We were stunned. The spirit of Cottage Grove was standing there before us, tall and straight.

Robert K. Hudnut

Cottage Grove

Proud of Park coaches, players

I have never written a letter to the editor before, but I felt I had to take a moment to recognize the Park High School coaches and players. I have the opportunity to watch soccer on the field adjacent to the Park football team as they practice. The varsity field is a good distance away, but noise can be heard from the stadium when a varsity soccer game is being played.

Every time a game begins and the national anthem starts, the football players and coaches stop immediately what they are doing, remove their helmets and hats, stand and face the flag and wait for the national anthem to finish.

So much attention these days is put on criticizing our schools, teachers and coaches. We need to remember the amazing people who work so hard every day to help shape our kids into not just great students and athletes, but more importantly, great people. I am so proud to have these people as influences in my own kid's lives.

Janeen Kuemmel

Cottage Grove

We don't need a 'right-wing ideologue'

Partisan gridlock has been strangling progress at all government levels. For some, working together and compromise have become bad words.

That's why I'm concerned about Janis Quinlan and her campaign for state Senate. Back in April she was quoted in the South Washington County Bulletin that she would "vote along the (Republican) party line."

To me that spells trouble. That means she would have voted to shut down state government in 2011, voted to borrow $2.4 billion from our local schools and voted for policies that increased local property taxes by double digits. She even would have voted against the new Hastings bridge.

We don't need another right-wing ideologue in the state Senate. Vote for Katie Sieben, a proven leader who will work with her partners across the political aisle to end gridlock and move Minnesota forward.

Ed Kranz

Hastings

Youth sports associations should have open dialogue

I received a real surprise this year registering for traveling basketball. On the Cottage Grove Athletic Association website it reads $140. I sign in, complete all of the information and proceed to check out. What? A $6.05 processing charge? Why were we not notified of this fee immediately?

This lack of communication between Park High School youth athletics and parents clearly parallels the lack of Park sports success in general. Nobody likes to be blindsided. Open, honest dialogue between league volunteers and parents should be the norm, not the exception. Either clearly state that there is a processing fee or bury it into a higher registration fee of $150 or even $160.

Pete Glibbery

Cottage Grove

Newport turning deaf ear to businesses

I find it ironic that the city of Newport, which is in need of economic development, would rather have a building sit empty than issue the needed off-sale liquor license to a reputable firm that already does extensive business in Washington County.

Could it be that the reason is that the closest competing liquor store is part of the Newport Center, which is owned by a long-time local business owner? I would encourage the city to review this and evaluate; if you owned a business, would you rather locate in the Newport Center or in a newer building that portrays success?

Although there have been cosmetic improvements to the Newport Center, I can't see the visual appeal from Highway 61 that would compel me to exit and frequent the businesses there. My husband and I have lived in Cottage Grove for over three years, and quite by accident I found the Cardinal Store. I was searching online and was surprised to find the listing for this business. Countless times I traveled up and down Highway 61 and never once saw this business.

The Newport Center is home to some quality businesses to be sure, but the appeal and attractiveness of the center is lacking. I applaud the city for having made financial contributions to the city's economic development, but just having the funds isn't going to be enough. What is your strategy? Do you have an aggressive game plan for bringing more businesses to your city? It doesn't seem so, if you are turning a deaf ear to the requests of businesses, such as Linn Companies, that have made the city appear more progressive.

Cathy Lenihan

Cottage Grove

School appreciates Lions Club retreat support

The Camelot House students and staff at Oltman Middle School would like to send a huge thank you to the Cottage Grove Lions Club for their very generous support of our annual Courage Retreat.

The retreat, led by Youth Frontiers, is an intense day of team building where kids play games, dance, have small group discussions and commit to an act of courage. The overall messages received are for students to have the courage to be themselves, not follow the crowd, and to do the right thing. The retreat focuses on anti-bullying messages and kindness to others. Oltman's Camelot House has done this retreat for three years now, and we consistently see improvement in the way our students treat each other and the self-confidence they gain.

The Cottage Grove Lions Club has helped to sponsor this event for the past two years, so the kids can attend free of charge. In working with this organization, we have come to see how passionate they are about this community and how hard they work to be able to give back to those in need. We are eternally grateful for their belief in our students and all of their support. We encourage the community to support the Cottage Grove Lions Club in their fundraising efforts.

Marci Anderson and Oltman Middle School Camelot House students and staff

Upon retirement, hopes for strong future for Youth Service Bureau

After 35 years of counseling at Youth Service Bureau in south Washington County, I have decided it is time to retire. My career has been rewarding, never boring and many times wonderful. The people of south Washington County are responsible for this.

There are so many people I need to thank. For this reason I do not want to single out anyone knowing I would leave too many out. I do want to voice appreciation for the municipalities, agencies, corrections, schools, law enforcement, human services and all youth serving agencies and their staff. Without these agencies and the talented and committed individuals who serve in them, doing my job would have been impossible. It really does take a village and south Washington County is a very good one.

I want to thank Youth Service Bureau and its predecessor for giving me the chance to begin and end my work here. I am grateful to the many coworkers, board members and leaders over the years for the support you have given me and the work we have done together.

Most of all, I want to express my deep gratitude to all the kids and families who allowed me to walk with them in their lives for a period of time. I can only hope that our experience together was beneficial to each of you. I do know walking these journeys with you enriched my life for the last 35 years.

If I have omitted anyone or any group, please know that I have appreciated all my interactions with all of you over the years.

It is my hope that Youth Service Bureau and all other youth serving agencies will continue to impact this and future generations. With continued support of this vision, we can continue to form a strong circle of support for all of the kids and their families in south Washington County.

I look forward to saying goodbye and thanking you personally on from 5-7 p.m. Monday, Oct. 29 at Youth Service Bureau's Cottage Grove office. There will be farewell program at 6 p.m. No gifts, please; your presence will be gift enough. If you do wish to do something, I would suggest you consider a donation to Youth Service Bureau. And, if you are not able to come, I will be completing my work through the end of November.

Tom Peichel

Youth and family therapist for Youth Service Bureau

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