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Letters to the Editor: Preserving Crosswinds, lock closures

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Perpich will preserve Crosswinds programs, environment

I am writing to voice my support for the Perpich Center for Arts Education acquiring control of Crosswinds Arts and Science School. I knew little about Crosswinds until last March when the Faith-Based Health and Wellness Network in Washington County partnered with Crosswinds to hold a youth expo, and I was extremely impressed with the school's focus on creating a safe atmosphere for students more interested in the arts than in sports to flourish and succeed. This is not the norm for more traditional schools, and unfortunately, students with a preference for art, music and drama are habitually considered abnormal, and are ridiculed and bullied. As an advocate of those in our communities who are often ostracized as being "different," I appreciate that parents have a choice of sending their children to a school that emphasizes diversity. Crosswinds creates an environment that cultivates healthy and respectful relationships among diverse students, which decreases the likelihood of social isolation that can lead to poor grades, truancy, the development of substance abuse and even suicide. 

It only makes sense to turn control of Crosswinds to the Perpich Center that will preserve the programs and environment initiated at Crosswinds, and that has successfully served both urban and suburban students from throughout the Twin Cities for 15 years.

Dee Lindblom

Founder of the Faith-Based Health and Wellness Network

Cottage Grove

Lock closures wouldn't help river below

Twin Cities

Friends of Pool 2 adamantly opposes the closing of any Corps of Engineers locks on the Mississippi River within the city of Minneapolis. We oppose this flawed strategy not because it may only help protect some northern Minnesota waters from Asian carp, but because it does absolutely nothing to protect the southern half of the state. It does nothing to protect the Mississippi River below the Twin Cities, nothing to protect the St. Croix or the Minnesota rivers, and nothing to protect the thousands of lakes and streams within these watersheds.

Pool 2 of the Mississippi River has been referred to numerous times by the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources as "the most productive walleye fishery in Minnesota." The St. Croix River enjoys National Scenic Waterway status, while also being one of the most active recreational boating and fishing locations in the upper Midwest, and the Minnesota River has recently garnered much press for its dramatic environmental comeback. We feel it would be a grave mistake not to respect these important waterways with a similar effort to that being given to Minnesota's "up north" waters. It is the type of mistake that if discovered too late will be irreversible.

Closing the locks in Minneapolis may provide temporary protection for the Mille Lacs Lake and Brainerd Lakes areas, and it may be perceived as a positive action by some politicians or governmental agencies. However, promoting this action as a step forward in the battle against invasive species is simply not true.

Kevin ChapdeLaine

Newport

ChapdeLaine, the former Newport mayor, is president of Friends of Pool 2

Preserving Crosswinds is right decision

for students

The Feb. 27 article, "District's pursuit of Crosswinds picks up," misrepresents Perpich arts high school. This is not a west-metro school; rather it is an arts school which serves the entire state of Minnesota. The mission of Perpich is to "strengthen the arts education community, and improve access to high quality arts experiences to students statewide."

My son, who is from Stillwater, is a senior at Perpich and he has classmates from Cottage Grove, Burnsville, Minneapolis and Grand Marais, to name a few cities. The East Metro Integration District Board asked Perpich to consider taking over governance of Crosswinds. Perpich agreed because running Crosswinds is in keeping with their mission.

Crosswinds was established to provide an integrated learning environment bringing together a racially diverse student body from urban and suburban communities. At the foundation of the curriculum is an arts and science magnet program which fosters development of creativity, exploration and critical thinking. Under Perpich leadership, this school of choice will continue to be available for students from multiple districts. If the Perpich proposal is not approved, the school will close. The idea that under Perpich leadership Crosswinds would attract hundreds of students from area districts is flawed for two reasons:

n Crosswinds currently has 350 students and at capacity it can hold no more than 600 students. It simply does not have room for hundreds of students from any one district.

n Crosswinds is appropriate for a small number of students, many of whom did not find a home in a traditional school setting. Without Crosswinds these students will seek other opportunities such as charter schools, open enrollment to other magnet schools or home schooling. Opponents of the bill raise concerns that Perpich's proposal relies on state integration funding. All schools will be affected by what the Legislature does with integration funds, so this is not a unique issue for Crosswinds. The bill is assigned to be heard in the Senate Education Committee, and it needs to be put on the agenda right away. Preserving Crosswinds is the right decision for students in the East Metro Area and throughout the State of Minnesota.

Susan Larson

Oak Park Heights

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