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Your letters - Dec. 18 edition

Wadena dodged a bomb with train derailment

Wadena dodged a bullet. Wait! I really mean we dodged a "bomb" when the BNSF train derailed just west of town last week. Fortunately, the rail cars were mostly empty and the train wasn't one of those rolling pipelines that have become so frequent lately. With train traffic doubling on the main line that runs through this area, a wreck was bound to happen.

I know the BNSF section crews and inspectors are working every day to prevent accidents but the sheer volume of railcars is putting a huge strain on the tracks. And most of the increase is attributed to oil flowing from Bakken field. We all know the positive impact this new domestic production is having - no one I know is complaining about gas below $2.50 a gallon. And we know the oil won't stop flowing. Is there a better way to move it from the rigs to the refineries?

Maybe a pipeline is a better option. The Keystone pipeline was recently defeated in Congress, with both Senator Klobuchar and Senator Franken voting against. Everyone along the BNSF line needs that pipeline. The risks involved with above ground transit (predominantly rail and some semi-trucks) is far greater than the below ground option. It's a given that both have the potential to cause environmental damage should a spill or leak occur. But rail transport presents the clear danger of a derailment and an explosion. And because the track is positioned right in the middle of our communities, an explosion could have grave consequences. Pipelines are typically routed away from population centers making them less hazardous to people. Why is it that an underground pipeline permit requires years and years of review but there are no similar protocols for a pipeline on wheels? In addition, all of those oil trains are having a detrimental impact on our farmers as well. Many elevators in northern Minnesota and North Dakota have had a difficult time getting rail cars to haul grain to market. Those delays factor into the "basis" deduction paid to the farmer. The basis discount right now is over $1 per bushel of corn in North Dakota. Commodity prices have dropped significantly in the past year and the basis deduction is knocking producer payments even lower. Please call your congressman, and especially Senators Klobuchar and Franken, to urge their support for the Keystone pipeline. Building the pipeline, which strengthens the energy infrastructure in our country, is good for construction jobs, is better for our ag producers, and most importantly, protects the safety of the citizens who live and work along the tracks.

Dan Sartell


The lights in BN Park delight

I would just like to say how much I like the Christmas lights and Nativity scene in Wadena's BN Park.

Kim Juers


Be proud of wellness center, Mayor Wolden

Thank you for your kind invitation to attend the opening of the Maslowski Wellness and Research Center. I am sorry I could not join you in person, but I send my very best wishes to all of you.

When I visited Wadena after the tornado hit, Mayor Wolden spoke of your community's resilience, self-reliance and commitment to restoring Wadena to better than it was pre-disaster. Your actions have shown the truth in these words, as this project would not have been possible without the work of community members and civic leaders, like you. Although the 2010 event was a disaster, Wadena pulled together, flourished beyond expectations, and the grand opening is just one example of your remarkable dedication to your community.

I would like to especially thank Mayor Wolden for his outstanding leadership and strength in rebuilding Wadena. While working tirelessly to restore critical infrastructure and public buildings immediately after the tornado, he then led the charge to secure state funding for this beautiful building. Throughout his service to the community, Mayor Wolden has been a pillar of strength for many and a shining example of why I'm proud of minnesotans. As Wayne's time as Mayor comes to an end, I am sure that he will be remembered for his ability to not only unite a community, despite tragic destruction, but also his commitment to Wadena and the people he served.

I am thrilled that we can see this community's efforts come to fruition and I would like to congratulate all of you who made it possible.

Al Franken

United States Senator

Thank you Empty Stocking volunteers

Thank you to the volunteers who so generously shared their time and their talents for the 2014 Empty Stocking talent program. The program was a success due to your support. We are very fortunate to have so many talented individuals in our community. Thank you!

Diane Peters

Talent Coordinator

Thank you radiothon volunteers

On behalf of KIKV FM, COOL 94.3 and Prevent Child Abuse Minnesota, we wish to thank all the contributors during the recent radiothon that was aired on KIKV FM and COOL 94.3.

We would like to thank all the volunteers from Douglas, Grant, Pope, Stevens and Todd Counties, the people who pledged, those who donated auction items and a special thank you to County Market for allowing us to hold the event at their store. We would also like to thank All State Wireless and Centurylink for providing the phone lines and 800 number. And thanks to American Solutions for Business for their help with the online auction bidding, along with Arrowwood and Rudy's Redeye Grill for providing incentives to callers for pledging.

Over $46,000 was raised in this area with the statewide total being $180,000.

Your generosity helps in the education of parents, teachers and anyone who comes in contact with children. Through education, we hope to put an end to child abuse and neglect.

Thank you again for your generosity and we'' see you next year.

Dave Vagle

General Manager, KIKV/COOL 94.3

Wadena has reason to celebrate wellness center

Thank you for inviting me to join you for the grand opening of the Maslowski Wellness and Research Center. Though my schedule prevented me from joining you in person, I would like to take this opportunity to congratulate all the city and community leaders who made the grand opening possible.

The tornadoes that tore through our state in 2010 took so much from us. Here in Wadena the tornado took homes, it took businesses, it took the hockey rink and it took the walls off of the school. But here's what it didn't take: this city's spirit. It didn't take away your resilience or your resolve to rebuild - which is well represented in this building that will serve as a community gathering place for years to come.

One memory I will always keep with me is that of walking around with Mayor Wolden and Sheriff Carr after the tornado hit and seeing folks come up to hug them and thank them for their leadership. Some of these people had just lost everything and yet they weren't angry, Yes, they were devastated and grieving - and rightfully so - but they were also hopeful and determined to move forward. And that's why we can celebrate the community's successful drive to move forward and to rebuild. What we've seen in Wadena has been an amazing show of solidarity. That's why I'm proud to congratulate you on celebrating this grand opening.

I am honored to serve as your Senator in Washington, DC, and I wish Wadena continued success. Thank you again for the invitation to the special event.

Amy Klobuchar

United States Senator

New BN Park decorations appreciated

We have been enjoying the new archway decorations in the Burlington Northern Park. We appreciate that the City still acknowledges the true meaning of Christmas. it is a blessing to live in an area that we are not ashamed or afraid to say Merry Christmas and to have it be more than empty words, but on display!

Gwen Anderson, Vickie Bruininga, Gladys Finck, Elaine Horschel, Yvonne McKellep, Sue Morin, Vickie Nelson, Diane Shingledecker, Janet Soper and Sarah Steinkopf


Frustrated with Empty Stocking program

The Empty Stocking Fund is a very worthwhile program but there is a problem with how they collect donations. The morning after the Empty Stocking Fund Talent Program at WDC Middle/High School I went to a bank, a radio station and the Wadena Pioneer Journal before someone would accept my donation. The economy in the Wadena area must be doing very well when it is hard to give away money at Christmas time. I know the Salvation Army is always willing to accept donations.

Jim TeVogt