Mayor unresponsive to question

To the Editor:

Yesterday, a friend invited me to a morning meeting at Little Falls Senior Center, and I accepted.

First, let me say that I had no idea what took place at Senior Center meetings, but I imagined grey-haired people, sipping coffee and having heated discussions about ham bingo. Imagine my surprise when I walked in and saw Mayor VanRisseghem presenting.

Among the items discussed was the splash pad. Since I hadn’t paid attention to what was going on with the splash pad, I raised my hand with one question: “With the majority of our population being aging seniors, what will the repercussions to the community be if the splash pad doesn’t attract the volume of people or projected revenue?”I thought it was a reasonable question, but the mayor seemed hostile, then she said that she believed in a positive approach. I agreed that positivity was great, but pointed out that she hadn’t answered my question — a question VanRisseghem never answered.

Government has a responsibility to be honest about all liability associated with any project undertaken on the behalf of a community. If answering such a perfunctory economic question seems like persecution to the mayor. perhaps public office isn’t befitting. — Jody Scott Olson, Little Falls

  • robin hensel

    Now who could disagree with this. Fact is that there were a number of people in the audience who asked questions of the mayor that she was very uncomfortable answering and showed the same hostility. Especially for the questioners who asked her why in the world she wouldn’t have agreed with the small donation to help fund decent bathrooms at the closest swimming beach frequented by many Little Falls citizens all summer long. She clearly does not deal well with differing viewpoints and direct questions on her decisions.

  • Rick Witte

    Jody interesting that you start out by insulting and stereotyping Seniors and then finish by insulting the intelligence of Record readers.

    Why would you be surprised that the Mayour was there when that was the very reason you and your cohorts accepted the invitation! Lets be real here you and your cohorts planned on the takeover of the meeting and it seems you succeeded in frustrating the Mayour.

    • tmac

      “Jody interesting that you start out by insulting and stereotyping Seniors …”
      Funny, that is the same thought I had.

    • Jody Scott Olson

      Ha! Nice try but the realtor was showing the house that morning and gave little forewarning . No planned conspiracy involved, otherwise I would have stayed in my pajamas. I was merely finding a place to plant myself until the showing was over and I assumed the senior center meeting came with coffee. It was nothing as contrived, or planned or even thought out…I bumbled in late, and at the last minute.

      Which makes your assertion of a planned siege and the Mayors’, seem paranoid.

      In terms of the question I asked, “frustrating the Mayor”! The splash pad has been discussed for a long time and I’ve paid zero attention. The people I know in the community love the idea of the splash pad. I’ve never heard any complaints, only excitement. Prior to the meeting it wasn’t even a blip on my radar. Since I’ve planned and managed projects before, I considered what the Mayor was saying, and the aging population in the community stood out in my mind as hugely problematic. I then asked, and still wonder, if the splash pads viability is rooted in bringing people in from other communities, The Mayor answered by assuring me that she was taking a positive approach. She said something like, Well , Jody, I believe in positivity!
      Forget commonsense and responsible planning… jump on the Good Ship Lollypop. If the Mayor sends the Good Ship careening into an iceberg I’m not sure how useful “good vibes” or “feng shui” will hold up against the hard reality of poor planning slamming headlong into the ice cold wall of budget shortfall reality. To me positivity as an answer to my question was so unexpectedly inept that it frightened me. Whose captaining this ship and what’s her capacity to steer? Its great to want nice things and recreation, who doesn’t but first and foremost you have to plan and be able to afford them. Not purchase them and hope for a happy accident.

      Beyond that, my question to the Mayor was so RIDICULOUSLY BASIC that I assumed it had been asked and answered a dozen times. To assert that this was a “planned takeover” indicates that I somehow knew in advance that the Mayor would have NO answer for a very elementary question. My error wasn’t in asking, it was in incorrectly attributing a level of responsible leadership and thoroughness in project planning to VanRisseghem, that turned out to be starkly unearned. Even if I had NEVER asked, the Mayor had a responsibility to analyze the potential risks and discuss them on the campaign trail while out peddling her project to the public.

      As far as your “cohort” assertion. I’m over the age of 50. In my life I’ve managed to form my own thoughts an opinions years before moving here. You and the Mayor smearing other community members because I asked a valid question is irresponsible and dysfunctional. My actions are exclusively mine. Second, this blame game is used to deflect attention from very glaring governance issues…maybe nobody notice how enormously bad the Mayor and some council conduct business if they keep shouting “Nothing here to see! LOOK AT ROBIN!!” But the fact is, the game is getting old and more and more people are catching on. Beyond that, I organized political campaigns, demonstrations and protests decades before Robin Hensel ever even thought about planting her first protest sign.
      As far as the stereotype, it was included in jest to illustrate a point. I considered taking it out but I thought I’d throw ya’ll something to pounce on…you’re so predictable.

      • Jeff

        Nice try at backtracking your words Jody! You always have a way of discrediting, or insulting certain groups (elderly, retired, disabled) and then innocently side stepping the true meaning of your hurtful words! Words hurt Jody! The elderly community should ban you from their facility for such words!!

        • robin hensel

          Jeff…..here you go again suggesting that someone who asks the mayor an onpoint question should be BANNED from a city government owned and financed senior center meeting. That is outlandish and would be illegal. The senior organization gets in excess of 12K per year from the city of little falls….also gets a substantial amount from morrison county tax money as well as little falls and green prairie townships. The mayors positivity response is rooted in her JOYCE MEYER name it, claim it faith(word/rhema)teaching belief. On her facebook page some time ago she posted she was an admirer of hers. This particular non denomination as well as dominionism has dangerous philosophies which i documented in my viewpoint article on mcrecord titled “modern christianity has lost its way”. The readers should all be concerned that city elected council members as well as the mayor either dodge relevant questions or react with hostility because they wish to operate in the dark so the public has no clue as to reality spending their money. Soon everyone will know, based on their own sworn testimony, just how inept and unqualified their leadership is.

          • Jeff

            Third time I have responded to this? Hopefully this one gets posted? I am not in disagreement with asking the Mayor critical, tough questions. What I am against is a certain someone who thinks she can belittle certain groups with her sarcasm (she is very good at it)
            Keep em’ Honest Robin! Go For It!

          • robin hensel

            Jeff….thanks for the encouragement. I intend to hold the councils feet to the fire in the future….it is my civic duty.

          • Rick Witte

            Robin, are you attempting to inform me that the Mayour may have some
            religious beliefs which fall away from the norm? Are you attempting to
            make religious beliefs, whatever hers may be, and issue in the coming
            circus season?

            As you seem to be a ardent proponent of
            Constitutional Rights why do you make one of the 1st Amendment freedoms a
            issue. Why would you wish to bring the matter of religion or personal
            beliefs into the matter.

            I really have not idea what the Mayour’s
            religious or other beliefs may by, but I find it quite contradictory for
            you to rail on the abridgement of your rights but then tramp on others.

          • robin hensel

            Jeff…I am not tramping on anybody’s rights…Constitutional or other, and never have. I simply make the point that her religious leanings of extreme positivity are likely rooted in her admiration for the word/rhema teachings, which include never speaking of anything that isn’t rooted in positivity. Read up so you know what I am referencing. And by the way, I am not railing either. Cathy VanRisseghem’s spiritual values is not my interest during the upcoming election campaign. Hers and other council members voting records, disrespect/disregard for the public(myself included) and their general lack of qualifications to hold public office. Not one of the council members when questioned about the rules they are to follow could answer that they had knowledge of their own policies and ordinances on meetings. They are also incompetent when it comes to the MN data practices act and the open meetings laws, and so are a number in the office staff. This is a disgrace to any community, especially the one I reside in. This election season will only be a circus, because of the clowns now in office.

          • Rick Witte

            Robin, are you addressing me or Jeff. Your header implies me, but you start with Jeff. Is there a reason for that.

            As far as pointing out whether or not you are questioning her beliefs it seems you went a bit further in giving the impression that her beliefs were to be questioned since you went further by implication by pointing out some “dangerous philosophies. Are people with a positive outlook on life dangerous? Seems from reading what you wrote you were attempting to leave an impression.

            Not sure you understand or comprehend the rules either. Seems one of the posts on your blowback blog, stating the rules for meeting, are not related to the point you were trying to make. Your posted rules apply to debate of motions, which the public forum portion of the meeting are not. You were not making or debating a motion, but rather using the time to bring a point to the Council. While civility would guide even that portion of the meeting civility is a two way street.

      • Rick Witte

        The point I made, Jody, was that although you feint surprise at finding the Mayour at the Senior Center I find it unimaginable that you were not aware of that fact prior to accepting your friends invitation of join her in her crusade. What foisted you out of your house is of no real importance.

        I have no idea what the Mayour’s assertion might be as I have not spoken to her in about 10 hears. Perhaps you could enlighten me as to what her assertion might be. You seem to have very thin skin in presenting my commentary as a smear Jody. You did stereotype the Seniors of the Community as if all they had on their mind was the last ham bingo game and who won too many times. It is a good thing they have you around to help they through their days. I dont call that a smear. Nor do I find your insulting the intelligence of the Community in your assertion of being surprised. And to think you tell me you did all this on purpose. First you tell me that they are economically disadvantaged and then go on to assert that they are unintelligent besides. Yes, they should be glad to have you looking out and thinking for them.

      • Rick Witte

        The point I made, Jody, was that although you feign surprise at
        finding the Mayour at the Senior Center I find it unimaginable that you
        were not aware of that fact prior to accepting your friends invitation
        of join her in her crusade. What foisted you out of your house is of no
        real importance.

        I have no idea what the Mayour’s assertion might
        be as I have not spoken to her in about 10 years. Perhaps you could
        enlighten me as to what her assertion might be. You seem to have very
        thin skin in presenting my commentary as a smear Jody. You did
        stereotype the Seniors of the Community as if all they had on their mind
        was the last ham bingo game and who won too many times. It is a good
        thing they have you around to help them through their days. I dont call
        that a smear. Nor do I find your insulting the intelligence of the
        Community in your assertion of being surprised. And to think you tell
        me you did all this on purpose. First you tell me that they are
        economically disadvantaged and then go on to assert that they are
        unintelligent besides. Yes, they should be glad to have you looking out
        and thinking for them.

    • robin hensel

      Tmac….unless you were there…your vision of this and ALL other meetings is clouded, at best. Soon many of my videos of meetings will be uploaded to mcblowback.com for all to see. Fact is there is much to be desired in local leadership. People dont care enough to get off their duffs and get to the meetings. It is much easier to hide behind a computer screen and blindly defend poor leadership. I can and WILL be pointing illegal financial dealings. This should trouble EVERYONE. For instance…did you know it is ILLEGAL for city boards or committees to fundraise? That is the opinion of the state auditor and attorney general. Did you know city committees have been doing this for YEARS now in my quaint little river town. Toni wetzel city atty has just written dan vogt city administrator that in her opinion that she “would prefer it if the city had minimal to NO INVOLVEMENT in this anymore.”( she is speaking of the SISTER CITY committee). A memo was sent to all department heads and committee chairs on 4-16-14 from dan vogt city admin and lori kasella finance officer that says: “In oct-nov 2013 discussion was held with the league if mn cities(league) and the city atty regarding the ability of the city or city committees to fundraise and/or solicit donations. The city has been advised by the league AND the city atty that there is NO PROVISION IN STATE STATUTE THAT ALLOWS FUNDRAISING BY LOCAL UNITS OF GOVERNMENT INCLUDING THE CITY ITSELF OR CITY COMMITTEES.” But a number of committees of the city have been doing just that ! ! ! When the mayor promotes and suggests how people can donate for her pet projects she is violating the law. Her official city committee Youth Task Force has been illegally fundraising for approx 4 years now. Same for sister city and likely the Golf Advisory board too. Toni wetzel AND dan vogt should be fired for not identifying these illegalities a long time ago. Theresa skorseth and i pointed out more than a year ago that there was no public purpose/benefit to the sister city group funding. Dan vogt told myself and melissa peterson president of the sister city committee that he would suggest city council defund the program at end of 2013 but changed his mind because the council voted to keep funding it. Dumb move on his and toni wetzels part as their will likely be taxpayer LAWSUITS now. And there SHOULD BE when there is misuse of PUBLIC FUNDS. Go to the city of little falls website and click meeting minutes then click on the council packet for 4-21-14 and you will find everything i have identified and more. If u wish to be thorough as i have been go to the “League of mn cities information memo public purpose expenditures”

      • tmac

        Jeez, all I said was that I agreed with Jeff about insulting and stereotyping seniors.

    • madma

      I worked for years in senior housing and as a social worker in senior assistant programs, I did not take what Jody said as insult or stereotyping. The seniors sit around and laugh at those same comments among themselves. it seems to me, you are trying to take the focus off the real issues/problems being discussed, Namely our elected officials do not represent or answer to us anymore and people like you with your distractions only make changing anything for the better, much more difficult for people like Jody and Robin who have the courage to stand up and fight to make things better.

      • Rick Witte

        I also know Seniors who find the stereotyping comical, but they laugh at those making the comments not the comments themselves.

        The real issues facing the Community will come to the forefront in time, and I would imagine that come November the electorate of the Community will make their decision. The decision will be made by looking at arguments from all sides and not merely what Robin and Jody wish to present.

        Excuse me madma but I dont see my commentary as distracting at all. I didnt force Jody to write what she did. Things being better is a matter of opinion and I really have little real idea of what Robins vision of a new and improve Little Falls would be. From her writings and commentary I am not sure it is a Community I would wish to live in. Lets see, from the coming Circus Season, what her vision is; exactly!

        • madma

          “I did not force Jody to write what she did”. So you have no responsibiliy in what you said because Jody made you say it? And you are still not commenting on the issues. Instead you decided to judge what she was saying, And then you go on to say the community will look at issues from all sides and yet it appears from what you say, they have no right to their side without you belittling them and calling them names. It appears you do not want the public to know the other side at all.

          • Rick Witte

            Not sure where you get the idea that I have no responsibility for what I write, and Jody made me say noting. As far as issues I happen to have the opinion, if that is OK with you, of course, that the deceptive prefatory commentary of Jody is an issue. Perhaps not for you, but perhaps for others. I am after all entitled to my opinion am I not?

            Of course they have the right to state their opinion on matters, where did I imply they did not. Perhaps you are of the opinion that presentation of contrary commentary on tactics and style are not to be allowed. I then, perhaps, will not bow to your wishes. I have neither belittled them or called them names, while I might have a few thoughts on the subject I have left them on the editing floor. I have of course stated that I find, this letter in particular misleading and deceptive as far as the prefatory intro goes. That is my opinion, like it or not, and I stick with it. The evidence is presented by Robin and Jody themselves. After reading it all it is quite difficult to believe they were unaware the Mayour would be there and were not prepared for that meeting.

            The Community will look and both sides of the matter. What makes you feel I am not wanting of that. Is it your opinion that they should just listen to Jody and Robin and no other? I have no way of stopping the residents of Little Falls from hearing both sides. Is it your contention that they should listen to Robin and Jody, take it on face value, and look no further?

      • Rick Witte

        In addition, madma, you seem to overlook, what I would term and deception, Jody’s claim of her surprise at the presence of the Mayour. From my initial reading, and reading or the commentary, I find it difficult to imagine that Jody did not go to the meeting fully aware and prepared for the Mayours presence.

        Is that the plan of Jody and Robin for the Community? Replacing what they term as a non transparent and unresponsive City Government with their brand of deceptive practices? After all that is what Jody and done; deceiving the readers by feigning surprise.

        Is that the better community you are selling?

        • madma

          So with no evidence, you are calling Jody a liar and wasting more time distracting from the issues,

          • robin hensel

            Madma…you are correct…none of the people making comments here are privy to who i invite to coffee and where. They are all diverting from the real focus cuz they know darn well Jody is capable of much. Hey madma…how about coffee soon and i know just the place.

        • Jody Scott Olson

          People show up to call out elected officials everyday. If that was my intent I would have said so. Furthermore, when I attend “fully prepared” as you suggest, I already know the answers to the questions.

          And absolutely I’ve done that! Show up at an agriculture round table meeting at the U of M where some technology is being touted and sold to the heavy hitter consumers groups…just to raise my hand and ask the presenter who provided major funding to his dept. Whether or not he owns shares of its stock. Exposing material shortfalls of the technology. The key factor is that when that’s your intent. You already know the answers to the questions and you’re entire purpose is to make damn sure that before you leave, the whole room does too. You don’t wander in half awake, late and not know the answers. When and if I ever show up for the reasons you’re suggesting, it won’t be too shy to say so and it won’t include simple questions that I don’t already know the answers to…and you won’t speculate as to my intent. I’ll issue a flipping press release.

          Mayor VanRisseghem doesn’t have enough political weight to cause me to climb out of bed. And I didn’t say she was “unresponsive” the paper coined that headline. I said that her response to my question regarding economic consequences was “positivity”. I’ve talked to a lot of politician. VanRisseghem’s answer ranks as the stupidest economic reply I’ve ever heard. She’s a bad Mayor. She’s an even worse leader. She won’t win re election. And for the time being she should go home and stand in the mirror and practice saying, “I don’t know the answer to that question but I can find out!”

          My intent is an informed electorate. Seems that’s got your undies in a bunch:)

      • robin hensel

        Madma…..i thank you for recognizing some who are attempting REAL CHANGE of community norms and elected officials failings. The first step in doing that is making the public aware of the problems. U might want to follow MCBLOWBACK.com.

        • madma

          Since we are no longer the land of the brave and only the land of the scared, you really can’t expect people to want to know the truth. Most people live in so much fear, they can’t handle the truth. And when people like you and Jody try to fill them in, they have to attack you. You have a ton of courage Robin. Unlike so many other Americans.

          • Jody Scott Olson

            And I have to hand a chunk of the blame to the news media. I worked for them and they’ve done so much filtering of the news. Like writing a story so it sounds like a civil conversation when in fact the elected official is shouting at and yelling over community members. Or calling an FBI shutdown an “acquisition”. When the truth does finally surface its upsetting, it doesn’t seem credible because its such an abrupt and stark contrast to what they’ve been told.

          • madma

            I realize the media is horrible, but if people would just think. It is owned by a very few people and the talking heads are all paid millions of dollars. Why would anyone believe what they say? People have to be experiencing situations and then seeing that the media does not report the truth, so why not turn it off and listen to people who are willing to be informed? l learned this lesson when the Clinton impeachment was happening and I listened live. then my husband turned on the nightly news and that was not what happened. So we have not had TV news since then. You can learn a great deal by reading and I know it is hard, because who do you believe? I have had a number of people tell me, they do not want to know the truth.

          • tlehrke

            Approved

  • LF Taxpayer

    Is it any wonder the way Jody and Robin harass city government that they may at times be “unresponsive?” If you don’t like the way things are going maybe you should put up or shut up and run for..”…… Oh, wait forget it.

    • robin hensel

      LF Taxpayer…..you can be assured of one thing…..I will run for office again.

    • Jody Scott Olson

      You are mistaken she wasn’t unresponsive. When asked what the consequence would be she said something like, well Jody I believe in a positivity!

      Had she been unresponsive it would have instilled more confidence.

  • Jeff

    Sipping coffee and having heated discussion about ham bingo! Really Jody? At one point and time I was going to apologize for the verbal punishment I had/have bestowed upon you! Glad I didn’t after these latest insults to our elderly population.

    • Jody Scott Olson

      Pshh! Who put together the prescription plan for Morrison County so for the last 7 years seniors get a price break on prescriptions when they hit the coverage doughnut hole or don’t have insurance? Who trucked thousands of dollars in coats, clothing, bedding and blankets and dropped them off for our poorest, neediest seniors…for free? Who went to the Dept of Health to demand a local nursing home be brought into compliance for health and safety violations?

      Nice try at making me the issue rather than the ill prepared Mayor.

      Fact is that the question I asked she should have known the answer to inside and out prior to peddling a splash pad to the community. Ask the city of Blaine about the massive soccer complex built on city tax dollars. Unless of course the corn is talking VanRissegham whispering…if you build it they will come, even then corn is only marginally reliable.

      Words hurt? Buck up powder puff. Try reading your way through council depositions.

      • Jeff

        My goodness Jody!! Don’t break your arm patting yourself on the back……. (The greatest volunteers and humanitarians are humble people, never bragging or using their works to inflate or defend one self!) The question you asked the mayor has nothing to do with the issue at hand!! The problem is with your ignorant and crude use of words trying to get your sarcastic point across!! The problem lies squarely on your shoulders! Something to think about as you sip your morning cup of coffee and ponder what group you can attack next!!

        • Jody Scott Olson

          Brag? That wasn’t bragging. Did I mention I was written about in the New York Times, Washington post, made state and national news for my work as a community organizer? Now, I’m bragging.

          And I don’t have to ponder the next group, I have a list. Its prioritized. Kinda like Santa Claus who’s naughty and who’s nice, who steals funding from poor people, who does illegal fundraising.. like that. I just really despise the old mantra “the rules don’t apply to us because we’re a small town”, its 2014 and that adage needs to never be uttered again by a board member or an elected official.

          Organizational funding is in the works and then sh*t will hit the fan. If we get enough funding you can expect a field canvas to knock on doors, and lit drop. Mayor VanRisseghem and her corporate welfare doling cohorts better get used to answering questions because the one I asked at the senior center, is going to seem like a cakewalk.

          Corruption is this community’s invention and intention and poverty is its bastard.

          • Jeff

            Jody i just discovered your condition, GET PROFESSIONAL HELP!!
            Narcissistic personality disorder – Wikipedia, the free …Narcissistic personality disorder (NPD) is a personality disorder in which a person is excessively preoccupied with personal adequacy, power, prestige and …

          • Jody Scott Olson

            I was driving and Robin called to read this to me! I’ve laughed about it all afternoon and here’s why: Because people who have a deep need for ADMIRATION and PRESTIGE are for sure the ones who are the most apt to befriend Robin Hensel at the peak of public disapproval, right?

            Bahaha!

            Yes, that is sarcasm in case you were having trouble keeping up powder puff;

        • robin hensel

          Jeff…..just an FYI….some of the mtgs i have attended that are non profits i was invited to attend by concerned members to witness what is going on within those organizations. I am thorough and people are waking up to the fact that plenty is AWRY roun heaaaa ! ! !

  • Jody Scott Olson

    I didn’t write the headline and its inaccurate, my letter doesn’t say the Mayor was unresponsive.

    • robin hensel

      The newspaper usually picks the title and that can distort the intent if message. Maybe the mcrecord needs new staff.

  • Erik Warner

    Perhaps an innocent question, but…..is the intended purpose of the splash pad to raise revenue? Granted, I’m not a huge supporter of the splash pad, especially at its given location, but I’ve never seen it as a revenue positive proposal. I see it more as a community “good” that might cost us money but might end up serving the purpose of providing a community “service”; a place for members of the community to gather and mingle.

    • Jody Scott Olson

      I made the same assumption until the Mayor talked about people using the splash pad and then having lunch and doing some shopping while they were here. She tied it in with economic development. Then she mentioned that people currently commute here for employment but elect not to live here so the city needed more to offer to attract residents and she thought the splash pad figured into that equation. I thought, wait? Does this project need those things to happen in order for this to be sustainable? Is the city relying on outsiders moving here? Will this project require visitors from other communities because our community is primarily aging seniors? If so what are the repercussions if any, if the splash pad primarily serves our aging community? But yes, I made the same assumption as you until the meeting at the senior center.

      To date the only reply I got was, “Well Jody I believe in positivity!’ When I redirected the question she still sidestepped answering by focusing on having a positive attitude. So it wasn’t that she didn’t respond, it was that her answer absurd.

      And then blaming Robin Hensel and Brian Crowder was even more left field. Essentially, I ask a sound question, she gives me a ridiculous answer and instead of her absurd answer being the focus, she blames Robin and Brian? To this date, I have no idea what either think about the splash pad. No kidding and I don’t even care! Furthermore, I’ve seen Brian Crowder three times in person and the total volume of our conversation would fill a grand total of 30 minutes and most of that was related to antiques! I honestly had a longer conversation with Greg Zilka!

  • Mitch Rapp

    Jody. I generally pride myself on being the dumbest person I know, but now that distinct honor has gone to you! Congratulations! Not only did you insult the intelligence of every person that reads the record, you also insulted every single senior in the known universe! Bravo Jody. Bravo.

    • robin hensel

      Mitch Rapp…..Jody hasn’t offended any seniors…I am a senior and I think you are grossly manipulating her choice of words as insulting.

      • tmac

        It is nice
        to know that you were not offended, but I do not believe you speak for all seniors.

      • Rick Witte

        Interesting logic Robin. You find no offense so therefore no Senior has been offended. Yes, interesting!

  • Jody Scott Olson

    To give credit where credit is due, with the exception of the headline, fantastic job editing!

  • Carmen

    I’m a senior citizen and I was bother by such a ridiculous question. The splash pad is meant to be a place where young people can go to have wholesome fun. It is not a matter of money. Any money spend on children is well spent. I would be a lot more worried about the city wasting money paving an alley that two of the three businesses affected do NOT want. Sorry, but a business that is surrounded by three streets doesn’t need an alley, in addition, that is paid by the city. That money is better spent for the Boys and Girls Club or, yes, the splash pad. I’m also bothered that our city seems to be run by the “shadow government” that thinks they (or she) speak for every one. Maybe the paper should limit comments by one person to once a month.

    • robin hensel

      Carmen…..what??? You want more free speech infringement too? Now why would ANYONE want to limit free speech in AmeriKa….perhaps you will explain.

      • Carmen

        Oh, sorry, Ms Shadow Government, did I offend you? I’m a retired attorney who believes in free speech and there was a time that I agreed with you as to the signs but have you considered letting other people have their own opinions? Since you are noticing a comment by me, let me “re-ask” a previous question that was never answered, exactly how many “minority” children have you adopted. Free speech INCLUDES ME. Perhaps you don’t see the need to provide children with wholesome entertainment but I do. Of course, I’m not psychic, but to be honest I’m still not sure whose question it was regardless of who asked it. As to my suggestion, there are at least 8,288 OTHER residents in Little Falls. I’m sure some of those would like to see their names in the Morrison County Record once in a while.

        • Jeff

          I am gonig to be negative on this subject of a splash pad… Unless this amusement park has something (majotity) for Tweens, Teens, Young Adults included to it….. The comittee, or people behind it, are really missing the mark of what this community truly needs… Maybe I am missing something? But I have not heard much if anything of what this project will do for the age group(s) that really need something to do! (The trial that riveted the nation to our small town in the past weeks should tell us all we need something in this town for young people to do!)

          • robin hensel

            Jeff….i agree with you. For real. This community is made up of mostly seniors and yet there has been absolutely NO discussion on some SENIOR equipment at the rec complex area by where the new chebet twitchell playground

          • robin hensel

            Jeff…continued from unfinished comment…sorry i pushed the post button on my phone before i was finished. Taylor chebet playground north of town …..nobody on any of the complex taskforce has suggested some senior equipment. Why not? And you are also right…why dont we have more for our teens? What would they really like? Has anyone asked them. Our community should do a survey of all students in grades 4-12 and ask them for their ideas and then let them take the lead to implement those ideas. When i was growing up my grandma allowed me to help serve the ladies aid at church and help host dignitaries at their home. Young people are not allowed or encouraged to help like that nowadays. In church most kids dont have any say in how programs for them are run or allowed to help serve luncheons and help when there is a funeral food committee….why not? Our seniors deserve more than the senior center. We need the creative …fresh ideas the youth will present. 6.7 million and MORE…is ALOT of money for a seasonal limited park. The cost will increase by way more since LFARC group wants to include 200K zoo debt…more for zoo expansion….and plenty for bike trail expansion and maybe even atv and snowmobile trail expansion.

    • robin hensel

      Carmen….it is by far just a splashpad/skatepark the mayor and her cronies want to build on the donated mndot land…..the bill is already up to over 6.7 MILLION $$$ and climbing. When they add in the trails and the zoo debt/and improvement I bet the cost will come in at between 10 and 12 MILLION. Whatever their final dollars are they intend to try to put this cost on the taxpayers by getting a referendum on the ballot this fall. If the taxpayers are dumb enough to fall for this HUGE EXPENSE…it will take decades for this amount to be paid off.
      Remember, we are a SENIOR COMMUNITY, with the majority of residents being senior citizens, and the rec complex that is proposed will only be utilized during the spring and summer months. Why would senior citizens on a fixed budget vote for such a proposal. The sales tax will require sales tax to be paid on everything taxable. My concern is that the seniors won’t be getting much for their money. And our mayor has stated that this will be an economic draw, and more people will come to live here, because of it. I don’t see why people would move here when this area doesn’t offer many jobs that pay LIVABLE WAGES.

    • Jody Scott Olson

      I think I answered this already but…once again…One would assume that the splash pad was merely intended to be a place for young people. That too was my assumption, except what raised my question at the senior center in first place was the Mayor talking about the splash pad bringing in shoppers and people who would have lunch here, she also mentioned the splash pad being an amenity that would convince those who commute here for work, to live here.

      Since I thought the splash pad was just for local fun the mayor presenting a list of POTENTIAL economic benefits was what raised my question. I thought wait, does the city need these things to happen in order to pay for its construction, operation and upkeep.

      If by “shadow government” you mean shoving local culture into the backseat by forcing local government to adhere to state and federal law, tough bounce.

      • Carmen

        I’m sure you will be able to determine what I mean by “shadow government” by my response to your pal. I don’t know if you somehow missed that there is little in Little Falls to attract people to our city. Imagine, the city government actually believed that designating Little Falls as Tree City would attract people. (FYI, I bet I have more trees in my yard that the vast majority of people who live here, plus it’s certified by the Wildlife Federation as a wildlife backyard habitat so I’m not against trees.) They would attract more people by selling Little Falls as a sustainable community (the latest fashion) but I guess my property and a few others is not enough to convince anyone. We NEED shoppers and people eating here (plus more than very few nice places to eat) if we intend to join the 20th century, oh sorry, I mean the 21st. You have to invest to bring in investments. As to culture, what culture? Let me count: the art center plus,….. Sorry can’t think of anything else. Culture doesn’t do well in isolation, if that’s what you are trying to say. As to forcing the government to follow the law, you will see by my response to your pal, that I agreed about the signs issue. My problem is one person dictating how everyone else has to think, just to see their name in the paper.That is directly related to my “re-asked” question. I have zero doubt that I have questioned laws many more times, not just local but also state and federal. I believe in the Constitution and that “thing” about government by the people for the people. But “people” in that sense means ALL the people of the USA.

  • robin hensel

    The little falls senior center of course…the “KINDNESS CAPITOL OF LITTLE FALLS” ….sarcasm intended. The group that frequents this government funded organization and its board are some of most biased intolerant folks in town. They dont follow their rules as stated in their bylaws and allow certain members to defame and lie about other members…which is forbidden in their rules book. This is a problem and has caused many honest members to leave the organization.

    • madma

      thanks… It took me a bit, but i had figured it out.

  • Carmen

    Sorry, but St Cloud and Brainerd are not all of Minnesota and who’s talking about competition. Get real, St Cloud is a place that many people from St Cloud don’t even like. Ever heard of towels. Lets get to the point, you and your pal are just in it to hear yourselves talk. No one is more disruptive in Little Falls than your friend. This town is not about the two of you. It’s about the other 8,288 plus people who live here. Fine, the city government was not implementing some rules fairly, but with the extreme self-centerness of your pal, people can’t even have garage sales without going to extremes to promote them. When I was a kid, many decades ago people had garage sales and people put up signs. The senior center that you attended had a sign letting people know about the donuts and they had to take it down. Your pal has caused more problems than she ever solved and lets be blunt, I, as well as everyone I know cringe every time we have to read an article about how disruptive she can be. I suppose you are her understudy in search for “fame”. I truly believe that the newspaper should just ignore her latest shenanigans in the hope she will fade away. Her understudy can go for the ride. I hate bullies and that’s exactly what you two are. How about doing something positive for a change? Parking a headache? Did you somehow missed ALL the free parking spots in the city? Oh, I guess you can’t walk for two minutes. Since you are so negative, I suggest you read about Hopkins, a very small town, surrounded by big cities with tons of attractions that wasn’t even in the map and a downtown falling to pieces. Compare that to the transformation that it accomplished. Oh, but why let reality get in the way of your close mindedness. There is a lot that can be done to make this into a growing community IF people don’t get in the way of change. People just have to use their brains. Note that I’m not defending city hall because I don’t think they are up to date on what Americans look for in communities. You two are still in the 1950′s at least city hall is getting to the 1980′s. I guess you don’t notice how your pal is dictating others on how to think because all the talking she does turns into a incessant noise that doesn’t allow brains to function. Do everyone a favor and take a chill pill. I’m sick and tired of wasting time trying to reason with you, so have a not so nice day. To close, I suggest you re-read all the nonsense you wrote, especially in this latest “comment”.

    • Jody Scott Olson

      I can see that you don’t have a clue. A city that passes an
      unenforceable ordnance and spends tens of thousands of dollars to
      control one peacefully protesting resident is stupid, irresponsible and
      incompetent. What would it have cost the city and this community to just
      ignore Robin’s signs? I didn’t know her back then and didn’t care about
      her signs, I thought they seemed a bit over the top…but who cares!
      Moving here I was more offended by the massive RELIGIOUS Christmas
      display on the lawn of the PUBLIC school.

      “The city wasn’t equally
      enforcing some rules?” Wake up its an epidemic. The FBI shutdown the
      credit union, school district’s tangles with office of civil rights over
      its lack of ADA implementation, nursing home abuse, illegal
      fundraising. The law firm I used has returned here to represent other
      clients. Robin’s attorney is already discussing subsequent suits as off
      shoots from Robins case. Use you so-called legal expertise.

      And
      Carmen, it’s not decades ago that people put up garage sale signs, they
      still do all over the country including very large cities. Up until we
      elected Van Risseghem and her narrow-minded, monoculture-loving pals, we
      did here too. We still could of course but city council is more
      interest in winning a p!$$ing contest with one resident…too busy
      exhibiting some vain muscle flexing exercise to prove they are all
      powerful. Which of course is false and will likely get them sued again.
      Laws don’t just give power to government they also give power to
      people, including Robin Hensel. When they city finally stop beating
      their head against the wall long enough to learn that lesson their vain
      exercise in futility will cease to exist. Robin took down her signs only
      to replace them with yard art. Now council is spending city money time
      and resource to try to figure out how to control her yard art. Of course
      they’ll likely find that they can’t ban Robin’s figures without banning
      Jesus Christ, the Virgin Mary and garden gnomes from the lawns of
      everyone else.

      But more importantly, I don’t understand the city’s
      insistence on being so colonial that we need uniformity from one yard
      to the next. I think Robin represents her own form of community
      diversity and I think its healthy for kids to grow up and see community
      member accepting lawful people in all their technicolor
      brilliance…Robin Hensel included. Peaceful protesters included.We
      preach non-bullying to our kids and then beat the tar out anyone who is
      different? The world is so littered with mainstream Americans who are so
      sucked into the next sitcom on the idiot box that we let Wall Street
      commit treason, we gave them their jobs back, we gave them bail out
      money, exempted them from paying any taxes at all for which they gave
      the American public the big F YOU by restarting the very cycle that
      cause the last cataclysmic financial disaster. All under the noses of
      American people. At least in the thirties were had the common sense to
      be outraged and demand laws! Now we coast along unengaged and the one
      person in the community who is publicly expressing her concern and
      outrage…she is community enemy number one? What message are we
      sending and what does this say to our children? Don’t be different?
      Don’t get overly vocal about politics or social issues? If government is
      corrupt Biatch at your TV set? We are a country replete with throngs of
      idiots who take no responsibility for the world around them, however
      does this community justify beating Robin up for peaceful engagement?
      Its beyond my comprehension and on a moral level it offends every fiber
      of my being.

      I would wager that if Jesus Christ came to town and
      shouted about taxes and corruption, as he did in biblical days, I have
      few doubts that this town and this council would crucify him.

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