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Voice of our Readers March 30, 2023

H-BC Teacher: 'I encourage your to vote April 11'
To the Editor:
I often feel like I’ve hit the jackpot in my job teaching kindergarten at Hills-Beaver Creek Elementary School!  We were named a U.S. Department of Education Blue Ribbon School in 2019.  We’ve got a great staff, working together like clockwork to educate our students.  We’ve got an acclaimed administrator who leads us to keep moving forward for the sake of our students’ education.  Our small size makes it easy to build relationships with our students and families that are second to none.
In our school building, however, we are lacking.
Sure, walking through the hallways of H-BC elementary, you’d see a well-kept school with clean floors, freshly painted walls, even new(ish) carpet.  Our custodial and grounds staff have always done a fantastic job.  You likely won’t even hear a complaint from anyone on our staff, as we focus on the positive and always try to put our best foot forward. ...
But what you might not see walking through the facility is a barrage of shortcomings that do not match up with the high standards to which our school holds itself.
I can speak specifically of my kindergarten classroom, which this year serves 16 students (currently the smallest class in the school).  We have fewer than 700 square feet; no space to set up the learning centers or play centers that a kindergarten classroom should be based on.  I gave up having my own teacher’s desk so I could set up a reading corner for my students.  Next year I will welcome a class size in the mid-20s, and somehow find space for them and their belongings.
The aged heating and cooling system in our school is beyond repair, literally.  My room will generally be 80 degrees or warmer in the middle of the winter, unless I open a window.  This is without the blower unit on the heat vent even turned on – just heat that radiates into the classroom from the boiler down below.  The window and the window air conditioner are the only way I have to control the temperature in my classroom.  Don’t tell the person paying the electric bill, but I’ve been known to turn on the AC on a 50-degree day just to keep my little people awake.
But even the AC poses a problem. You see, when I switch it on, it often trips a breaker, powering down my smart board. Other days I’ll be running the AC and I'll go to sharpen a pencil ... power outage again. “Just sit tight 5-year-olds, while I call the custodian to flip that back on for us, then we can continue with our lesson.”
The need for a new facility is apparent!
The community has spoken through surveys that they prefer the new school to be built in Beaver Creek. Let’s unite!  Let’s work together as a staff and a community to uphold our tradition of excellence in all areas of our school, including the school building itself.
I encourage you to vote on April 11 to build a new elementary school in Beaver Creek.
Haley Tollefson,
Jarchow: 'Please, help protect our children'
To the Editor:
To begin with, I have many times thought how thankful we should be for our local Chamber and all they do to promote our town and help organize the many activities in our community. I commend them for being proactive in planning special events for children/youth for St. Patrick’s Day as well as Easter with the long, snow-impacted spring.
For St. Patrick’s Day they assembled enough treats for children kindergarten through 12th grade. When my children came home with their treat of Skittles from the Chamber, they also had a coupon donated by Take 16 for a free draft root beer. Am I the only one having trouble with this? I can think of better options than having families enter a brewery with their children to redeem the offer. There are several family-friendly retailers who offer fun beverages, such as Wildflowers, The Bean, and Firefly, just to name a couple.
I’ve read articles where breweries are focused on promoting their locations as family-friendly and parents can enjoy their “adult” beverages and bring their children. I’ve seen the family reading nights and Father’s Day promotions inviting parents and children. One parent in an article even said he wants his children to be comfortable around alcohol.
Why are we trying to desensitize our children to an alcohol atmosphere? Would we be okay with the local liquor store or Herb N’ Legend providing coupons for some child-appropriate item and inviting families into their establishment?
Kids are starting to drink earlier and at younger ages, and it’s no wonder why. When we normalize alcohol consumption and have it present at every family-friendly community event or even children/youth events, the message we are sending is that it is a normal part of everyday life.
What we aren’t saying, but should, is that alcohol is a drug that is mind-altering and addictive and many people unintentionally become addicted to it.
I am concerned about the lackadaisical attitude we have around alcohol and how it is impacting our children today and what that will look like in the future.
Please, help protect our children and give them a safe, substance-free environment to grow up in. 
Wanda Jarchow,
Lanphere apologizes for lapse in judgment over St. Patrick's gift
To the Editor:
I would like to personally apologize for my lapse in judgment and thought in my actions as director of the Luverne Chamber. I take full responsibility for coordinating the efforts to provide all children in our schools with a small gift in celebration of St. Patrick’s Day.
When the opportunity arose to include a gift card for a free root beer at Take 16, I did not take into account the issues with alcohol and abuse that some families struggle with. I deeply regret that didn’t cross my mind when we put together the bags to hand out to the children in this community.
Hindsight doesn’t matter when you make a mistake like I did. You can only move on and pledge to take into account all aspects of decision-making in the future. I hope that you forgive me and that the decision that I made doesn’t reflect on what the Luverne Area Chamber and its members do to support community. 
With deepest regrets,
Jane Lanphere

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