Letters: Time to reclaim the Kinni; Suggestions for the city's 'lakes'
Public support of dam removal
TO THE EDITOR
In December 2016, the Kinni River Corridor Project started its process of community engagement and education with an open house and mapping exercise. This was followed by a series of six "Tech Talks" on topics including corridor planning, river ecology, economic and neighborhood development, hydro facilities, dam removal, and recreation, tourism and economics. The next step is a multi-day corridor planning charrette in late October.
Through this process two main points have become overwhelmingly evident: The first is that dams are a detriment to rivers and that dam removal is critical for river restoration to a more natural healthy state and that this process results in abundant recreational, tourism, and economic benefits for cities that undertake this process.
The second point is that there is strong community support for dam removal. From the summary of comments from the December public "kick-off" meeting there were 103 comments from people in attendance supporting river restoration/dam removal while only seven people in attendance commented in favor of maintaining the dams. From the online comments submitted to this committee there were over 500 entries in favor of dam removal compared to less than 100 in favor of keeping the dams.
The first major milestone in this project will be a decision by the city council in February 2018 on whether to relicense the hydroelectric facilities in the dams or surrender those licenses and begin the process of restoring the river by removing the dams.
While the public sentiment is already heavily in favor of dam removal, I would encourage everyone to attend the planning charrette to continue to make your opinion known and to ensure that we restore a free flowing Kinnickinnic River and to bring the falls back to River Falls.
Town of River Falls
Afghanistan: Bah, humbug!
TO THE EDITOR
I have been writing in opposition to the war in Afghanistan for sixteen years. The reasons for my opposition are still much the same.
1.) Afghanistan has never been conquered.
2.) An enemy that does not wear a uniform cannot be defeated.
3.) Afghanistan is not worth fighting over. If Afghanistan was totally destroyed by a natural disaster, it would cause $8 in damage.
4.) By my calculation, $5 to $6 trillion have been spent in Iraq and Afghanistan with $0 in return.
5.) Presidents Bush and Obama were afraid of looking bad politically, so they stayed in Afghanistan. Trump, even though he campaigned against "foolish wars," evidently is fearful of the same fate. So, death and destruction and untold billions of dollars will be wasted. His biggest mistake? He listened to his generals. See number 7.
6.) 3,900 new troops will be added to the present forces in Afghanistan. This is like spitting into the Mississippi River and expecting a flood. 250,000 may not be enough. See number 1 and especially number 2.
7.) Listen to your generals with the realization that war is their element. They make their "bones" in war.
8.) I have heard that leaving Afghanistan makes the toll in death, injuries and treasure in vain. So, do we stay 20 more years? See number 1 and number 2. To be very blunt, it has all been in vain.
Marvin L. Nelson
Suggestions for the city's 'lakes'
TO THE EDITOR
I attended a Kinni Corridor Project meeting Oct. 5; it was most enlightening.
Until I went to the meeting, I was in favor of the dam removal and the restoration of the river's natural flow through our city. After all, we're the "City on the Kinni," right?
Know what a charrette is? Neither did I, so I looked it up. The first thing that struck me was that our city planners—who I thought were unelected and unaccountable bureaucrats—had been charretting like crazy. Obviously, a lot of time (if not thought) has gone into the development of the charrette.
I now see that I needed an attitude adjustment. I needed to see Lake George and Lake Louise as the treasures they really are, and not as the muck and silt depositories they appear to be. To help others find this reality:
• Change our inviting motto from "City on the Kinni" to "River Falls—City of Lakes." It's worked for Minneapolis and Minocqua.
• Change the dates and arrangement of our "Art on the Kinni" attraction from September to late July and have it circle Lake George. Visiting artists could not only enjoy the visual beauty of the lake, they could smell it too. Artists are sensual people.
• A new event, "The Carpenter Classic." Sportsmen from all over the Midwest would flock to this event. Rods and reels would be optional as dip nets would scoop up floating fish. A city-wide fish fry could be part of the final day's award ceremony.
• Baptisms! What proud city resident wouldn't want their newborn submerged in our lakes' tranquil waters? Sinners of any age should have this ritual made available to them.
• Canoe/kayak rental! Imagine the revenue our city might garner from people looking to this wilderness experience! Better if Eskimo rolls are discouraged.
• The Goose Poop Bonanza! Another new event. Sometime in the fall, Scouts, 4-Hers and band members could collect floating goose poop as a contest and fundraiser. Dead geese, ducks, cats and dogs could also be collected but entered in a separate category.
• Pearl diving! Who knows what has settled to the bottom of our natural wonder? I've seen cans, bottles, condoms, golf balls, rakes, bikes, etc. there. There must be a pearl in there somewhere.
Time to reclaim the Kinni
TO THE EDITOR
I have spent the last couple of weeks reading letters regarding dam removal in our city. Outside of the second letter, whose points were overshadowed by sarcasm and personal attacks, I have found both sides to be well thought out and meaningful. One thing is clear: people care about this city! I do not have expertise in the area of dam removal, city planning, or the like. I am not an engineer. I am not on a committee and have never worked for or been related to someone who has worked for the electric company. I have however, signed the petition for dam removal and I will explain why.
My older sister went to college in River Falls and that changed my life. My parents fell in love with the town and we moved here from Stillwater when I was 17. One might think, what a terrible time to move to a small town. One would usually be right. However, I love this town. I have always felt like a "River Fallsian" even though I was not born here. I spent several years living overseas and when it was time to return I came back to RF with my family because I wanted my children to grow up here. I believe one thing our town is missing is an easy way to hang out and enjoy the Kinnickinnic River for families.
The lakes are not lakes, we can't play in them, we can't enjoy them. We can only look at them, and frankly they are not very attractive. I cannot understand how removing the dams will in any way endanger the small town charm of our community. The Kinni is our river, it is naturally supposed to run all the way through our town. We clearly do not need what little power is generated by the dams. There are times that man-made structures outgrow their usefulness. For the dams, I believe that time is now. I'd like to see our city take back the river that belongs to River Falls so that our citizens can enjoy it for generations to come!