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5-18 Letters to the Tribune

By Staff | May 17, 2019

Re: Destruction and devastation

The Geographical Center Historical Society has begun work on the second phase of a multi-year project designed to renovate and complete structural upgrades to the front buildings and entrance of the Prairie Village Museum. This project is funded through the generous donation of the Victor Buchta estate. Victor was a long-time volunteer and museum supporter, and he directed the GCHS to use his money to create amore welcoming entrance with the ability to be open year-round. The first phase of the Buchta renovation was completed in the winter of 2017.

The second phase of this project to bring Victor’s wishes to fruition is to renovate the front of Old Main and the surrounding buildings to create an entrance that is both beautiful and accessible to the visitor and sustainable for the GCHS to maintain.To that end the GCHS had to acknowledge years of deferred maintenance and water damage caused by uneven landscaping and years of erosion that had gathered dirt to prevent drainage. Standing water during the spring melt and during rain events caused significant damage to the foundations of the front buildings and ignoring the issue and standing water risks damage to the collections stored inside. Significant landscaping had to be done to provide proper drainage, which meant that the items that once adorned the front entrance had to be temporarily moved during the project.

The items from the front entrance including the peace pole, sundial,clock, rock pillars and other items were saved and will be placed on the Museum grounds again. In some instances,the items will be professionally restored and placed in their historical locations. Many of the items were moved in coordination with their donors or other interested parties, including the Johnson’s Jewelry clock. New greenery will be planted to replace the old and dedicated to those who have served the Museum so diligently in years past.

The GCHS understands the weight of its responsibility to guard and protect the history of our region and our Museum. The construction phase is often messy and takes longer than anticipated. But we hope the project leaves the front entrance and buildings with a firm foundation and an appealing and accessible entrance that we can welcome guests into year-round. The GCHS welcomes comment and criticism. Open communication between the community and our members is essential to guiding our mission as we move forward. Take the time to visit us, explore our collections, ask us about your concerns, and renew your membership. The Museum is open 7 days a week from May 13 September 29and can be contacted by email,phone, mail, website, social media, or in person.

With gratitude to Wolford School

As the last class graduates from Wolford School this Saturday, May 18, 2019, there will be tears of sadness for the school’s closing mixed with tears of gladness for the three graduates and their accomplishments.

Just as this graduation represents a closing of one chapter and the beginning of another for the 3 young men graduating, it represents the closing of a chapter for every student and staff member. Classmates will attend several different schools next year and staff will move on to new jobs or retire.

My husband, Lonnie, graduated in 1969 from Wolford High-50 years ago. He was part of the Baby Boomer generation in a time when the country schools were closing and sending their students to town (Wolford). A lot has changed since then. My sons attended Wolford in the 80’s through the early 2000’s. The question often came up about how long the school could stay open and the answer was always “Two years”. That was almost 40 years ago! We are thankful that the school was there for us “Two more years” all these years. To think of all of the students that this school has “launched” into the world. So many stories.

I will always think of Wolford School with gratitude. The school has been the heartbeat of the community, thanks to each and every person who, past and present, was committed to making the school experience the best it could be for so many. I would especially like to thank the current staff and school board for their commitment and dedication. As difficult as this decision is for the community, it has to have been even more difficult for you. Wish you all the very best.

Carolyn Anderson

Parent and Grandparent

Of Wolford Students

2019 session saw criminal justice reform, concerns

During the 66th Legislative Assembly, Democratic-NPL legislators helped pass a collection of criminal justice reforms that keep our communities safe while also helping rebuild lives and use taxpayer dollars more efficiently and effectively.

Rep. Mary Schneider (D-21) successfully championed a “ban the box” bill to give people with criminal backgrounds a better chance at employment. Rep. Josh Boschee (D-44) and Sen. Erin Oban (D-35) co-sponsored a bill to seal the criminal records of individuals who have kept a clean slate for so many years after non-violent offenses, which will help them gain employment, housing and professional licensing.

Rep. Ruth Buffalo (D-27) sharpened the state’s focus on missing and murdered indigenous people with a package of bills, including a remedy to the fact that North Dakota doesn’t have a missing person’s database.

I introduced legislation, later rolled into another bill, that establishes a pretrial services pilot program, the next phase of our Justice Reinvestment reforms. Pretrial services will save taxpayer dollars on incarceration costs and connect defendants with needed services earlier.

Thanks to leadership from Sen. Kathy Hogan (D-21), Rep. Schneider and other legislators, we also strengthened how the state helps children who have been victims of physical or sexual abuse.

Unfortunately, however, some members of the majority party proposed bills that would have undermined public safety, had they passed.

Rep. Jeff Magrum (R-28) introduced a dangerous Stand Your Ground bill. Rep. Rick Becker (R-7) wanted to prohibit sobriety checkpoints, one of the tools to stop drunk drivers, and tried to stop law enforcement from enforcing violations of federal firearm laws, like laws that say violent criminals shouldn’t own guns. Rep. Sebastian Ertelt (R-26) wanted to defy federal rule by legalizing bump stocks. And Reps. Ertelt and Becker, along with Reps. Todd Porter (R-34) and Pat Heinert (R-32), tried a variety of ways to allow people to carry a concealed weapon into public places like schools, college campuses, churches and sporting events. Dem-NPL legislators helped defeat these misguided ideas.

Safe communities are a priority for all of us. I’m glad we advanced legislation that supports — rather than undermines — this important goal.

Rep. Karla Rose Hanson (D-44)


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