Readers Respond

Tuesday, January 18, 2005

Letters to the Pilot

A walk on the safe side

To the editor:

I have not been in the habit of returning redeemable cans and bottles at the local grocery stores, so it does not affect me that their policy of accepting such containers is being changed. My routine has been to donate what few cans I accumulate to one of the sites accepting such contributions towards charitable causes.

I am concerned, however, that all of the places that either redeem cans or take donations of cans are located on North Lake Avenue, an area of town that is not very accessible to citizens who are pedestrians. Just a few weeks ago I very narrowly avoided being hit by a car while walking along North Lake Avenue while carrying some recyclable items out to Genesis Development. I am wondering whether the state guidelines of having redemption centers "conveniently located" consider whether people have to walk in life-threatening conditions to reach their destination.

I am not the only person who is at risk because of the lack of sidewalks on North Lake Avenue, and my usual policy is to avoid traveling there as much as possible. Personally, I would like to see asphalt pathways on North Lake Avenue, as well as another charitable drop-off location that is closer to downtown. I know that Fareway is willing to have such a bin located on their property, and that would be convenient for many people, while also benefiting a worthy organization.

There are many other places in Storm Lake where people traveling to popular destinations on foot face dangerous traffic situations. Last month when walking down Northwestern Avenue on my way to the Middle School, I had to cross the street in the middle of a block when a sidewalk abruptly ended before reaching the corner intersecting with my turn at Highland Drive. On the way home, I took the sidewalk on the other side of the street, but then encountered a similar situation when the path didn't continue all the way to West 5th Street. A few years ago I was actually hit by a car while running to the Fitness Center along Milwaukee Avenue, another place without safe pedestrian access.

I have been outspoken on the matter of sidewalk accessibility for several years, however, city officials do not feel that this is an important issue. I do hope that we will not take a tragedy, such as the recent situation involving a young boy killed by a car in Des Moines, to force much needed action.

- Andriette Y. Wickstrom, Storm Lake

Goodwill's going

To the editor:

Occasionally Goodwill is forced to make decisions that no one is happy with. Regretfully, we will no longer be coming to Early. We would like to encourage all the great Goodwill supporters from your area, to take donations to another Goodwill Ambassador Trailer in the area or to the nearest Goodwill store. Thank you for all your donations and we hope you continue to support Goodwill Industries.

- Jenny Lindgren, Ambassador Assistant

A family torn apart

To the editor:

On March 25, 2004 my family was rudely torn apart. To start with I have four children ages 13, 9, 5 and 4. They are beautiful and full of love. We had a very happy life before March of last year. My husband and I love these children very much and are doing everything we can to get them back. We been told time and time again to just jump through the hoops and everything will work out. Well if we had hoops to jump through we would.

It has been nearly eight months since I have talked to or seen my five year old. Nearly six months since I've seen two of the others. I thought Department of Human Services were there to help bring families back together and help with their problems. Wrong! We have been lied to. They only assume what is going on and run with it. They get information from one side and don't seem to care about the other side. In our case DHS only go by one side. They haven't heard our side. They don't even want to... They haven't offered any help getting this family back together. My husband has been left out like he don't exist. Is it because he is black? Or maybe it is our age difference. Is it because we are a black and white married coupe? Or is it because he has a past and so do I? What is fair? Who doesn't have a past? DHS uses your past against you they don't let you change. You can shut the door and throw away the key to your past and they bring it back up and rub it all over you. I don't know about anyone else, but I don't live in my past.

I've got a wonderful life and I want my children back. My husband and I love our children and we are so tired of people judging us by our past and race. We pray day and night that we get our children back. The cops get away with threatening children and lying to them. When my children were take, our daughter was so upset that she was kicking the cop and saying no don't take me away. The cop looked at her and said stop kicking me or I'll take you to jail too. She was only three at the time. The cop also told our children that they will see their mommy in five minutes. They never saw me for over a week. Cops lie too. What they did was wrong... All the cops have done and the DHS has done is tore a happy family apart put our children in foster home, taken visits away and putting them on drugs. We are all sadden and DHS do not care whatsoever. I thought they were there to help.

- Samantha Lathan, Storm Lake