Readers Respond

Monday, February 20, 2006

Letter to the Pilot

Justice isn't served

To the Editor:

Were you surprised by the news yesterday (February 12) coming from the Senate hearing concerning the waste and fraud with the billions of dollars currently being spent during the Katrina recovery? If so, you must have missed the concerns put forth last Fall by Congressman Steve King. He was one of only a few in Congress, that voted against the spending bill because no oversight was built into the bill.

Do you also remember that while Congressman King was warning of us of the lack of spending safeguards, there were many who condemned him for his lack of compassion, and that he didn't really represent the wishes of the Fifth District of Iowa. Well, I remember and am not surprised with the reported result. I appreciate Congressman King's stance on this unfettered spending (of my money), on taxation in general, on immigration, on the Iraq War and his opinions on prisoners.

I don't feel alone. As I recall, along with myself, a substantial plurality supported Congressman King in his reelection. Did some of you miss that too?

What would surprise me would be an apology from just one of those that vilified Congressman King last Fall. I actually expect to hear from the negative crowd that President Bush is somehow responsible for how the money has been misspent, never mind the warnings we were given upfront.

- John C. Ranney, Council Bluffs

Cobblestone, Kolb and Awaysis: Can we bury the hatchet?

To The Editor:

In the February 2 issue of the Pilot, Sally Millikan of Storm Lake made some good points in her guest editorial (and we need more people expressing their good opinions, people).

What about the historic Cobblestone? This facility once had a zoo, a pool, walking gardens, a fountain, a small gauge railway circuit, a marina and a world-renowned venue for some of the greatest bands on earth. I recall the time that Buddy Holly died in a plane crash flying from Clear Lake... ( I was small at the time but my older brothers announced the bad news that very evening). We had world class murals depicting circus scenes in a tap that overlooked the ballroom (I hope these murals are still preserved just as the memories of fond times there are preserved in memories of all citizens. (Everybody knew that was THE place to go in town on a Sunday night).

Awaysis will certainly bring some color to the town again. The water park will rival many in larger markets and bring a new crowd to town. How about reviving the Cobblestone with some of the variety of entertainment that once was the norm there? Bring a train in to ferry people down the short line to the Cobb. Bring back the dance scene for kids, bring back the garden paths all along the lake. Bring back the strolling with buggy rides from Awaysis all the way to Lakeside. The trailer & tent crowd certainly likes Storm Lake's fine facilities. The lake is becoming cleaner and purer and we can thank a fine interjurisdictional approach to stewardship of this fine resource.

Things are looking up all around with the marina being upgraded on the West side of the lake. Little Lake is even getting a facelift and a potential dredging project that bodes well for the long term clarity for the lake. Awaysis will be the jewel on the lake, this is certain.

The temporary mess of the movement of masses will give way to an immense facade, true, for people with larger pocketbooks. But our city fathers can certainly spread out and embrace the other improvements suggested here (and posited by Sandy with style, thanks).

Bike trails should connect the lake trails with train tracks that were removed. Bikers could find Storm Lake a mecca of movement. Fountains such as were envisioned by the Kolb family could sprout all over the lakefront. Storm Lake should negotiate with the Kolb beneficiaries to multiply the memorial envisioned by elders long parted. With savvy negotiators bringing to life a great expansion of the tribute set in stone years ago, we could stop the litigation and erect 5 to 10 more fountains and gardens. I am sure dozens of volunteer groups and individuals would donate funds and time to ensure a fitting usage of the funds already budgeted for litigation in that testy tit-for-tat.

The time for reconciliation is now. The time for planning for activity enhancements to diversify the entire Lakeside to Awaysis "corridor" is now. Sandy's vision to include a Cobblestone revival is perfect.

Now let's get the city fathers and the Kolb children to sit down and powwow to avoid just another "Lake of the Storm" feud like the one of legend that took the loves of some warring tribal love children a few seasons ago. Make love, not war.

Take the wind out of some windy lawyers for a change and make those gardens of cooperation bloom true.

How messy does the lakefront look right now? Only as messy as those stubborn lawyers stuck in trench warfare. Let Storm Lake take on the vision of cooperation once again. The police are pledging to become more user friendly, aren't they? Why can't the lawyers bury the hatchet and show us all just how they can smoke that peace pipe too?

Thanks again, Sandy, for breathing a memory back into the Cobblestone. It does no one any good to leave it out of the package. I want my kids to ride on that train - like I remember riding on it long ago - this time, all the way to Awaysis.

Let's start bridge building. Let's mend those fences. Let's get rid of the range war. Let's get cooking. Beat those swords into plowshares. The table is set.Come to the feast. The whole town is watching. Can lawyers be friends?

Whatever happens, just keep speaking up about your ideas, because ideas don't become reality without somebody picking up the gauntlet. Your move, city fathers...

- Paul Peterson, Storm Lake