Letters to the Pilot

Monday, August 4, 2003

Don't follow a mistaken path


When my youngest boy, Zachariah, was about three, he wandered into the bathroom, noticed a bar of soap, licked it, made a very funny face, then proceeded to lick the soap again. Not the brightest Brittany on the block, it took him longer than most to realize that soap was not a desirable snack choice. However, he did learn from his mistake, as he never licked soap again after that second attempt, and I was very proud.

I am distressed to discover that the City of Storm Lake will be repeating an error of the past with upcoming plans to use hardened cement again for continuation of the LakeTrail. The last time I checked a state map featuring recreation trails, Storm Lake was the only community listed that utilized concrete exclusively as the sole surface for multipurpose trails. Most towns used materials such as asphalt, crushed limestone, or cinder to build pathways for bikers, skaters, walkers, or runners. The Des Moines Register recently featured a series of editorials on enhancing tourism in Iowa by creating and maintaining more trails, and encouraged "the construction of wide, asphalt paths." (July 25, 2003)

Because running on concrete is an open invitation to painful physical conditions such as shinsplints, Dr. Stephen Pribut, a specialist in podiatric medicine and surgery, advises in a sports medicine article on preventing injuries, "Most of all, DO NOT RUN ON CONCRETE!" (Dr. Pribut's Running Injuries Page, copyright 1998)

I have had the opportunity to run and bike on many trails throughout Iowa and Minnesota, and I have found concrete surfaces to be rare in communities outside of Storm Lake. Because asphalt more safely serves the purposes of bikers, skaters, walkers, and runners, it seems to be the preferred choice for most of the recreation paths I have encountered. My friends in other communities, especially runners, are very surprised upon learning that Storm Lake uses concrete instead of asphalt in constructing trails. Most athletes I know are very health conscious and take steps to avoid running on concrete. Many even plan their living locations based upon accessibility to properly surfaced trails.

Storm Lake's well-maintained park system is exceptional and could be further enhanced by the creation of asphalt, not concrete, trails that would provide a safe and suitable surface for many recreational users.

In future planning for trails, let's not lick the soap again!

Andriette Wickstrom, Storm Lake

Pride in femininity


I've always enjoyed reading Joan Ryan's columns but a recent one, "Attack of the Girly-Girls", concerned me a little. Her main point was to reject "the whole feminine thing." I am proud of being a woman and of my femininity, and I choose to look and act accordingly. I have no desire to have "big shoulders and suits" and to look like "Richard Nixon's little brother." I wonder what Ms. Ryan thinks is so "seriously wrong" with looking "however we like - even feminine and sexy."

More often than not, I choose to wear a dress, a skirt, or something feminine looking and am often complimented. But at the same time people are surprised, as if it's something completely aberrant.

Apparently men and women alike are not accustomed to seeing a woman actually dressing like one. Have we become so used to a very boring and generic look, whether it be the proverbial jeans and a T-shirt or the genderless business suit, that men and women are barely distinguishable from one another?

Big shoulder pads and masculine suits will not help women gain the respect that they deserve. Women who think that their manly attire determines their level of strength, confidence and worth are sadly mistaken. There is more substance to us women than that!

I hope the readers understand that this is meant to be more about women's ability to embrace their femininity and accept the chromosomes they were born with than it is about fashion.

Julie Baker, Alta

A bang-up job


Another 4th of July has come and gone, What a grand celebration Storm Lake produced. The 25th anniversary of the Star Spangled Spectacular was everything it was billed to be! Storm Lake should be proud.

I would like to thank the Star Spangled Spectacular committee and especially Barb and "Skog" Andersen for having faith, both in me and the rest of the fireworks crew. Storm Lake is a great community and is fortunate to have the high caliber volunteers that it takes to perpetuate the "Spectacular."

Thanks to everybody who stuck it out to the bitter end to watch the fireworks. It didn't really

start getting wet until just before the finale! Boy did the crew ever get soaked? Was it worth it? You bet!

The crew-Brad Sargent, Loren Pearson, Steve Lullman, Paul Henze, Clark Gordon, Mark Burkitt, Mike, Erik and Matt Morrow and Scott Randall- never waivered, never hesitated, never lost sight of the goal of getting all of the fireworks up in the sky. They are a great group of guys and when you see them you should thank them, We wouldn't be able to have the great display without them. Thanks also go to Al's Liquor for the post-shoot refreshments. They have been a great silent supporter for us for a number of years.

It takes a lot to support the fireworks - the Storm Lake fire department (Mike Jones and all) are on the ready each year, just in case we need them. The Storm Lake Police department (Mark Prosser and all) ensures the public safety by providing crowd control. And finally, the Storm Lake Parks department provides equipment storage and sand bags and hearing protection. Thanks Bob Williams!

Again, Thanks to everybody for a great 25th Star Spangled Spectacular.

Orren Knoffloch, Storm Lake