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Bobber or Sinker: Thanks for allowing fireworks shows to go on

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Thanks to people and organizations stepping up and generously donating money, the annual Fourth of July fireworks shows in Pequot Lakes and Crosslake are likely to continue. For that, we definitely award a bobber to all those who donated to the cause.

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In addition to individual donors who gave anywhere from $10 to $200, we applaud The Babinski Foundation for donating $1,200 and the Pequot Lakes/Breezy Point Lions Club for donating $500 to the Pequot Lakes office of the Brainerd Lakes Chamber for the July 3 fireworks display.

In Crosslake, a bobber goes to John and Carrie Hart and Mike Frank for a $5,000 donation to improve the fireworks display, as well as to the Crosslake-Ideal Lions for donating $1,000.

That city still needs funds for this year's show, and Pequot Lakes also is still collecting donations for Stars & Stripes Days and future fireworks shows. On that note, we have to award a sinker to the fact that both cities even have to beg for funds and help with all the summer activities they offer. Residents should be proud and willing to lend a helping hand.

A bobber goes to the Safari North Wildlife Park, just south of Brainerd on Highway 371. If you haven't been there, it's well worth the admission price to see all the exhibits and animals. Along with Destiny Cruises North Star vessel now plying the waters of Gull Lake, as well as the Breezy Belle on Pelican Lake, there is no shortage of unique opportunities for lakes area residents and tourists to have fun this summer.

A bobber to the state Legislature for providing funding for aquatic invasive species prevention and mitigation efforts on the local level this session. Lake associations cannot and should not rely solely on private donations to fight an enemy common to all of those who enjoy our lakes and rivers.

A sinker to members of the Crosslake City Council who flip-flopped on two consecutive votes on the same issue at their meeting June 9. After a plurality of members agreed that there was no fair way to provide refunds on planning and zoning fees charged to residents without having to go back and give many folks refunds, council members Mark Wessels and Steve Roe contradicted their positions on two refund requests before the council.

Roe approved not refunding fees for Gordon and Scott Siemers, but voted against a similar motion in the case of Pat Netko, owner of Lake Country Crafts and Cones. Wessels went the opposite way, voting against the motion on the Siemerses' request and for it on Netko's request.

Both appeared to be cheering for their pet projects, rather than remaining consistent in their positions.

A bobber to Pequot Lakes Schools food service director Patty Buell for spearheading the free breakfast pilot program at Pequot Lakes Schools this year. Buell's goals to decrease stigma and increase student performance should be applauded, and her careful data collection provides insight into how the student population reacted to the program.

Although nothing is set in stone, plans to offer free breakfast during the testing months of October and April is a great idea for ensuring students are ready for tests, at least when it comes to a full stomach.

A bobber to Drew Hines and the participants at the first Jam at the Dam in Pine River. Hines focused on the positive influence of music and referred to it as a "catalyst for smiles."

A sinker to high water levels, but only when they cause hazards to property and safety. High water levels were responsible for putting two individuals into an emergency that required a water rescue near Crosslake on June 17. Some homes may also be at risk for flooding basements.

And the first Pine River Duck Races of the season were canceled because of high water. Look for the races to start Thursday, June 26.

A bobber to the arrival of the Pineandlakes Echo Journal's summer intern, Sarah Rudlang. Rudlang lives near Pine River and graduated from Pequot Lakes High School, making her a familiar face to both communities and a valuable addition to the news staff.

A bobber to Pine River-Backus business teacher Kyle Bergem who received a Teacher of Excellence Award for his lessons in business, career and financial literacy skills.

Bobber, sinker is a column by the Pineandlakes Echo Journal writing staff that offers our opinions on local events, issues and ideas. Some sink, some float. Send your opinion on an area sinker or bobber to nancy.vogt@pineandlakes.com for consideration.

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