You may speak out on any subject you wish. You can be as critical as you want, but please don’t be malicious or use personal attacks. Please include your name and city. We will not publish your E-mail address unless you request us to. If you wish to comment on anything you see here, but do not want it published, please include the words “Do not Publish”. The views expressed here are not necessarily the views of the Editor. Letters are posted in the order they are received with the newest ones at the top.

To the Editor.

I just read all of the letters to the Editor, and have several comments I would like to make.

First I would like to say this is not the place for all this political junk, I can get that on the TV and the newspapers and form my own opinions.

I completely enjoyed the letter from Nyle—but gosh Nyle—you forgot me. Marlys Baldwin. Rosie was my mom and she worked there I guess after I married and left for California…but you have to remember me. I did waitress work in the summers (1954-1956) and also cleaned house for your mom every Saturday morning for a couple of winters…She was a very neat person so it didn’t take long, about 2 hours. So every Sat morning I would earn $1.00 and go to Bigfork with Dad every Saturday night, He would go buy groceries and I would go over to Dar’s record shop and pick out 5 used jute box records to spend my dollar on. This trip was the high point of my week, not only did I get some new records but this was my driving lesson as I got to drive there and back.

Jeannie Ramstad asked about RUDY B—yes, that was Rudy Beckman I am sure, He is the one that built the Snowshoe either 1952 or ’53. Rudys wife’s name was Alletta and the two waitresses were Myrtle Snell and my sister Gayle. Rudy and his family didn’t stay real long maybe a couple of years. He sold to Lyle LaGrange .took his family and moved back to Florida.

Lyle is the one that put the addition on maybe the second year I worked there?. I sure remember how nice that was…and I also remember the first customer I waited on in that new dining room….Dana Andrews and Dennis Morgan. Most of you probably don’t remember these “STARS”—-I went into the kitchen and told Irene who we had out there, so she brought fresh hot coffee out to them. It was great. I also remember Hugh Beaumont–but as I am older then Nyle I remember him different. He was not a STAR yet–just enough so we knew his name, He had done a few bit parts. He was the guy who gave Jimmy Stewart his Jacket in “Night Passage”. If you are into westerns you will know that one. I remember every time he came in he would sit over by himself and order a peanut butter sandwich .20 cents–anything to drink? No, just water. and NO TIP. After I was in California he got the part as Beavers father. maybe then he could afford Chicken, I do know Irene made some very good fried Chicken. These were also the days of Johnny Cash’s “I walk the Line” every tip I ever got went into the jute box. Dar knew what a sucker I was for country music so if I was working when he came in he would put the new records on and then let me play a few for free before he would close it up.

I remember the baseball team well, and they were good, very good. Us girls used to sell pop at the games. Lyle would order it for us and give it to us for cost and we would use the profits for the teen age dances. Our very good Band was Harold Boege, Jerome Ingstad, Larry Probst, and Owen Jacobson. we had a lot of fun at those dances…..They were held in the old town Hall and now I see that is gone as well….kind of sad.

You also mentioned Walt–do I remember Walt? Oh yes, I remember Walter. I had this little plastic bottle from my “perm”-just a little bottle filled with water but if you squeezed it.?? ..well when I turned Walt’s direction, he said “I wouldn’t if I were you.” didnt take much more then that to temp me, and I knew I could out run him…..and my dad worked just across the street, right? So empty that bottle I did. Walter came up off that chair and I took off—-He caught me in less then 15 good strides, scooped me up ran down the dock and through me into the Lake.

Lots of good memories and anyone who wants to bat a few of them back and forth my address is Hwy 71 N Wadena Minnesota, if you want to drop me a card… If I believe you are someone I would like to correspond with I will send you my e-mail address…. Say I would love to read a story telling me a bit about the Snowshoe after LaGranges sold, and also plans for the future—–That looks like a pretty big building? what is is going to be? thanks mkb

Now it is time for me to get on my soap box about cigarettes…..

I would like to tell all of those that are getting so up-tight about it. “You are contributing to their cause by participating in their game. ” All of this is a HUGE Smoke Screen for our modern system to hide Pornography, Drug abuse, and all other soul damaging crimes against humanity. Yes the money they rake in is HUGE—but nothing compared to the damage the other things are doing to our society while we keep our eyes closed to the real crimes and keep throwing money at them to help them stop cigarettes….. Price of cigarettes stop a child from smoking??? How dumb are you asking me (Joe Public) to be. If a kid can pay $125.00 for a bit of pot and share it with his friends—-how high would a pack of cigarettes have to get to make a difference?

As long as they can get you to focus on cigarettes THEY WIN————–Right???

Sincerely , a long ago resident of Marcell.. PS please don’t spoil the natural beauty by putting street lights….UFF-DA !!

i realize I am responding to some pretty old stuff here but it is still important and besides I just descovered your site.

I believe in a war on terrism but just a thought——-

If you were planning a war on your neighbor, wouldn’t you send his kids home first?


OOPS—–did I forget to sign my letter to the editor ? I may have, seems I do things like that as I get older. Actually I’m not sure that has anything to do with it. I think it is more that the hard drive is full and the memory chips are cracked………and yes probably running with an older model isn’t helping……….

Actually I keep checking your site every day hoping things have been updated and I will have a responce from someone…….I’ll try to be patient and will keep checking——thanks…….Marlys

To the Editor:

I was so happy to read the letter from Nyle La GrRange! Bruce and I are the present owners of the Snowshoe and have shared in some of the “life” that centered around the place. We shared alot of good times there with friends and there are alot of “Snowshoe” stories to be told. I remember dancing to a song call “Big Mable Murphy” on the juke box– Sunday nights when the Marcell Inn was closed. Jimmy and Esther Drieman would show up to dance too. Lined up along the bar were Johnny Pannula, Pat Snell, Bumstead, Floyd Talbert, Betty and Ralph and a host of others. Jerry and Marilyn Gang owned it the whole time I remember…We felt the same way about the place, the people are what made it so fun. Alot of people that came into the Snowshoe (when it was our second-hand shop) stopped to tell us about the good times they had there when it was a bar & cafe. We recognized many of the names that Nyle mentioned in his letter. I bet there are others out there that do too. Does anyone else want to share a story? I’m going to clip them and keep them in the new shop. I hope that when we rebuild we can keep some of the character of the Snowshoe alive by remembering the people. ps. Inside the wall we found a newspaper from 1952 –Rudy B. was written on one corner. Bruce thinks it might have been Rudy Beckman. Does anyone know if he might have helped build the snowshoe??

PS. The first wall went up today….

Jeannie Ramstad


To The Editor:

Thank you for displaying the picture of “The Snowshoe” just prior to demolition. It is now a memory in the past, as was Marcell Mercantile, the “old’ town hall, Pine Haven Resort, on Big Turtle, Karjala’s resort store, Newstrom’s store, Beckman’s Bait store, Probst’s Lumber Mill, the original Marcell Church, Hawkeye Haven, Camp Caribou, Idewild Resort and many more.

The Snowshoe was the Snowshoe Cafe. At it’s peak it was a viable enterprise that supported a family of four. Many of the regulars in the 1950’s and 60’s ranged from grass roots to celebrity. A few names of he colorful patrons are now only recognized by very few people. Cherry Chins (Gunshot Maki), who reportedly attempted suicide and missed, blowing off his chin, Andrew Maki, sporting a shotun under his long black coat in case the communists ever came after him, Moose Lindgren, Big Nick and Little Nick Neimala would go into the kitchen with my dad to borrow money to drink and then come out and buy the house a round to make it appear as though they had “lots of money”, Skinhead, Billy Boy, Johnny Panula, Bill Knott and his dog Patch, Hugo and Hilda Gangruth, Tuts and Bud Benson, on and on. Oh yes, Hugh Beaumont, “Ward Cleaver” on the leave it to Beaver show often brought his family in for mom’s fried chicken. There were some spirited sparing matches on some occasional Friday and Saturday nights requiring the honorable constable Walter Lyytinen to intervene (which I believe he thoroughly enjoyed “Breaking up”, literally).

If you ate, or drank at “The Snowshoe” you could expect to be waited on by Sis Boege, Joan (Boege) Snell and sister, Rosie Baldwin, Delores (Lusti) Eckert, Evelyn Kibler, Jan Newstrom and of course my parents over the years.

Occasionally the “Sky Pilot”, Reverend Herbert Peters would stop in to jest with the regular patrons, probably hoping they would see the light. He was an inspiration beyond description truly dedicated to spiritually guiding the people of Marcell in his circuit.

Most people may not know that Marcell also had a pretty darned good baseball team that would sequester after Sunday games at The Snowshoe Cafe. Local celebrity speedball stars, such as Bruce Eckert, Bob and Harold Boege, Walter, Reino and Wilho Lyytinen, Owen Jacobsen, Charlie Eckert, Sonny Jarvi, Sonny Lusti and Allen Rautio, just to name a few. They were guided and coached by the spirited Ted Ecker. Bill Knott umpired. In addition to the protective padding he was also “well oiled” so that the stray balls would just ricochet off of him.

There were three families that migrated to Marcell from Eastern Iowa. All were friends following each other to an area they loved. Orva and Sis (Gertrude) Boege moved first as proprietors of Pine Haven Resort. Lyle and Irene (Tuts) La Grange then bought and expanded the Snowshoe Cafe and then Harold and Evelyn Kibler followed eventually operating the Marcell Inn and Snowshoe.

All but my Dad, Lyle La Grange have passed away. From my perspective there are more than walls that existed at The Snowshoe. There was life. Thank you for the Timely picture. It has precious meaning to my brother and I.

Nyle La Grange

To The Editor:

Dr. King did not advocate violence, he believed in peaceful protest.
Others did advocate violence…but not Dr. King. I grew up in Kansas and
things were not separate and equal. The small town I grew up in
literally had “the other side of the tracks”. I am thankful for the
changes that Dr. King brought about for my children. In my opinion my
white ancestors severely repressed African Americans and Native
Americans in the name of profit. The ethnocentrism and arrogance is not
something that I can not accept.
If you choose to post this response please post it in it’s entirety.
Thank you

Brian Dreher

To The Editor:

Tobacco Tax Greed Out of Control
Since September 11th, states all over the country have felt the pinch of a slow economy and added expense for security, among other things. Money is tight. Additional money needs to come from somewhere. A tax increase on smokers is one of the easiest to implement because approximately 75% of the population doesn’t have to pay for it. Some politicians think it is a safe move.It is time to look at the bigger picture, government and excise taxes on tobacco. The truth is shocking!
It is now to the point in some states our political leaders are acting no better that street thugs who sell illegal drugs. “They are hooked so now let’s exploit them” is the prevailing attitude. Between 1999 and 2001 Congress and the States have collected $88 Billion (that’s Billion with a “B”) dollars from taxes and the Master Settlement Agreement. On an annual basis, the government “take” from tobacco was nearly $30 billion. That’s a cool $80 million a day or $55,872 a MINUTE. The average household income is $42,000 a YEAR. There is no doubt that state and federal governments now have a virtual monopoly on tobacco industry revenue. On average, government make 15 times what tobacco companies do on a pack of cigarettes. Even the Mafia never had it this good.
No one should have to endure this kind of tax burden, and many smokers have said no and went elsewhere. For instance, the state of Washington in 2001 estimated it lost almost $63 million dollars to smokers who bought cigarettes on the Internet, from Indian smoke shops or brought them in from other states. The state still made $244.5 million.
What other group of consumers would tolerate a loaf of bread, a automobile or a toy taxed at the rate of tobacco? They wouldn’t. There would be a tax revolt.
There have been several very good things proposed that tobacco tax increases would go toward that would make things better for a large number of people. Smokers and non-smokers alike. The question that should be asked is why smokers ALONE should shoulder the burden? 58% of adult smokers are at low or moderate income, earning $35,000 a year or less. Why are the least able to pay called on the most to pay the bills of OTHERS?
Many state that raising excise taxes will cut the rate of underage smokers. The problem is that underage smokers make up only about 3% of the market. When you do this you punish 97 people to influence 3.
Even this is questionable when recent studies state that the biggest influence on children smoking is parents, not government action. Millions have been spent recently on prevention programs to keep kids from smoking with virtually no change in smoking rates. In other words money wasted.
When $80 million a day off the backs of smokers is STILL not enough to satisfy the tax man, it is time to take a hard look at who we are really dealing with here. Government greed and attempts at population control through taxation is out of control in a major way. It is just plain financial rape. 
Dave Pickrell
President and founder
Smokers Fighting Discrimination, Inc.
A not for profit organization
P O Box 5472
Katy, Tx 77491
Phone/fax: 281-347-8780
SFD is 100% grassroots funded

To The Editor:

IMMIGRANTS, NOT AMERICANS, MUST ADAPT I am tired of this nation worrying about whether we are offending some individual or their culture. Since the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11, we have experienced a surge in patriotism by the majority of Americans. However, the dust from the attacks had barely settled when the “politically correct” crowd began complaining about the possibility that our patriotism was offending others. I am not against immigration, nor do I hold a grudge against anyone who is seeking a better life by coming to America. Our population is almost entirely comprised of descendants of immigrants. However, there are a few things that those who have recently come to our country, and apparently some born here, need to understand. This idea of America being a multicultural community has served only to dilute our sovereignty and our national identity. As Americans, we have our own culture, our own society, our own language and our own lifestyle. This culture has been developed over centuries of struggles, trials, and victories by millions of men and women who have sought freedom. We speak ENGLISH, not Spanish, Arabic, Chinese, Japanese, Russian, or any other language. Therefore, if you wish to become part of our society, learn the language! “In God We Trust” is our national motto. This is not some Christian, right wing, political slogan. We adopted this motto because Christian men and women, on Christian principles, founded this nation, and this is clearly documented It is certainly appropriate to display it on the walls of our schools. If God offends you, then I suggest you consider another part of the world as your new home, because God is part of our culture. If Stars and Stripes offend you, or you don’t like Uncle Sam, then you should seriously consider a move to another part of this planet. We are happy with our culture and have no desire to change, and we really don’t care how you did things where you came from. This is OUR COUNTRY, our land, and our lifestyle. Our First Amendment gives every citizen the right to express his opinion and we will allow you every opportunity to do so. But, once you are done complaining, whining, and griping about our flag, our pledge, our national motto, or our way of life, I highly encourage you to take advantage of one other great American freedom, THE RIGHT TO LEAVE.


Dear Editor:

Was wondering if perhaps someday you might write a pleasant, more optimistic editorial? Like maybe the firing of Dennis Green as Vikings head coach? Of course, we still have Randy Moss…..on second thought Mr. Editor, forget it.

Dick Bevins


 To The Editor:

Dollar Bill Page misleading

If you’re interested in learning about the TRUE story of the symbols on the
dollar bill, check out the links below and add them to your “dollar bill”
web page.

While the page you posted is interesting and touching, especially in light
of 9/11, much of it is incorrect or misleading.

Editors Note- I can not verify one way or the other the accuracy of any information on the WoodsNews Dollar Bill Page nor on the following links included with this letter. Read and decide for yourself.



US Treasury

US State Department

To The Editor:

The Enemies of Smoking Control the DebateWhat would happen if the KKK were allowed to run public policy for the Black community? A return of the old south? What would happen if the modern Nazi Party were allowed to run public policy for the Jewish community? Maybe something like what happen during World War II?
No one in this day and age needs a return to the days of hate and injustice of the past. You learn from mistakes of the past and you move on. Or do you?
Did we learn anything from our past history? Yes and no. While race and ethnicity are protected now because of past mistakes, people in general are not. The “in general” people referred to here are smokers. Smokers are not a protected class of people so any form of discrimination you wish to heap on them is legal. So, in other words hatred, discrimination and intolerance is just fine for smokers (or any other such group) because they have not gained a “protected class status?” 
What happened to turn a group of consumers who use tobacco into a persecuted class of people? Simple. The enemies of smokers and tobacco companies have been allowed to define and run the public policy debate on this issue from the beginning. Whatever anti-smokers feel is in the best interest of the anti-smoking movement gets considered as fact by government and the media. 
Words like this are easy to say, is there anything to back it up? Hundreds of pages of documentation could be put here to prove the point. But just a few of major ones will be covered.
How many times have you heard the claim that smoking causes 400,000 deaths a year in America? The actual number is 418,690. It is the backbone of justification for the “health police” to enter and attempt to change our lives, with taxpayers paying the bill. How accurate is this number?
The actual figures that make up the total came from The American Cancer Society’s Cancer Prevention II study. It was never published or pier reviewed as to the validity of the information contained within. On the risk of cancers of the lung and oral cavity the information used was taken from small unreliable studies with outrageously high relative risk numbers, 5 to 7 times higher than what is understood to be accurate. But that’s not all. From these studies the Center for Disease Control created SAMMEC, a computer program that was based on the risks stated in the study above and was distributed to every local public health department in this nation. It has become the “gold standard” of smoking related harms and “official”. Now it is the “standard” around the world.[1]
And then there is the harms of passive smoking. All the EPA had to do to establish the fact passive smoking was dangerous was release to the media and local policy makers early on in the so call analysis process that they “thought” it was a danger. Making claims of this nature was highly suspect if a truly unbiased investigation was being conducted. This was all clearly documented by Congressman Thomas Bliley of Virginia who’s job it was for congress overseeing the actions of the EPA.[2] Federal Judge William Osteen in 1998 in a 94 page ruling against the EPA’s judgement on passive smoking wrote “EPA publicly committed to a conclusion before the research had begun; adjusted established procedure and scientific norms to validate its conclusion, and aggressively utilized its authority to disseminate findings to establish a de facto regulatory scheme to influence public opinion.”[3]
Anti-smoking activists took the passive smoking argument a step further when they stated that anywhere from 40,000 to 60,000 people every year die from heart disease cause by passive smoking.
This is a statement that even the EPA dismissed. The truth is that the largest study ever done on heart attacks,(the Monica Study) done over 10 years and 21 countries could not find a link to either smoking (direct or passive) or high cholesterol levels. It was sponsored and paid for by the World Health Organization.[4] 
The likely cause of heart disease based on research done in the last few years is bacterial infections individually from the mouth, stomach and lungs or a combination of all where smoking plays a small or no part of the formation of heart disease.[5]
Does anything you have read here sound familiar? If all this was widely known then there would be no war on smoking because it would be understood as unjustified. The last thing anti-smokers want is a healthily well informed debate on these issues.
Untold millions have and will go to propaganda campaigns slandering smokers, all because the enemies of tobacco and smoking have been trusted to lead the debate on this issue. Anti-tobacco now is big business. If the one sided debate on smoking’s harms goes away, so does the river of dollars that comes with it. 
Belive me, this information is just the tip of a massive iceberg that the media didn’t feel was important enough to tell you about. In matters about the smoking issue, professional malpractice is rampant and “standard operating procedure” in public health and the media.
Dave Pickrell-President and founder
Smokers Fighting Discrimination, Inc.
A not for profit organization
P O Box 5472
Katy, Tx 77491
Phone/fax: 281-347-8780

SFD is 100% grassroots funded

[1] Surgeon General’s Report on Smoking 1989, Page 150-51
[2] EPA and Environmental Tobacco Smoke: Science or Politics, July 21, 1993 Office of Thomas J. Bliley, Jr, 7th District, Virginia
[3] Philip Morris et al. v The United States Environmental Protection Agency legal brief, July 17, 1998
[4] Study Casts Doubts on Heart “Risk Factors”‘ London Daily Telegraph, August 25, 1998
[5] Assessing the Relationship Between Dental Disease and Coronary Heart Disease in Elderly U.S. Veterans, Journal of the American Dental Association, Vol. 129, March 1998, page 301
[5] Chlamydia Linked to Heart Disease, British Broadcasting Corp.- Health, February, 25, 1999
[5] Ulcer Bacteria Linked to Heart Disease, Reuters-Intelhealth Health News, May 6, 1998

To the Editor:

I agree with your editorial concerning the medical profession et al. The problem seems to be greed. Money talks and bullshit walks. Between the doctors who care (and nurses), come the insurance companies who have taken medical care to new hieghts cost wise. It didn’t take long years ago for the medical profession to figure out that if people had insurance they could charge more. Then the insurance companies who care only about profits starting raising cost of insurance to keep up with the higher cost the doctors and hospitals were charging. This started a never ending upward spiral that sees no end. In the process we the patients are left to suffer. We who have become a series of numbers instead of a person with feelings and sensibilities. Meanwhile the doctors and insurance company executives drive their Mercedes and Porches, spend time at their condos, go on European trips, cruises etc while the rest of us work like hell to afford the care that should and given at a more sensible level. Harry Neuhaus

To the Editor:

Great Photoes–miss the owl. Keep up the good work! Have you let the Marcell township board know they can give you news/messages for your site? Also, ask The Marcell Community/Family Center for events for your calendar. You could get some information & news from the Marcell Ranger station and our resorts to make your web site even more interesting. It would be great to put up a few flyers around town to let the locals and visitors know about Woodsnews and the web address. Iam sure with more pictures, fishing & water news, forest & resort news, ect. people from all over would visit your site. I think your web site is beautiful and informative, but I can see alot more potential to advertise our great area to the world. For instance, I E-mailed your site address to friends and family in several states. I recieved only great comments from them. They wanted to see more and a few even want to visit this area now. Anyway, these are just a few thoughts I had late this night. Thanks again for your “Woodsnews.” Gayle Heggem

To the Editor:

I left a message on your answering machine regarding the cost you placed on the kiosk structure on your web-site, for clarification the structure in Grand Rapids did not cost $250,000. Also: The Northern Itasca Joint Powers Board meets the 4th Wednesday of month at 6 pm unless the Board decides to cancel a meeting .

MN Hwy 38 Leadership Board Inc. meets the 3rd Wednesday of the month at 5 pm unless unless the Board decides to cancel a meeting .

Locations Vary

Tim Johnson

Edge of the Wilderness Community Coordinator

(Editors note: I stand corrected. The cost, according to Mr Johnson, was around $225,000 total for both the Grand Rapids and Effie Kiosks combined.)

To the Editor:

Interesting! (response to article on pier in marcell) We are just summer folks, own some property on Little Deadhorse, but like to keep informed on what is happening. Thank you for your service/website. 

I, personally would think the Forest Service/Ranger Station site would be better because then they would maintain it! Maybe. I now work for Forest Service, clerical capacity only, but think it would be better as a tourist attraction to have it in conjunction with public land/ranger station/edge of wilderness promotion. 

Question, what is Deerpath. Can I get web access to it? Thanx. Barb Swann

To the Editor

I would just like to say that I spent a week this summer at my 
grandparents cabin on Big Ole and it was wonderful. Marcell is 
beautiful. Since alot of my family is from that area, it has become more 
important to me. I am currently in search of information on a book 
called Memories of a small town: Marcell, MN. I have heard someone is 
planning to make a second printing. IF you are that someone reading 
this, or anyone knows about this, please feel free to contact me at My maiden name is Stickler. Lloyd and Clara were 
my great grandparents. I was reading a little and see they plan to 
streetscape. I really do not see what the need is for this. Marcell is a 
small community and people go to places like this for vacation to get 
away from the everyday things,,,,noise, lights, etc. 
Streetlights?…why?… what is open at night in Marcell?.. It doesnt 
make a lot of sense. I live in Nevada now, though I grew up in Big 
Falls. My children were in awe at the lakes,,, the trees,,,,, you have a 
wonderful community. I hope to visit again soon. I can say it was the 
best vacation I have been on with my family. The peace of the lake at 
night,,, the stars in the sky..lush green everywhere. Forget not what 
you have.. for when its gone,, is when you will realize.


To the Editor:

A pattern has emerged in the mainstream media in dealing with “hate crimes,” i.e., violent criminal acts motivated by bigotry. The unspoken, unwritten ethic appears to be: If a white commits a violent crime and the victim is a minority, that is by definition a “hate crime” and worthy of front-page headlines, complete with lead stories on the national TV news shows.

On the other hand, if a minority commits a violent crime and the victim is white, that does not make it beyond the local media.

That is the inescapable conclusion of a survey of events over a period of months.

The Wichita Rampage

The most egregious recent example concerns a crime rampage in Wichita, Kan.

Two young black brothers, Reginald and Jonathan Carr, have been charged with a quadruple homicide.

The Shreveport Times, one of the few out-of-state media outlets to give this story any publicity at all, described the chronology of the crime in which the two men abducted five white young adults and shot them execution-style, according to the allegations in police reports.

According to police:

It began on a night in mid-December when the brothers kicked in the door of a home shared by three young professionals. Two women were there for an engagement party. While one held the five people at gunpoint, the other loaded up a van with two TVs, a computer, dishes, bedding, luggage, credit cards and wallets.

They also found a diamond ring.

“That was for you,” Jason Befort told one of the young women. “I was going to ask you to marry me.”

The Carr brothers then forced the young people to take them to automatic teller machines and withdraw money.

So that’s a sheer case of robbery, right? Where’s the “hate crime”?

There’s more. Apparently not at all satisfied with the heist, the Carrs then drove their victims to a soccer field and took turns raping the women while the three men were forced to watch. Then the men were forced to commit homosexual acts on each other. Then each was forced to have sex with the women while the Carr brothers drank beer and laughed.

Still nude, all five were ordered to kneel in front of the car’s headlights in the snow. Each was shot in the back of the head execution-style before the brothers drove off and left them for dead.

Four of them did indeed die. But the fifth, Jason Befort’s fiancée, feigned death, then got up, bleeding from head to toe, and walked a mile in subzero weather to the nearest house, where an elderly couple called 911.

It was later learned that this was the last stop on a crime rampage wherein the two black men had robbed a convenience store, kidnapped a man the next day and pistol-whipped him after forcing him to withdraw money from an ATM before letting him go, and violently robbed a 55-year-old cellist with the Wichita Symphony Orchestra and shot her in the spine. She died about three weeks later.

The district attorney in Wichita has concluded none of these crimes was motivated by racial hatred.

That has drawn a howl of protest from many in the community. Aside from the fact that the victims were of a different racial group from the perpetrators, they note the following:

1. The extreme sadism and violence went way beyond what was necessary to successfully complete a robbery.

2. As far as anyone knows, there was no warrant issued to search the residences of the accused to determine if they may have been motivated by racial hate literature.

3. There is no record of questioning close friends, family, neighbors or associates to determine if the two brothers had at any time expressed anti-white bigotry. asked the local newspaper, the Wichita Eagle, to send us the original story of the violence involving the Carr brothers, which was done. However, when we later asked for any information as to possible controversy on the “ethnic” or “cultural” angles to the crime, the newspaper did not respond.

The question is relevant in light of the coast-to-coast, wall-to-wall, night-after-night coverage of the outrageous murders of Matthew Shepherd, a gay man in Wyoming, and James Byrd Jr., a black man in Texas. In both of these cases, law enforcement authorities went the extra mile to establish that a “hate crime” had been committed. Why, critics wonder, has there been no publicly acknowledged similar investigation in the Wichita case?

Ignored by the Media

Other examples of a news blackout of reverse “hate crimes” include:

In Arkansas, two homosexuals were charged with sodomizing and killing 13-year-old Jesse Dirkhising. The boy died from suffocation after being bound, gagged with underwear in his mouth, blindfolded, taped to the bed, and sodomized by one gay man while the other gay man watched.

This happened shortly after the Matthew Shepherd killing. The latter was big national news. For months, the former did not get beyond the borders of Arkansas. Even after the Washington Times ran the story, the rest of the national media did not give it significant coverage.

On Feb. 28, a story in the Seattle Post-Intelligencer reported on Mardi Gras or “Fat Tuesday” celebrations in that city wherein 72 people were treated in hospitals, including two with “life-threatening” injuries. The PI story makes no mention of a racial angle. But one of its accompanying photos shows at least five black men surrounding a white woman in what appears to be a threatening manner. Has a “hate crime” investigation begun in this case?

A convicted child molester, Nathaniel Bar-Jonah, was released by Massachusetts authorities only to be nabbed a few years later in Montana, charged with butchering a 10-year-old boy in Great Falls and dining on his remains with unsuspecting friends. Was the nation informed by the national media of this possible “hate crime”?

Most of the world is well aware of the New York City police officers charged with shooting a black man whom they mistook for a wanted rapist. The officers were ultimately acquitted, but not before a long trial filled with political ramifications.

Later, when another police officer shot a minority who was not guilty of a crime, the heat of the New York media was turned not on the police officer but on Mayor Rudy Guiliani, a perennial target of racial demagogues such as Al Sharpton. Little, if any, attention was paid to the police officer in this case. I learned later, in reading a column, that this particular officer was himself a minority, a Hispanic man.

Question: Does the uneven “justice” meted out to the officers in these two cases in and of itself constitute a “hate crime” of sorts?

In 1999, a gunman entered a Fort Worth Baptist Church and massacred seven people, shouting, “I can’t believe you believe this junk!”

ABC’s Dean Reynolds said the FBI found “writings that condemned religion and law enforcement.” But did the media that had tried to connect Matthew Shepherd’s murder with religious conservatives now use that same standard to make a connection in this case with those who castigate religion?

No national media outlet mentioned this as a “hate crime.” Instead, this was an opportunity to beat the drum for the old left-wing chestnut, “gun control.”

In June of last year, New York City’s annual Puerto Rican Day parade was the scene of violence against more than 50 women.

The Electronic Telegraph reported: “Reeking of alcohol and marijuana, 15 to 25 men surged through the busy south-east corner of the [Central] park … spraying their victims with water and beer, tearing off their clothes and sexually abusing them.”

Later, National Review would comment that “the New York Times and liberals in general are bending over backwards to avoid the simple observation that the young men who harassed and assaulted women in Central Park were all blacks and Hispanics.”

No national TV outcry about “hate crimes” here.

The New York police, in this case, were accused of not moving aggressively enough to rescue the women and dealing with the perpetrators. Some believed that with the battering the police had taken from racial demagogues in the city, police officers did not relish another political assault accompanying TV videos of the uniformed police night-sticking minorities. It was as if they were saying, “Next time you need a cop, call Al Sharpton.”

The double standard has extended beyond “hate crimes.”

The Unabomber-Gore Connection

The Oklahoma City bombing, which was, in reality, mass murder, resulted in a Clintonian assault on conservative talk show hosts and the Republican House leadership, notwithstanding the lack of any connection whatsoever.

But when the Unabomber, Ted Kaczynski was collared in Montana and found with Al Gore’s “Earth in the Balance” heavily underlined, no dots were connected there in any national news stories or, of course, at the Clinton White House.

Examples are endless. Many thoughtful Americans are wondering when and if we are going to get back to considering a violent crime an abominable act regardless of who is the perpetrator or the victim.

Columnist Paul Craig Roberts says the assault on white males has been going on for three decades. He compares it to the assault on Jews by German intellectuals during the half century before the rise of Hitler.

There are those who note that George W. Bush drew 27 percent of the black vote when he sought re-election as governor of Texas in 1998. This is phenomenal for a Republican and perhaps a sign that the president who says he is “a uniter, not a divider” can finally bring the country together despite his failure to do as well with the black vote in his run for president.

His opposition to a Texas “hate crimes” bill indicates President Bush considers this kind of legislation to be divisive. Judges and juries have the responsibility of determining, case by case, when a violent crime merits extra punishment for an especially evil motive.

Many who have ventured to speculate on the outlook for the 21st century see a picture that is not pretty. They see terrorism on the rise on American soil, to say nothing of threats of nuclear and biological warfare.

It can be argued that at this juncture of our history, Americans need each other as never before, and that we can best help each other with a de-emphasis on “tribal prejudice” and an increasing emphasis on the commonality of our experience as Americans.


To the Editor

Every time a Democratic lawyer speaks in a courtroom, every time a Gore spokesman gets in front of a camera, every time Gore wraps himself in a dozen or so American flags before the media, you hear the same thing – their focus-group-tested line: “a fair and accurate count of all the votes.”

Some of you die-hard, yellow dog Democrats are never going to see this point, but if all the Democrats really want is to make sure that all of the votes are counted, then why, pray tell, did Democratic lawyers fan out across Florida two weeks ago with five pages of instructions from a Gore operative in Tallahassee on how to make sure that military absentee ballots weren’t counted?

Just think about those men and women in uniform overseas – and remember that Gore didn’t want their votes to count! Then draw your own conclusions as to how serious these clowns are about a “fair and honest count of all votes.”

Well, Gore introduced a new plan yesterday. Now he says he just wants seven days for what he calls a “full and accurate count of all votes.”

I know I’m belaboring the point, folks, but not once in Gore’s speech yesterday did he mention including the military absentee ballots in that “full and accurate count.”

Somewhere between 2 and 3 million ballots nationwide had some problems, most notably no presidential vote.

So, why not just count them all? We could go on a nationwide hunt for hanging chads! Perhaps a bounty would help.

The fact is every election has these problems. It’s been going on since the early 1960s when those vote-a-matic machines came into vogue. Maybe we’ll get rid of them now, but that won’t solve the problem. As long as there are people stupid enough to vote Democratic there will be people who are perfectly capable of screwing up even the simplest ballot.

Who are these Gore voters anyway?

Remember that map that showed counties won by Gore in blue and counties won by Bush in red? It was a giant glob of red over most of the middle of the nation with splatters of blue along the coasts and Great Lakes. A few interesting statistics:

Counties won by Gore: 677 Counties won by Bush: 2,434

Population of counties won by Gore: 127 million Population of counties won by Bush: 143 million

Square miles of country won by Gore: 580,000 Square miles of country won by Bush: 2,427,000

States won by Gore: 19 States won by Bush: 29

Now Professor Joseph Olson of the Hamline University School of Law in St. Paul, Minn., has produced another interesting new statistic. Professor Olson looked up the crime statistics for all of these counties and came up with this:

Average Murder per 100,000 residents in counties won by Gore: 13.2 Average Murder per 100,000 residents in counties won by Bush: 2.1

Ah, those Gore voters. This country needs more of them, right?

Want to observe the Palm Beach recount? Get out your wallet.

Using a Florida law that allows public access to ballots, Washington watchdog Judicial Watch headed down to Palm Beach County to inspect presidential ballots for signs of tampering. That’s the good news.

Larry Klayman and voting-fraud experts spent five hours checking ballots yesterday and received a bill afterward. The bad news? The five hours will cost Judicial Watch $5,760 – or $1,152 per hour. Palm Beach had told him he’d only be charged $500 an hour.

And Palm Beach has been far from accommodating. First, they refused Klayman access to the ballots. So he sued. Then, when he got access, the Palm Beach folks didn’t let him in until Tuesday. Then they wouldn’t let him count the votes and look at the disputed ballots. The county’s supervisor of elections, noted Democrat Theresa LePore, “was very snippy and nasty,” according to Klayman. He says she “tried to tell us we had no right to count votes.”

What did Klayman and the experts find? Vote fraud – and lots of it. Bush ballots were found in Gore’s pile. Palm Beach counters had no methodology for counting disputed ballots. Several paper ballots that had been destroyed in the machine counting process were “re-created” by officials or volunteers. And Klayman found a few ballots where chads had been scotch-taped to the back of the cards.

Aren’t you Palm Beach County residents proud of your elections commission? Aren’t you happy your tax dollars are being used to pay for Carol Roberts’ and Theresa LePore’s crusade to give Al Gore the presidency?

Democrats are spinning the losing battle in Florida. They’re claiming “intimidation” by Republican protesters caused the Miami-Dade County canvassing board to decide not to conduct a full manual recount of contested ballots. Top Democrats and Gore campaign officials called the protests a “near-riot” and congressional Democrats have asked the Justice Department to investigate.

Miami-Dade Elections Supervisor David Leahy told the Miami Herald last weekend that “intimidation” had absolutely nothing to do with the decision to end the recount. Instead, the canvassing board realized that the recount couldn’t possibly be completed by the Florida Supremes’ deadline of 5 p.m. Sunday. It couldn’t be done, so they stopped. That’s all. End of story. Miami-Dade decided to stop rather than continue with a hopeless effort. No “intimidation” here, although the Democrats would like you to think that.


To the Editor

In Chicago all Daley votes deserve to be counted. In Florida, all Democratic votes deserve to be hand recounted.


To the Editor

You mentioned that if you wanted to vote that you have to do it by mail-in ballot. Unless things have changed I believe that when you go to your annual township meeting you can change back to having a regular polling place again rather than use mail-in ballots.

So if you want a change round up people that believe the way you do and go to the township meeting and make your voice heard.

Ben Beyer


As the general election nears, I would like to take this opportunity to thank the people who voted for me in the primary. I felt and still feel I would have done a good job as County Commissioner but I didn’t receive enough votes in the primary. Even though I’m no longer a candidate, I hope everyone who possibly can gets out and votes in the general election, even those of you who are disillusioned with politics and politicians. Remember each vote counts much more in local races than it does in national ones. Still people seem to concentrate on the national ones. Our local elected officials make decisions that affect our lives directly and immediately. At this time I would like to give my support to Matt Huju for District 2 Commissioner. We need to improve some things in Itasca County and I believe he is now the best choice for the job. Our tax base is eroding, we need more good paying jobs, better healthcare and long term care options and we need to watch where and how the County spends its money. Matt wasn’t born with a silver spoon in his mouth and he knows what it’s like to work hard to make a living and raise a family. He has the experience and knows how important it is not to spend our hard-earned money foolishly. Whatever you do, please vote- a lot of people have paid a huge price to give you this opportunity, don’t waste it! The problem with politics isn’t so much the politicians as it is the people who don’t care enough about their lives or the future of our children to take ten minutes of their time to vote. Our last President was elected to office with less than 25% of the total eligible voters voting for him. Whether you’re in the group that loves him or hates him doesn’t matter. What matters is almost 50% of the people who could vote didn’t. Did you? I hope you vote in this election and in all future elections. It is your right and it’s your responsibility as a citizen enjoying the benefits of a democracy. Your vote is your voice. Use it before you lose it!

Bob Lawler

Marcell, MN

To Whom It May Concern:

I have, with great distress, been reading newspaper articles and listening to presidential candidates spouting detrimental statements about the education system and educators. As an educator with 36 years experience, I am also distraught that my colleagues have been relatively silent in response to these attacks. I would like to attempt to reply from the perspective of someone “in the trenches” and possibly give the theoreticians some ideas to consider before overhauling what is not broken.

Allow me first to discuss the issue of measuring the performance of a school district, school, or teacher through test results:

  1. A test measures only one small aspect of what happens in a classroom. Tests cannot measure the relational climate, the values acquired, and the attitudes portrayed. These are some of the things that are most meaningful to children and many times are what carry them through life much more effectively than cognitive material. I have had many students return to me and remark about those “unmeasurable” things they gleaned. Can the test allow for that?
  2. Students attend class with varying agendas and goals. Many come to school purely for the social interaction with their peers and the class activities are peripheral. Some believe they are going “to be like Mike” and do not need to be attentive to any academic issues. Can the test allow for that?
  3. Children come to school with different kinds and amounts of parental support. Within many households, both parents are wage earners, and by the time they come home to attend to their children they are tired and take minimal time seeing their children follow through with their school work. I have made uncountable “arrangements” with parents to help their child’s progress, only to be thwarted by lack of parental follow through! Many times parents have been more confrontive in their attitude about the educational process rather than seeing it as a team effort. Can the test allow for that?
  4. Test anxiety is a reality. Many students perform well when doing daily work and during class activities, but test out poorly because they become over anxious during a test or don’t know how to take a test effectively. Can the test allow for that?

Ponder also the fact that if an education system and its educators will be evaluated predominantly by testing, sheer survival will force the system to teach for the test! IT HAPPENS ALL OVER TEXAS! Now there is a well-rounded exciting curriculum.

Another disturbing concept being circulated is the idea that testing the teachers would improve the teaching. This attitude again places the onus of poor student performance upon the teachers rather than the variables listed concerning testing. Yes, a teacher should know enough to teach the course! I am not disputing that! But a simple factual test will not show how effective a person may be as a classroom teacher and will not lessen the effect of the variables. It would be a mistake to believe that having a great deal of knowledge about a topic would make a person a good teacher on that topic. I have known people who are very knowledgeable, but have no relational skills whatsoever. In addition, those with superior knowledge at times have no patience with those who do not want to know (and we experience a lot of that!).

Is it possible that politicians lack the courage to attack the real problem? Perhaps we should test the parents and hold them accountable the achievement of their children. Parenting takes time and discipline. Examine the possibility that alternative schools (voucher schools) work because the parents demand the best out of their children when they have to perform well to stay or the parents are making a bigger sacrifice financially, not because there is better teaching! Perhaps the blame for poor education should be laid at another doorstep closer to home!

Charles Peraino



I agree 100% with the letter about the light pollution from streetlights.
It is becoming a very big problem. You can see the “glow” of the “city” of
Bigfork from miles away and the pollution generated by just one light in a
farmyard can ruin the skyscape for miles.

Fortunately, there are solutions that address both needs. There are special
lights that actually illuminate the street/yard much more effectively than
the traditional light blasters sold at Menards, cost less money to operate,
are specially designed to eliminate “scatter and are of a light spectrum
that does NOT impede sky watching. Many cities in Europe employ these
lights with outstanding results. Some US cities require these lights for
replacement or new installations. I think I remember reading articles that
even speak to the decrease in crime in the areas where these lights are used
(apparently because they don’t create shadows due to the brighter
illumination and lack of scatter).

I read all these articles years ago, but I’ll bet some enterprising city
administrator or mayor would have lots of resources to tap IF there is a
political will to do so…Shall we address this at a city meeting?

Stephanie Littrell


I have a comment on the Streetscape in Marcell. I can understand why the local businesses would like the idea of a streetscape in Marcell to make it a lot nicer for the tourists, but what I don’t understand is the idea of streetlights. I don’t know if the people who want the lights have never been around a big city or if they have forgotten what it’s like. When you look at the sky in northern Minnesota you see billions more stars than you see in Minneapolis. It doesn’t take a whole lot of light to screw that up. I moved here over 20 years ago for the same reason most people come here on a vacation, to get away from the big city. People don’t come here to see something they see everyday in their respective cities. They don’t come here to see the man made monuments, they come here to see the unspoiled natural beauty of “The Edge of The Wilderness”. I for one certainly don’t want to look up and see nothing but the orange glow of streetlights. If you think streetlights are nice or safer, I challenge you to go spend a few months in Minneapolis or Chicago and then tell me what you think of your precious lights!Bob Lawler Marcell Minnesota

Dear Editor:

I would like to make a comment on the news media in general, which in some cases, includes editors.

I personally am getting weary of the sensationalistic, and many times biased reporting that goes on, especially on the evening news television broadcasts and in newspaper editorials and columns. Recent television coverage of incidents like the Columbine and other school shootings and not so recent coverage of the O.J. Simpson trial, are examples. A prime example of editorial or reporter bias is the way the NRA is portrayed by reporters or editors. Handgun Control Inc. is often referred to as a citizens lobby or a public interest group while the NRA is referred to as a lobbying juggernaut, radical gun lobby, or my favorite, a rich and paranoid organization. Why even CNN financial reporters refer to a steep drop in the Dow as a bloodbath.

Now I realize that an editorial is just that, and the writer may include his or her biases. But reporting is another matter; please tell it like it is without regard to sensationalism, television ratings or how many newspapers get sold. That is my 2 cents for what it is worth (which is probably less than 1 cent).

Dick Bevins, Marcell, MN