West End News March 10

A one room school house
A one room school house

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Please remember that trained volunteers will be at Birch Grove Center to help West End folks prepare their income tax returns each Wednesday. The volunteers may help everyone 55 years old or older; as well as folks with low or moderate income. I continue to be unbelieving that moderate income for a couple with two dependent children is $80,000 a year. That should cover almost everyone in the county.

The service is first come, first served. The volunteers start at 9 a.m. There is no charge for the help.

There certainly is a lot of publicity about the upcoming census. This census is very important for Minnesota and for Cook County. Minnesota is within a margin of 1,000 residents of losing one congressional seat. The number of congressional seats is calculated with the population. If a congressional seat needs 400,000 people to exist, then the population of the state will be divided by 400,000 to get the number of seats that Minnesota will have. If there are a lot of people in an area, a small geographic area will get a seat. Fewer people means a larger area.

Our congressional district is already the district with the largest land area in the state. Should a congressional district be lost, the district will cover even more territory, and we will be included. So, it is important that we keep our present eight congressmen. Make it a personal responsibility to be sure that you are counted. Much funding and even more important adequate representation in Congress is at stake. We need all the representation we can get.

A good example is the current state of school financing in our state and nation. I have been connected with education at all levels for many years. I cannot remember a time when school financing was not a burning issue. Everyone agrees that public education is essential. For some reason there is always emotional tension about funding our schools. Right now the situation is worse than any time I can remember. Not just here, but all over.

The pioneer immigrants of the West End built a school right after they built their houses. These folks were tight with money; but they agreed that money spent on educating their children is money well spent. If you wanted to get in trouble in the West End, suggest something to harm the school. This attitude was communicated to the children. The children were expected to work hard in school and to learn their lessons.

The attitude of the West End folks was summed up neatly by Ted Tofte, a first generation child who became a well-known school superintendent in Minnesota. Ted said, “In the schools there are things that would be nice to have, there are things that the school ought to have, and things that the school has to have.”  This was the secret of the success of the West End schools in the early days; and the tradition is carried on to this day by Birch Grove School.

As a result, the academic achievements of these children then and now are impressive. Many academic and professional advanced degrees have been earned by West End children. Many matured to positions of leadership in their communities as well as at the state and national level.

The WTIP fund drive has the motto, "So Many Reasons.” This excellent radio station is key to community effort for the census, for volunteer participation, and for the unreserved support of all of our schools. Supporting this station is one way that we can preserve the quality of life that we all enjoy.

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