Joy in sharing jack-o’-lanterns

With great sadness I previously announced that my 2020 pumpkin display would be my last. This was not because of a premonition of my demise due to COVID-19 but because my physical condition tells me to not abuse my body to this extent anymore. That is a hard reality after 46 consecutive years of providing family entertainment, which I enjoyed as much as anyone.

READ MORE: Lighting up jack-o’-lanterns one more time

I could have never done this, however, without the legions of volunteers over the years. I am so thankful for their help and wish they could have received the accolades I received. Some of them have passed but they and all others will never be forgotten.

I also thank my fans for coming back year after year where I got to meet ( in some cases) four generations. I also remember fondly many people from around the country and even the world who took the time to see the pumpkins.

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The many people who donated food and money for the food shelf, I thank you wholeheartedly because your generosity was one of the drivers of my passion to put on a great show. This past show was one of the best where 1,125 pounds of food and $2,800 were donated.

My dream these last years was for the whole community to get involved in this family tradition. Maybe there is someone in town who just might not want this event disappear. To that person, you would get all the encouragement and the knowledge of how to do it from me.

Year’s ago my brother-in-law said to me, “You could make a lot of money with this talent.” All I can say is that if you have an unusual talent like mine, share it with others and your only payment is the joy of seeing others so happy to see your work.

Bill Habedank

Red Wing

Human Rights Commission isn’t a complaint clearinghouse

The Red Wing Human Rights Commission has launched respected, successful governance practices to manifest the common good. Two recent examples are: ushering in the Statement of Intent passed by the City Council and applied during local government public meetings to foster civility as well as the commission’s recent urging that the council pass an ordinance to ban conversion therapy that tries to change a person’s sexual orientation or gender identity in the city. These exemplary rulings create a welcoming community that encourages social justice, well-being, and helpful remedies.

Lately, however, the HRC seems to be slightly going off the rails.

The commission will soon be asking the City Council, for a second time, to approve a complaint process program that would entail supplying trauma and data security training to human rights commissioners, who would then turn around and address in-person, written or telephonic complaints from residents about discriminatory or other unjust practices -- guiding them to seek a resource for resolution.

While the idea to listen to residents and help them obtain justice is noble, well, it does not fit with the normal character of a public commission: to serve in an advisory role on specific policy and to educate the public on topics of concern. In fact, it transforms the HRC into a clearinghouse for complaints. So, it behooves the City Council to orchestrate a better and/or more efficient public service avenue that would enable the HRC to help residents seek restitution for their problems.

During these heady days of social unrest, many of us quickly forget the practical ways we can help our neighbors resolve heartfelt concerns by simply implementing public service announcements that describe how to handle specific situations. Our HRC can broadcast PSAs, using Channel 6, mainstream media, social media as well as distribute tangible tip-sheets around town that directly tell citizens who they need to call or contact when they believe they are being discriminated against (due to race, age, ethnicity, gender, disability, or religion), harassed, or experiencing some other form of social unfairness.

Expediting a PSA campaign is an uncomplicated way to unite the community, while reaching the greatest possible audience, including those looking to redress a grievance. City Council members, please guide the HRC to use the best method for all concerned to help reduce inequality and do no harm.

Joan Halgren

Red Wing

Grant wasn’t part of 1892 race

I enjoyed Roseanne Grosso's column titled “Enough Already. Sing it with me” in the Nov. 14 issue of the Republican Eagle. Although I am not a historian, I have recently read several articles about President Ulysses Grant and his wife. President Grant died in 1885 after serving two terms as president. Thus, he could not have participated in the 1892 presidential race as the article stated.

Like Roseanne, I am glad that the 2020 election is over. The fat lady will sing when our current president accepts the result.

Jane K. Baker

Red Wing