Apparently, that’s what the folks in Onamia are asking. Bob Statz says he’s been hearing comments that I’m some kind of idiot because I said 82-year-old Marion Wright lives next door to the proposed Mille Lacs Academy site.
(Background for those who don’t read the paper: Mille Lacs Academy is a treatment program for juvenile sex offenders. They have been housed in the old Crosier boarding school but now want to build a facility on the west side of Onamia. To make it happen, the city is annexing land from Bradbury Township, re-zoning it, and probably giving a $27,000 per year tax abatement. Neighbors, including Ms. Wright, are not happy about it.)
Bob tells me Marion lives in town, and I was supposed to know that, even though when I went to take her picture and asked how to get to her place, she directed me to her old homestead by the Mille Lacs Academy — not to her apartment in town.
I guess maybe I should ask everyone if they really live where they say they live, or if they’re feeding me a line. “Ms. Wright, can you prove to me that you live here?”
So I called Marion and told her I was taking heat because people say she lives in town, and she said, “I live two places.” She said she doesn’t always sleep at the old homestead because she doesn’t like the sound of ATVs on the Soo Line Trail.
It’s really a moot point anyway. Nobody tells people who own cabins where they spend weekends that they should have no say in what goes on next door.
I think what’s really going on is that some people don’t want certain points of view represented in the paper. If you agree with them, you belong in the paper. If you happen to oppose the project they’re advocating, you don’t deserve a voice in the local paper.
That goes against everything I believe in.
I happen to think Mille Lacs Academy is a good program that contributes to the city and the region, and it won’t be too noticeable in its new location, but I feel for the folks who live nearby and don’t really want a $14 million 5-building campus going in next door. They have been a little extreme, but I don’t blame them. When you’re fighting city hall and a multi-million dollar company (even though it’s non-profit) you have to make a lot of noise.
As long as I’m editor of the Messenger, everyone gets a voice. That’ll get me in trouble sometimes, because too many people out there think only their own viewpoint is legitimate.