Mille Lacs News
Petition Speaks Loud and Clear: Just
Say NO to NEXUS!
Despite the number of local
citizens (most of whom reside in Bradbury Township) who signed a Petition
which opposes the acquisition, annexation and rezoning of properties in
Bradbury Township by the city of Onamia for the purpose of relocating Mille
Lacs Academy (Nexus), a juvenile sex offender treatment facility, the Onamia
city government moved forward with it's plans. The People had spoken. But
their voices were ignored.
Later, it would be
their silence which gained attention.
City Hall was packed at the
May 9th City Council meeting. Stacked, might be a more accurate description
as grinning, laughing Nexus employees arrived, all dressed up in their
Sunday best, in jolly anticipation of the "three-ring circus" they'd been
invited (or requested) to attend. "We can sell popcorn and balloons out on
the sidewalk," one city official is reported to have said, apparently
bemused. Why all the joviality and hullabaloo?
Because a group of neighbors
trying to save their homes was on the agenda. And the Mayor looked forward
to shooting them down. The stage was set. The deck was stacked. It was Show
"You can come to the meeting,"
said Councilman Bill Hill, "but you won't be allowed to talk about it. [the
Mille Lacs Academy]" Hill went on to explain that there would be a public
informational meeting later on, where citizens could ask questions and
express their concerns. But nothing about Nexus would be discussed on
May 9th. (Why then, did so many Nexus supporters show up?)
So the Neighbors came,
Petition in hand, not to talk, but to put their objections on record.
Mayor Larry E. Milton entered
the meeting chamber whistling tunelessly. He was dressed casually in shorts.
Bill Hill sat red-faced, staring down at his hands. None of the councilmen
made any eye contact with the group of Neighbors whom they were forcing the
sex offender facility upon. As the Mayor continued to whistle (tunelessly),
it became evident that this circus t'weren't no Ringling Brothers -
but more like a Junior Highschool carnival.
A spokesman from the
Neighborhood simply read a prepared statement protesting the actions of the
Onamia government, presented the Petition and sat down. Mayor Milton
proceeded to invite questions from the audience. Having been told by Hill
that nobody would be allowed to speak about the Nexus project, all remained
And that silence, apparently,
became a problem for people.
Vivian Clark, Mille Lacs Messenger, wrote this:
After the Bradbury Bunch
wrote, circulated and and submitted The Petition to the Onamia City Council,
Larry Milton made up his own petition. Larry's petition said basically the
same thing, only opposite. His signers support the building of the
sex offender facility on the chosen location.
The trouble is: none of his
signers were from Bradbury Township, live in the area of the 38 acres, or
would be personally affected by that location.
Plus, Larry's petition had
"ringers", signers from far away, like southern Minnesota - folks who had
nothing at all to do with the situation here.
Larry's petition is invalid. It doesn't
reflect the will of the people who are directly affected.
Besides, of course his signers support the
chosen location: It isn't in their backyards! It's like, "Sure I'll
sign your petition - as long as you keep that institution away from ME!"
Milton asked the
citizens to voice their questions, concerns or comments.
No one spoke.
"Well, I am not happy with the rumors going around the community," Milton
said. "I have had a lot of calls lately - negative ones. I thought the
community was behind this."
Milton paused and again asked the audience for discussion.
Although the council was not prepared for a public hearing on the matter,
Milton said, "I have answers that could clear up a lot of the questions and
concerns. But if nobody has any, then I will accept the petition and move
City of Onamia
- Quiet crowd filled city hall, by Vivian Clark, Mille Lacs Messenger
5/16/2007 4:00:00 PM
Mille Lacs News
Bringing you back
Clark failed to report was how an irate Milton tried to bait the Neighbors
into a confrontation. He'd stacked the deck. He'd promised a circus. And now
he was losing face in front of his friends. He got mad.
"C'mon you gutless people!
Say something! " the Mayor shouted at the crowd.
Bradbury neighbors refused to dignify Milton's attempts to goad them. They
were respectfully quiet. After all, they had been told to remain silent by
Councilman Hill. And with Milton's reputation, they weren't sure that if
they did speak, he wouldn't "slip another one by", later saying that
anything said would constitute the public informational meeting. In other
words: the Neighbors don't trust the Mayor of Onamia.
Shelly Uden's brother,
Kevin Anderson of the Mille Lacs Messenger, had this to say:
Larry's friend - Mike Uden - was one
of Larry's petition carriers. Mike is more than Larry's friend... Mike owns
Meat on Mille Lacs, a local butcher store which just happens
to be next to one of the other potential building sites for Nexus.
By the way, Mike Uden is married to
the sister of editor Kevin Anderson. They own property abutting the
Crosier land across Highway 169. He couldn't sell a plot to build a supper
club if the Mille Lacs Academy was located there because:
Kevin Anderson - Fear of public speaking or afraid of
It is said that
public speaking is a fear that is difficult to overcome. In fact, many fear
it more than death itself.
So it may explain why, when Onamia Mayor Larry Milton asked a crowd
assembled at a recent Onamia City Council meeting to "voice' their opinion -
in other words, speak their minds about the relocation of the Mille Lacs
Academy, the audience fell silent.
Fear of public
speaking or afraid of the answers,
by Kevin Anderson, Mille Lacs Messenger
5/16/2007 4:53:00 PM
You can't own a liquor license
within 1000 feet of a correctional institution.
And what good is a supper club without a
so, it was decided to relocate the Mille Lacs Academy to a rural,
residential area instead.
the Mille Lacs Messenger reporters could have asked the
citizens why they remained mute. And they would have been told that
Councilman Bill Hill said they would not be allowed to speak; and they
didn't trust Mayor Larry to be fair to them, especially considering the herd
of Nexus employees he'd gathered, including Kathe Dellacecca (before she
left her position as Executive Administrator of the Mille Lacs
Academy.) These Nexus people don't usually attend city council meetings.
Officer Bob, the town cop was holding a "fact" sheet about the Mille Lacs
of all of that "fear and ignorance" propaganda the Messenger reports
about the Bradbury folks protesting the wrongful placement of the sexual
offender facility in their backyards, they could have written about Larry
Milton's "circus" scheme. (Popcorn and balloons on the sidewalk...)
It was a all a set up.
But the Messenger
accomplished what it set out to do. The Silent Minority received
scorn from the community. They were labeled "the Bradbury Idiots". The "fear
and ignorance" card had worked it's magic once again.
Caution: Not for the
Poem of the Day
We made a brand-new kite today,
And soon as we were through
We came out here to fly it,
And the wind just blew and blew.
the Neighbors were neither fearful nor ignorant. They didn't fear public
speaking more than death. And their battle was far from over. It had just
begun. And those who listened to their story learned the Truth. And they
became allies in Bradbury's war against Onamia's sex offenders.
We need better