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Letters: Spruce up the downtown eyesore; Get out from behind social media rumor mill

Spruce up the downtown eyesore

With all the development and push to make downtown look historic, it would seem to me this would include the building on the 100 block of West Second Street. The white finish building and corroded, unsightly, unused billboards along with "missing" light pole should be addressed as it does not seem to fit in. I take it the old Hudson Sprayer building when renovated will have a brown tone neutral finish similar to other buildings downtown and houses to the west, which would be suggested for this building to "fit in." It looks like an eyesore in the midst of everything else downtown when entering the area.

Art Luedtke


Wait is a smart, strong, competent candidate

I am writing this letter in support of Kelsey Waits for District 200 School Board.

I had the privilege of meeting Kelsey through a volunteer activity this past summer in Hastings and I was immediately impressed. I met with her again a few weeks later and was able to learn more about Kelsey and what she stands for and plans to bring with her as a school board member.

Kelsey is a smart, down-to-earth, common-sense person. She is genuine and honest. She is student oriented and plans to be an advocate for all students.

Kelsey is an individual that obtains all the facts on a given subject before she makes a sound decision that is fair for all. She is approachable and open to all ideas brought to her. And she is not afraid to stand up and voice her knowledge and opinion.

She is a mother of young children and is passionate about their education and future and also for our school district and all of our students' futures.

I encourage you to visit her info page at and vote this November for a smart, strong, and competent candidate to be on our school board.

Valerie Estabrook


Vote no on bond issue

Be aware when voting that within the school district's bond question is $1.62 million for synthetic turf at Todd Field, which will have to be replaced within six to 10 years.

Jim Kelly


Support Gergen for School Board

I've known Scott Gergen for more than 40 years, having graduated with him from Hastings High School. I trust Scott to make the right choices for our children, while working closely with other School Board members, teachers, parents and students.

As an elected official myself, I understand how important it is to build consensus, listen to various opinions, weigh the facts, and make informed decisions that lead to the best outcomes. Scott Gergen is that kind of leader in our community, and I'm proud to support him for Hastings School Board.

Lisa Leifeld

Hastings City Council Member, Ward 3

Get out from behind social media rumor mill

As a former journalism student and newspaper reporter, I support each person's right to speak under the First Amendment. This right is particularly important when it comes to matters of public policy and government. I may disagree with those who take a knee or burn a flag, but I support their right to do so. However, constitutional freedoms are not unlimited. Case law established that no one is free to run into a theater and yell "Fire!" when there is no imminent threat or danger. Neither is anyone free to intimidate, harass or slander another person whether they are a public official or not. I am aware of a flier being circulated, mailed and left on cars in Hastings. I consider this propaganda devoid of factual or helpful information. I don't consider it a courageous act of free speech. It is ill-conceived noise communication meant to incite emotion such as fear and anger. The citizens of Hastings are better than that. We can communicate freely and openly with each other while respecting process and treating each other as human beings.

Justice Brandeis wrote this in the Whitney case, a landmark free speech case, about the solution for fighting back against untrue statements — more free speech: "If there be time to expose through discussion the falsehood and fallacies, to avert the evil by the process of education, the remedy to be applied is more speech, not enforced silence."

So I am speaking out here. As ​your representative, I invite ​you to comment freely, openly and with your name ​signed proudly about things that concern you. Call, email and meet with ​us. Please get out from behind the social media rumor mill and engage in true community activism. I've also heard a lot of public comment lately that doesn't contain much, if any, substance or fact. As ​your representative, I am only interested in facts and data. I empathize with strong emotion and passion, but it isn't helpful in decision making. We ​must separate emotion from policy. If your policy idea is good, sound and based in logic, there is zero reason to rush through the lawmaking process. Our system is meant to take time to discuss, reach consensus and then enact into law. Law moves slowly so that policies are not rash and reactive.

All that said, I certainly don't condone any speech intended to harass or intimidate council members or any member of the city of Hastings staff. If you want your opinion taken seriously, it should be able to stand its own ground. The truth is its own best defense.

Lori Braucks

Hastings City Council member at-large