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On March 9, I received an email from the Town of Trade Lake that there would be a meet and greet for Tony Zurwaski, a candidate for Chairperson of the township on Saturday, March 13, for 6 hours. I was surprised Ramona Moody, the other candidate, would not be available for questions. My surprise turned to dismay when I found out Ms. Moody was not invited to participate in such a forum and that prior to this, the town hall had been essentially closed to the public due to the pandemic. Because the email came from the township and not directly from the candidate, there is an appearance of township support of this candidate. Since when is it okay for a government body to use time and resources to hold a meet and greet for one candidate? What happened to equal time provisions? Additionally, signs in support of Mr. Zurwaski, Mr. Dornan and Mr. Lesak, have been showing up in the township. The signs do not say who is sponsoring the signs (i.e. friends of, The Farm Bureau, etc.). I asked who was paying for the free signage they were giving out and they refused to answer.

The most important issue in Trade Lake is the proposed CAFO. Both Mr. Zurwaski and Mr. Doornink (who also attended the meeting and is running for a supervisor position) gave me their take on the CAFO. Both quickly assured me of their neutrality before I was even able to ask what their position was. I asked many questions and quickly ascertained that their knowledge of the environmental and health risks associated with factory farming was very limited, leading me to wonder if “thou doth protest too much” about their neutrality on this issue. I believe the people who elect today, have an obligation to stand up and be leaders in preserving the health and wellbeing of our natural resources for generations to come.

Unfortunately, I will not be able to vote in this election since my husband and I are half-timers. We have been homeowners in the Town of Trade Lake since 1994 but our residency is currently in Woodbury. I bring this up because Woodbury found out the value of 20/20 hindsight the hard way. In the 1950’s, leadership in Woodbury, chose to allow 3M to dump Perfluoroalkyl Substances (PFAS) in what was a very rural area at the time. Fast forward to 2021, the drinking water is unsafe, 7 of 19 city wells have been shut down, and 3M has paid $850 million in a settlement to try to rectify these problems. The money may help to clean up future aquafers, but it comes too late to help the people who may have died from various cancers linked to the PFAS in drinking water.

Trade Lake is at a crossroads, please turn in the right direction. I hope and pray that in 40-50 years from now our kids and grandkids will not regret the choices we made in 2021. I ask that you consider voting for Ramona Moody for Chairperson and Elizabeth King and Norm Peterson for supervisors.

Tracey Ehret, Trade Lake