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Letters from our readers

Thanks for a great NLOC season

As a board member of the Northern Light Opera Company, I, on behalf of the board, wish to congratulate the director, Lisa Dove, her husband Greg Paul, set designer/technician, musical director, Paul Dove, actors, musicians, and all who were involved in the summer production of “Guys and Dolls.”

We heard a myriad of wondrous compliments from those who attended the show: “The acting and singing was superb.” “The set was so very imaginative.” “It’s wonderful to see so many young people on stage.” “This just might be NLOC’s best!”

Thank you for all the hard work, the endless hours, and the fantastic energy that went into “Guys and Dolls.” We are looking forward to “Amahl and the Night Visitors,” NLOC’s next production, Dec. 12-14 at the Armory. What a way to welcome the Christmas season!

Martha Vetter

Northern Light Opera Company board member

Remove stigma of mental health issues

September is National Suicide Awareness month. The American Association of Suicidology released figures for 2011 which indicate that suicide is the 2nd leading cause of death in young people ages 15-24 and that it kills someone every 13.3 minutes.

It’s time to remove the stigma attached to mental health issues and suicide by opening lines of communication to raise awareness of this killer, and equip ourselves with tools to prevent losing loved ones to suicide.

Sept. 4, 2011, life as my family knew it came crashing down. My son, Caleb, took his own life two days before the start of his junior year. People want to believe that suicide happens to “troubled” families. Caleb was an A/B student. He played golf, managed the hockey team, had good friends, never got into trouble and was a bright light in our lives. He was not anyone’s definition of a troubled teen.

The life we live now has laughter and moments we enjoy, but they are tinged with the ever present awareness of Caleb’s absence. We don’t just miss him. We ache for him. Our grief journey will never end. We hurt for every other family we hear about who suffers this same debilitating loss.

It’s time to admit this killer walks among us. It’s time to talk to each other, to care about each other and to let people know it’s OK to reach out for help when they are in crisis. The National Suicide Prevention lifeline is 1-800-273-8255. Sources of information, resources and help exist in groups like the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP) and Shatter the Silence. We are walking to raise funds to support the AFSP’s programs in September. You can donate by visiting click on Out of the Darkness Community Walks, then the donate button and look for Caleb’s Penguins Team.

Renee Anderson

Park Rapids

A tribute to fishing in lakes country

I am currently a Sarasota, Fla., resident nearing 85 years old. Allow me to share the following tribute to your area.

My late parents, Dr. and Mrs. G. Merrill Lenox, introduced me around 1935 to Pelican Lake, Bemidji, where we spent part of one summer. I was 5 years old. My memories are twofold: a tornado roared through camp and moved a rowboat 60 feet down a beach and I dropped a boat anchor on my bare foot and cried for 24 hours.

Dad, a Minneapolis Baptist preacher, took me and the church custodian to Potato Lake in 1936 for an exploratory viewing. Inverlee Lodge was the central frame building and there were just a few cabins then.

Little did we know then that we would be returning to the exact location for most of the next 17 years. My brother Pete and sisters Nancy and Sue had joined the family.

I can’t fully convey the feeling of magic we experienced each summer we reached a narrow dirt road, which took us by Potato Lodge to Inverlee. It was as if a genie had appeared to escort us to Shangri-La.

All of us fished, not only on Potato (which suffered some lean years) but also on Bad Axe, Bottle, Stocking, Dead (Ojibway), Mantrap, Skunk, Schoolcraft and others.

Permit me to relate a few highlights of those years.

Boatloads of crappies were caught, especially on Stocking. One time one boat crew caught its limit quickly, but the other boat crew, a few feet away, caught nothing.

Dad lost a trophy northern pike on Stocking after a 45-minute battle. He tried to horse it over the side and the line broke.

Dad lost a whopper northern pike on Dead Lake. He reeled it in too soon and the sight of the departing tail still haunts me.

We took many large mouth bass from Dead and Stocking. I cast several river runts into tall birch trees just outside the first bay on Dead.

I caught a whole stringer of live pan fish in the east bay of Potato.

My sister Sue caught a dozen rock bass near a stump just off the Potato shore – and made me throw them back to preserve their lives.

A North Dakota gale roared in one night and nearly blew away my grandfather who was watching it 20 feet from the cabin. The storm downed 150 trees but did no damage to cabins or cars parked nearby.

Each summer I read every page of the Fuller’s Tackle Shop guide until we could view the real thing on ice in the window.

I could go on and on but you get the idea. From all the Lenoxes of those generations we partly owe our well-being to the wonder of those years

John G. Lenox

Sarasota, Fla.