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CLIMB Theatre presents “Resiliency”
By Lynda Berg Olds
CLIMB Theatre, out of Inver Grove Heights, Minn., is a non-profit educational touring theatre company that travels to schools all over the Midwest to perform plays and teach classes on a wide range of subjects designed to urge students not just to take action in their communities, but to self advocate for their own mental health.
Last week was Mental Health Week at Luck School and the CLIMB troupe brought their Red Company, which is not just a theatre performance, but also a teaching one. One could say they brought their “A Game” to Luck.
The Ledger Press was able to attend the session designed for the high school students, grades nine through 12. Their “Resiliency” performance engaged the students and really got them thinking about positive coping skills when life throws lemons their way, such as divorce, doing poorly in school, money troubles, etc. The Red Company, comprised of Bridget Schwefel and Zack Robb, played various roles [mostly of students, but also of parents and teachers], which demonstrated some of the trials, tribulations and tests that often face teenagers.
Music played a large part in the program, setting the mood. Schwefel and Robb clearly have their fingers on the heartbeat of what is hip for this up and coming generation. – And it was loud, which the students also could relate to.
Actor/educator Schwefel noted “CLIMB” is an acronym for “Creative Learning Ideas for the Mind and Body.”
“We talk to students every day about some pretty challenging topics,” began Schwefel, introducing the “Resiliency” topic. “What do you think of you think of the word resiliency?” she asked the students.
“Strong,” said one. “Being able to bounce back,” said another.
“At CLIMB, we say that resiliency is being able to acknowledge a challenging situation and find positive ways to keep moving forward – much like bouncing back.”
Schwefel’s character is named “Kai.” The students were asked to pay attention to what happens in Kai’s day – and how she decides to deal with, which is what they’d be talking about later.
Super loud music plays and Kai has headphones on. It is before school and her dad has to scream at her to get her attention to let her know the bus is coming. She’s late. A classmate she jokes around with grabs her art book. Kai is a talented artist and was fully expecting to get first place in a school contest. The classmate gives her a hard time, says all her sketches are female, so therefore she must be gay. He offers his “services” if she wants to find out for sure if she is “batting for the right team.”
The music pounds. The bell rings and Kai slips into the class.
“You’re cutting it a bit close there aren’t you?”
“Sorry Mr. Giller.”
Giller passes out test results and the class has done poorly. Kai got a D-. She asks Giller if she can do some extra credit to bring her grades up. He says she must apply herself and study more. Giller says he doesn’t give extra credit – which Kai knows but tries anyways. She says she studied [Newton’s Law] for hours, but doesn’t take tests well.
Giller tries sending her to a counselor [in room 124] who can help her come up with a plan.
“Because you think I’m stupid?”
“It’s pretty normal to have a plan, lots of students have plans.”
“Room 142 right?”
“It’s room 124.”
It appears Kai may be dyslexic.
Loud music, mostly dark, plays between classes.
Kai is visibly frustrated and talks a bit with a buddy.
“This day has turned into the most upside-down, sky is falling, nothing is going to go well sort of day where there is no joy, no laughter, no sunshine, no rainbows and no unicorns.”
“Well I’m glad to see you’re not blowing it out of proportion or anything.”
“I was late for school so I missed the bus and so my dad was pissed off at me – and then when I got to school, I got to Earth Science and got a D- on my test – and then when I decided to ask Giller for extra credit…
“…Giller doesn’t give extra credit.”
“I know that, but I thought it doesn’t hurt to ask right? I mean it doesn’t physically hurt, but it hurt my ego when he implied that I am stupid and should seek counseling – and that creep Warren Flint…”
“…Ah, feel ya up Flint.”
“Right. He was all over me. And to top it all off – this is my lunch [nasty looking sandwich]. My dad forgot to put money in the account…so now I am stuck eating this moldy PB and J.”
“Was the lunch lady at least nice about it?”
“She made me put in my code like 17 times and the girls behind me were trying not to laugh…”
Kai’s day gets worse. She so needs and expects and wants to win this art contest/scholarship – and she is very talented. But, no – some kid who doesn’t need it wins – and Kai is pretty low.
She gets home to find her dad drinking. He’s lost his job. He feels terrible about everything – especially forgetting her lunch money. Oh. And mom is gone.
Dad goes to bed. The Crown Royal is sitting right there. Kai pours herself a little, then a little more. And as she takes the whole bottle and the scene fades to black, the song “So You Had a Bad Day,” by Daniel Powter plays. Loud.
['Cause you had a bad day
You're taking one down
You sing a sad song just to turn it around
You say you don't know
You tell me don't lie
You work at a smile, and you go for a ride
You had a bad day
The camera don't lie
You're coming back down, and you really don't mind
You had a bad day…]
Now it’s time for the class discussion and participation. How did Kai cope? What could she have done differently? What might be some more positive responses when everything goes wrong?
The Red Company Team throws a bunch of bouncy balls to kids all over in the risers of the big gym. On each one is some kind of hardship – from divorce to the car breaking down. Markers are tossed and caught by the kids and the balls are passed around as the students write a positive coping skill on the balls.
Then comes the conversation – and the luck kids have come up with super coping mechanisms to deal with some of the harsh things that life throws at them.
It’s been an eventful Mental Health Week in Luck, with stuff going on every day. It is beautiful outside and now the kids are going outside to play.
It’s a good day.
February 1, 2018
“We don’t want to be Las Vegas”
By Lynda Berg Olds
At Monday night’s meeting of the Village of Balsam Lake, two Minit Mart representatives were present to plead their case for new, more modern signage – of the digital variety. The village’s new Zoning Administrator, Benjamin Campbell, was also in attendance. He provided an opinion of sorts, which basically said that even the current sign is not up to code. That is, it is too tall and doesn’t meet the five-foot minimum setback. Plus, the electronic sign would be considered “fluctuating,” which is also against the village ordinances.
Try as they might, the Minit Mart reps couldn’t get anywhere There was no concession on the part of the village for a sign that fluctuates – the biggest reason cited for this, is that particular corner is dangerous as it is. Trustees were afraid a moving digital message would distract drivers – again - on an already dangerous curve.
Most of the trustees weighed-in, agreeing it was too much of a distraction to have flashing lights so close to the road. In fact, Campbell said the current sign is in the Right of Way.
The reps asked, “So are you stating we cannot have a reader board?
Yes, that is what the trustees were saying – not even on the side of their building. Village President Geno D’Agostino said the sign could be lit, it just can’t be flashing. The Minit Mart reps were pretty much sent back to their proverbial drawing board.
Trustee Preble stated bluntly, “It doesn’t meet the requirements so we can’t help you. We don’t want to be Las Vegas. We are kind of a quaint little town.”
February 8, 2018
Plea hearing Thursday for village president
By Paul Rignell
Bryan Beseler, recent Dresser village president and a former Polk County Board supervisor, is scheduled to appear in court 3:00 p.m. Thursday for a plea hearing concerning felony charges that were filed against him early last May.
He received a charge of child abuse with intent to cause great bodily harm, and a second charge of child abuse recklessly causing great harm, stemming from an incident that was reported at his Dresser home last April 21.
A 4-year-old boy who was treated at Regions Hospital in St. Paul for massive brain injuries later that day had been in Beseler’s care at the Dresser home around lunchtime that day. The boy had visited the home with the boy’s mother, whom at the time had been dating Beseler.
While the mother had gone to a St. Croix Falls business to pick up food for their lunch, Beseler told investigators that he and the boy played in the home by chasing each other with foam toy pistols. When the mother returned to the home, she found the child to be in distress. Beseler reported that the boy had vomited after running into a door frame during their play.
The child has survived his injuries, for which immediate treatment included removal of a portion of his skull due to swelling of the brain.
Some doctors stated opinions during investigations that the boy’s injuries likely came from trauma more severe than the incident which Beseler had described.
The defendant pleaded not guilty to the charges during an arraignment last spring, and he has been free on signature bond of $25,000.
A jury trial was scheduled to begin May 7 before the announcement of Thursday’s plea hearing came earlier this week. Maximum sentencing for the first felony charge would carry penalties of 40 years in prison and $100,000 in fines, while the second felony charge would carry maximum penalties of 15 years in prison and fines totaling $50,000.
Beseler has been in a re-elected term as Dresser village president since early April 2017.
The Village Board held a special meeting 5:00 p.m. March 28 (after this edition went to press) for considering a resignation letter from Beseler as the president.
The board was also to consider an appointment of one of the trustees among them to complete Beseler’s lead term through April 2019.
March 29, 2018
First-degree intentional homicide attempt
By Lynda Berg Olds
A sergeant with the Polk County Sheriff’s Department responded to a report of a shooting in the southeastern-most corner of the county on Saturday afternoon shortly after 1:00 p.m. The reporting party met the sergeant at the County Line and 30th Avenue outside of Clear Lake. The caller was in a 2005 GMC Yukon SUV.
“I could see the rear window was shattered and one bullet hole was in the tail gate of this vehicle,” the sergeant said. “I could see three bullet holes in the right rear quarter panel of this vehicle.”
The sergeant went on to say that the reporting party said he had gone to his previous address on 20th Avenue to retrieve his camper. While there, he was backing up to the camper when the male he knows as Lenny Anderson (later identified as Leonard Claude Anderson) approached him with a rifle. The caller/victim said he was standing on the driver’s running board with one foot, the other foot in the vehicle when Anderson discharged the firearm into the SUV, three shots to the quarter panel. Anderson told the man he had five seconds to get off the property – he was trespassing.
The victim said he immediately started driving off, out the driveway, when Anderson again started shooting at him. The sergeant states in his report in support of probable cause for arrest, that one shot shattered the victim’s rear window and another struck the tailgate of the SUV.
“One bullet struck the inside visor just above [the victim]. The windshield directly in front of him was also struck…that’s when he dialed 911.
The victim described Anderson’s gun as a camo 22 rifle with two large magazines connected to each other. He also advised the sergeant that Anderson lives on the property in the motorhome parked north of the house.
In the meantime, a Sheriff’s Deputy was watching the address where this took place when he observed Anderson’s vehicle go south on 10th Street. The Deputy stopped the vehicle as it pulled into 176 10th Street in Polk County.
Anderson was taken into custody, where he admitted he was shooting at the man in the vehicle. He submitted to a preliminary breath test and blew a .02. He also consented to a blood draw at the Amery hospital, before being transported to the Polk County Jail for booking.
The report noted a search of the shooting location was conducted and a camo 22 rifle and spent ammo casings were located.
Anderson’s demeanor was described by the lawmen as “cooperative.”
May 3, 2018
Food truck hot topic in Balsam Lake
Monday night’s meeting of the Balsam Lake Village Board of Trustees meeting began with public comments from Nick Elert of Top Spot. Elert addressed the possible approval of the food truck coming to Balsam Lake. Elert expressed his feelings of frustration with the situation. Elert later spoke more about his dissatisfaction with the fact that there was no discussion amongst the board about the food truck coming to town. Owner of the food truck, Gary Kannenberg was next to make a public comment. Kannenberg is the owner of the Adventures food truck and explained to the board that he was asked by Polk County employees to come to Balsam Lake. Kannenberg, also described food truck operations, timely fashion of service that suits employees from the county and also Bishop due to the length of time they have for lunch. He went on to note that the truck is on private property and is there for three hours a week. Kannenberg stated, “I see no affect and I don’t know what the issue is.”
Chief Brad Williamson presented the monthly fire report. Williamson reported that there were eight rescue runs and four fire runs. Williamson stated, “grass fires are getting heavy.”
The Monthly Police Report by Chief Tom Thompson began with the announcement that full-time police officer Shawn Thayer has accepted the position of the Milltown Chief of Police and his last day is Friday. Thompson told board that the department hired a firm called Erometrics, that will hold scenario testing for candidates that apply for the open position. The position is open until May 15. The department already has 10 candidates. Thompson also reported that the two part-time boat patrol officers made it thru the entire training process.
Director Linda Heimstead presented the monthly Library Report. She reported to the board that 16 people attended story time and the Endeavors movie time had 20 people in attendance. The library also hosted a gardening event with Lakeside Landscaping, Balsam Lake Hardware Hank and Endeavors with 13 people in attendance. Upcoming events include: Kids summer reading program starting June 12 with a magicians appearance and the Unity DJ Party on June 18.
The Monthly Public Works report was next and presented by Director Dave Patterson. He reported that the crew has been working on patching pothole, sweeping streets, cleanup the park and the bathrooms at Legion and Beach are now open.
The next item on the agenda was to consider approving the Adventures Rollin Food Truck to come to Balsam Lake Thursdays from 11:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. beginning the week of May 14. Caroline Rediske provided the background on last years discussion about bringing the food truck to town and recommended that the permit should be reviewed. Rod Preble motioned to approve the permit with the added stipulations: permit use limited to Thursdays only; operation hours on Thursday from 11:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. only; sales limited to area near government center only; no other use of this permit on any other day except Thursday including no use on holidays or special events. Eric Jorgensen seconded the motion. A roll call vote was held: Caroline Rediske, no; Kathy Poirier, yes; Brandon Scheuer, no; Eric Jorgensen, yes; Faye Brittan, yes; Rod Preble, yes; Geno D’Agostino, yes. The motion passed.
A discussion was held regarding a request to reduce a six-foot fence located at 701 Pearson Road to four feet. Ben Campbell, the building inspector, received a complaint that the six-foot fence blocks the view of the lake for the cabins. The motion was carried that the fence be reduced to four-feet.
Of other news the village will be purchasing a new street sweeper and putting up signage at the gravel pit. Larry Hoen was hired for the street crew position. A $500.00 donation was received from the Balsam Lake Chamber of Commerce for an Eagle Scout project, for a bridge over the stream in Pine Park. Also, signs stating, “No feeding of Wildlife” will be erected at public landings at the balsam beach, near the 46 Store landing and on Elizabeth Trail.
The final minutes of the meeting was to announce the new trail at the Balsam Beach and boat landing for lake visitors to use to get to Main Street. The name of the trail is “Anderson Alley”.
May 10, 2018