Archive for the ‘News’ Category


Boy Scout troop disc golfIt is official! The Melrose city council appropriated the funds at last month’s meeting, and tonight the Melrose park board has approved the purchase of equipment needed for a nine hole disc golf course to be installed at the Sauk River Park in the spring of 2015. Get your discs ready!

This all came about because the Melrose Boy Scouts set up a disc golf activity during the August “Night To Unite” evening. It caught the interest of quite a few people, including the right people at the city administration level. The Boy Scouts also helped to design the future course. The troop will be assisting in the assembly of the baskets and signs during the winter months, and helping in the installation in the spring.

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    disc golf albanyThe Boy Scouts of Troop 68 were asked to help by providing an activity for last August’s Night To Unite in Melrose. I volunteered my disc golf practice basket and the Scouts brought their discs. People had fun trying their putting skills, or discovering that they did not have any putting skills. Employees from the city of Melrose, and even a couple city council members, stopped by to throw a few discs and talk about the game.

    Melrose does not have a disc golf course, but the city now has an interest in one after watching the Boy Scouts and the public playing the game during that evening in the park. The city administrator asked the Boy Scouts and myself to attend the next park board meeting with a proposal to have a course installed in the park. Over the next couple days, a few Scouts and I worked out a plan for a nine hole course and, using my practice basket, actually played a game in the park. I worked up a cost estimate and other information and presented a plan to the park board at the end of August. The board members really liked the idea and the projected cost of the course. They stated that this idea would be a great project to bring more people to use the park, including tweens and teenagers.

    Earlier this month I received a phone from the city administrator asking me to attend the city council meeting on Thursday, October 16. The disc golf course proposal had passed the park board and had moved on to the city council for action. I needed to be there in case the council had any questions that needed to be addressed. I marked it on my calendar.

    The city council did have a few questions, but none of them were hard to answer. They all seemed to like the idea. When it came time to vote they all voted in favor of creating a disc golf course next spring. The budget they gave to it was lower than I originally proposed so we will not get the concrete tee boxes right away, but they would be a possibility in a few years.

    I was told I would be contacted over the winter to meet with the board to make the final preparations for the new course. I guess my work did not end with the proposal. It appears that I am the resident expert on disc golf courses. I had to chuckle to myself. I am probably one of the few adults in town who has played a lot of disc golf, and played on several courses in the area. I am not an expert but I guess I can help plan a local course.

    Boy Scout Troop 68 will have a hand in this park. I plan on getting a couple of them to help at the planning meetings this winter. I also plan to have them help build and install the course this spring. There should be plenty of service hours to go around. Unfortunately, the planning has already gone too far to allow one Scout to use this as an Eagle Project, but you know, those concrete tee boxes will need to be added in another year or two.

    Does your troop enjoy playing disc golf? Where do they play?

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      Internet_ExplorerI admit it. I am an Apple guy. My home computer is a 2007 Mac Pro. My last three computers were Apples. I own three versions of the iPod. I use my iPad several times each day. But I do not own an iPhone. At least not yet.

      What this all means is that I do not use Internet Explorer. IE has not been available on Macs for probably ten years or more. I do occasionally use it at work, when I am forced to. This also means that there are portions of the B.S.A. website that I cannot access from my home computer since you have to use IE to get to them. For example, advancement recording.

      This has always been a pet peeve of mine. Why in this day and age would a such a large organization create a website, or portions of a site, that are useable by only one browser? This makes absolutely no sense to me, unless Microsoft paid them to do it. Hmmmm…

      When I heard this past weekend that their is a major fault with Internet Explorer that could allow a hacker to remotely take over a computer I thought of the B.S.A. websites, and had a chuckle. When I heard on the radio this morning that the Homeland Security office is advising people not to use IE I had another chuckle. Thousands of Scouting families could be putting their computers at risk due to a flaw in the Microsoft program.

      Granted, from the sounds of it this risk should not apply to the Scouting websites. But could another fault be found that could make using those sites a risk? It seems that IE has had more then it fair share of problems over the years. Once again I ask, why would anyone tie their website to a browser that has had so many problems, and a browser that is not usable to many home computers?

      I do not plan to ever buy a Windows based computer for my home which means until the B.S.A. opens their whole website to all browsers I will not be able to access portions of it. If the B.S.A. does not feel that my access to their complete website is important, then so be it. I will continue to chuckle every time I hear about a new security risk about IE.

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        Scouts and SmokeySix Boy Scouts of Melrose Troop 68, along with two adult Scout leaders, joined 170,000 other people on Saturday, August 24, at the great Minnesota Get Together, otherwise known as the State Fair. Despite the hot temperatures and the high humidity, the Scouts had a great time exploring the buildings, eating food on a stick, and experiencing the rides at the midway. The Scouts also made a quick stop at the Northern Star Council’s Adventure spot, only to discover it was more designed for Cub Scouts than Boy Scouts. A short stop at Cabelas in Rogers was an extra bonus attraction.

         

         

        IMG_4496The Boy Scouts join other people in viewing the pond stocked with dozens of native fishes.

         

         

         

         

         

         

        Scout BoothThe Northern Star Council “Adventure Summit” was very popular with the Cub Scout age children. Our Boy Scouts were a little disappointed it was not meant for them.

        Does your troop visit your state fair?

         

         
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          MikeL30(The following article was written by Mike Linnemann, an alumni of Melrose Boy Scout Troop 68. Mike was a member of the troop from 1997 to 2003. He earned the rank of Eagle Scout. It is the fifth of a series of guest articles written by former members of Troop 68.)

          Scouting: An Investment of Character
          By Mike Linnemann

          I’m an Eagle Scout and my Scouting experience, like my present tense designation, has not ceased.
          Spending over six years as a teenager was nothing short of transformative during those tumultuous hormonally unbalanced years. I look back at my experience as a Boy Scout not as one of developing skills from merit badges, learning synonyms to describe myself from the Scout Law and living up to a higher ideal. I think of my time as learning experiences in innovative thinking.

          At the time, I went through my advancement like most boys. Upon achieving one rank, the next would fall in line. Not unlike a job progression in a career, a linear path was always laid out before me. While along this journey, a seminal moment made me pause.

          Upon reaching the rank of Eagle Scout, I briefly examined how this feat affected my future. While doing so, it felt like a moment. Looking back, I stopped my advancement as soon as I realized. I earned zero palms and only a few mere more merit badges with my remaining two years. I sacrificed my drive to understand the greater situation. I think similar aspects happen when apprentices, students really, achieve most milestones. I thought of my individual experiences while in my troop very rarely. I was in varsity school sports and one goal turned into another. New paths always came from another’s end. At that time, aged sixteen, I had been in the troop for five years and many of my friends had left the troop and I finally became aware of it.

          Upon arriving as an eleven year old, I came into my troop with two patrols. Half of my friends were in each Cub Scout den. We decided to keep the dens as patrols. Due to the division, my friends slowly trickled off, along with most of the other members to pursue academic interests or the other short list of rural activities that boys partake in. At age sixteen, finally, I was able to look objectively at our issue. Were we to separate the haves from the have-nots and could I have accepted seeing six to eight people quit immediately? I was aware of the odds at the time. It was a visceral feeling that I knew would benefit me greatly on a personal level, but I would actively be sacrificing others. Advice from other scouts told me what was inevitable, that many would quit before reaching their full Scouting tenure. We made the right choice and I wouldn’t change it.

          These aspects of brotherhood aren’t shown, nor discussed openly. My troop and community taught us life’s rules but also showed how to bend and change that which can negatively affect our lives to benefit the greater community.

          While writing this, it’s eye opening to see how much we impacted our local community. I saw “our,” because an individual can only do so much. That is, until I met our gay Scout.

          In fact, he is an Eagle Scout and wasn’t “out” at the time. He was a shining example of what a teenage citizen means and my community rallied around that ideal. He stood out and we knew it. I thought nothing of it at the time but now, I utilize my troop and community’s reaction to this one Scout. The Boy Scouts very recently voted to include gay scouts, relenting on such stringent admission standards for mere boys who just want to be part of something greater than themselves. We all knew of him and it didn’t matter. Looking back, this only illuminates how important troops were to development of model citizens, beacons of good in a community. In our troop, we bent the rules to accommodate.

          That’s what I learned from Scouting. Do the right thing, despite what the odds or the negative reactions will invariably be.

          Doing the right thing is a part of being prepared, our own Scout motto. There are ideals greater than you or I, or even humanity itself. Our religious basis shuns the self and prepares us for humble lifelong service. Only Eagle Scouts place their honor on their resume but the relevant past that binds Scouts together, whether they reach the pinnacle or mere tenderfoots is real. That stickiness of Scouting usually leaves members if they leave a community, but the character building is with us always.

          These minor incidents of compromise, inclusiveness and respectfulness are footnotes in our lives. We think to them when issues arise and I’m happy to think that my foundation is solid. It’s hard to describe to a parent why Scouting builds character and how the intangible parts of Scouting far outweigh any cost.

          In short, Scouting is an investment of character and my community invested well.

          Mike is an art director in Minneapolis, married and living with his three dachshunds.

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            Jaycee Park, MelroseEven before I took over as the scoutmaster of Boy Scout Troop 68 in Melrose, troop meetings were sometimes held at the Jaycee Park. After I took the scoutmaster position, we began to use the park for our summer meetings, from May through September. It was nice being outside for meetings. We could practice outdoor skills and play different games. Granted, rain messed things up once in awhile but there was a shelter we could usually run to to stay dry. The hockey rink was used as a ball field for many kickball and softball games. The large pine trees provided plenty of shade. The Scouts would play Tip and impromptu games of disc golf through the pine trees. The Cub Scout Pack has held meetings there. The district has used it for Cub Scout Day Camps. The Lake Wobegon Trail is only half a block away. It worked well for the troop. We still use the park for our current summer meetings.

            Over the last 15 or so years the City of Melrose has been selling off chunks of this park. The western two thirds has been sold for townhouse developments. I understand the city needed this type of housing, and that the townhouse development was well done, but it was sad to see so much of the park disappear. The existing park is still large enough for a shelter, a playground, a volleyball court, and two hockey rinks. It is still a nice park and is used quite a bit by the local residents. One of our Eagle Scouts even did his project in the park, but nothing of that project remains after the townhouse developments.

            Last month, the City of Melrose sold the park to CentraCare, our local hospital and clinic campus which is right next door to the park. I think it is great that CentraCare is willing and able to expand its facitilities. It shows a commitment to the city. Unfortunately, it means that someday we will lose that park. The first planned expansion will require that the park shelter be removed. The playground and the hockey rinks will remain for awhile yet, maybe even several years. The city will be renting the remaining park land for one dollar a year as long as CentraCare does not require it.

            Unfortunately, it seems that the City of Melrose does not seem to have a plan to replace this park, even though they have been selling off portions of it for over 15 years. Granted, we will still have a smaller park in place for years yet, but I am surprised, or should I say shocked, that the city may just let one park disappear from the town in the future.

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              LifeRsmallThere has been a lot of press lately that the Boy Scouts of America is about to change its policy on allowing opening gay youth into the organization. In fact, the press likes to make it sound like this is already a done deal. The press makes it sound like the poll conducted by the B.S.A. states that Scouts, parents, leaders and councils overwhelmingly support changing the policy. I decided to bring up the poll results at the scouting.org website and look at the figures myself. It is not quite as cut and dried as the media is playing this up to be. I am a little bit skeptical. Here are a few statistics from one part of that poll, along with a few of my thoughts:

              Parents Study Group and Leaders Study Group

              The BSA’s Voice of the Scout Membership Standards Survey was sent to more than 1 million adult members, with over 200,000 respondents. I have been involved with the Scouting program for 33 years, yet I was not contacted to participate in this program. As far as I know, not one person in my troop was contacted. How did the pollsters choose the parents and leaders that were contacted for this poll?

              The survey found:
              Respondents support the current policy by a 61 percent to 34 percent margin. (I underlined the phrase.) Wow, that is a 17% margin. Presidents have been voted into office by fewer percentage points. Yet the media makes it sound like it is the other way around..
              Support for the current policy is higher at different program and volunteer levels in the organization:
              50 percent of Cub Scout parents support it; 45 percent of Cub Scout parents oppose. This was closer than I thought it would be.
              61 percent of Boy Scout parents support it. This could be true, but I don’t think it is true in my part of the country. Once again I ask how they choose the parents who participated in this survey. Was there a balance from across the nation?
              62 percent of unit leaders support it. I know some who do and some who do not.
              64 percent of council and district volunteers support it. I know more who are not sure what to decide yet.
              72 percent of chartered organizations support it. For some reason, I do not fully believe this figure. It seems high to me when you consider what groups make up a large portion of the chartered organizations.

              Local Council Study Group

              The Local Council Study Group was charged with listening to the voice of the Boy Scouts of America’s 280 local councils. While many of the conversations centered on a policy that would give chartered organizations the discretion of whether to accept avowed homosexuals to serve as leaders, many groups had concerns about this concept:
              50.5 percent of councils recommend no change.
              38.5 percent of councils recommend a change.
              11 percent take a neutral position.
              So, one way to look at this is that 61 percent of councils do not recommend a change to the current policy, almost two thirds of the organization’s councils. When listening to the media I thought that most councils wanted the policy change.

              There is a lot more to this poll. Read it yourself at

              http://www.scouting.org/sitecore/content/MembershipStandards/Resolution/Summary.aspx

              So what do I think? I am not ready to tell you yet, but here are a couple things that stick in my mind. The B.S.A. does not ask people what their sexually preference is. It is not found anywhere on any application. The only time it comes up is when it is brought up by the person himself, and when it does it becomes a media circus and the gay activists try to use it to their advantage.

              I was a scoutmaster for over 30 years. It was not my duty to ask a Boy Scout about his sexual preferences. It was my duty to try to teach him citizenship, leadership, and outdoor skills, and to let him have fun. Did I ever have a gay young man as a member of the troop? Yes, I did. But they did not come out as being gay until after they left high school. Would I have kicked them out of the troop if they mentioned they were gay while still a Scout? I am not sure because it was never an issue, but I would like think I would have allowed them to continue being a Boy Scout as long as they did not give me any other reason to ask them to leave. Keep in mind that the 1980′s and 1990′s were a bit different then today’s world.

              I think all boys should be allowed to be a Boy Scout. However, I do not think that any boy, or his parent, should take his membership and turn it into a political issue, which is what I am afraid this issue has become. In my opinion, this takes everything good the Scouting program offers a young man and turns it upside down. Suddenly everyone forgets of all the great things this 100 year old program has done for our youth and our country.  “Don’t ask, don’t tell” worked for the 30 years I was a scoutmaster. I did not ask, they did not tell, and we all enjoyed the time we spent in Scouting. It was not an issue, and it should not be an issue. I wish everyone would just shut up and let us get on with implementing the best Scouting program that we can provide for our youth.

              Now, what are my feelings on allowing opening gay men as adult leaders? That is a post for another time.

              Last words… I usually stay away from hot topic issues with this blog, but I felt I needed to finally get something out there. I do review every comment before it is posted. That is the best way to keep spam off this blog. I will be reading any comments for this post and if they are civil I may allow them to be added to this post. However, if I feel that they are mean spirited or rude I will trash it. It is my blog, and I will decide what is posted to it.

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                melrosebeaconad2013Our local newspaper, the Melrose Beacon, showed their support of the Scouting program last month by printing a full page ad to celebrate the Boy Scouts of America’s anniversary. The ad featured photos of Cub Scout Pack 68 and Boy Scout Troop 68. It also featured the Boy Scout Oath and a short description of the goals of the program. (Click on the picture for a larger view.) The newspaper has done a full page Scouting ad for anniversary week for a number of years now.

                The Melrose Beacon has been a supporter of Scouting since the troop began in late 1979 when it published a note about organizing a Boy Scout troop in town. I became involved with the troop in May 1980 and soon began writing stories about troop events and submitting pictures from troop activities to the Beacon. The newspaper has always been great about printing these stories. In fact, I must have done a pretty good job of writing them because only once do I remember them editing a story.

                The pack and troop would like to thank the following businesses and organizations for picking up the cost of this year’s ad: VFW post 7050 (the troop’s charter sponsor). Coborn’s Grocery Store, Spaeth Sodding and Landscaping, Heartland Security, Freeport State Bank, Kraemer Lumber Company, Melrose Dental Office, and Hennen Lumber Company. This ad would not have been possible without their financial support.

                Does your local newspaper support your local Scouting program? Do they print articles and photos of your troop activities?

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