by Dennis Dalman
The St. Joseph Newsleader has received calls about how and where to sign a petition opposing the construction of a government center.
There are copies of the petition that can be signed at Sal’s Bar and Grill on main street in St. Joseph. People can also call Irene Reber, at 320-363-7585, or they can sign the petition at her home at 118 2nd Ave. SE.
Reber, who initiated the petition, has been going door-to-door in the city with the petition. Quite a few people were not at home at the time she was circulating the petition, she noted. Several other St. Joseph residents have also been carrying copies of it for people to sign. The residents circulating the petition include Mike McDonald, Bob Lyon and Ellen Wahlstrom.
“I have 527 signatures so far,” Reber said. “Only five people have declined to sign it when I went door-to-door. I plan to keep knocking on more doors this week. Two council members said we’d need 600 or more signatures. We have enough signatures, but we’ve got to keep this thing going.”
Opponents of the government-center project want a referendum on the Nov. 20, 2014 ballot.
Here is what the petition states:
“As a resident of the City of St. Joseph, Minn., I support a referendum to be held regarding construction of a new city building and that it be put on the Nov. 20, 2014 ballot. Also let it be noted any and all spending on this building project be halted until after the results of the referendum be known.”
The St. Joseph City Council has plans to construct a $4.5-million government center to replace the current city hall/police building. It would include a community room that could sit up to 170 people.
Opponents basically claim a “community room” is just an excuse to build a center and residents do not need another community room but, rather, a community center. The current city hall building, some opponents, claim can be fixed.
Dalman was born and raised in South St. Cloud, graduated from St. Cloud Tech High School, then graduated from St. Cloud State University with a degree in English (emphasis on American and British literature) and mass communications (emphasis on print journalism). He studied in London, England for a year (1980-81) where he concentrated on British literature, political science, the history of Great Britain and wrote a book-length study of the British writer V.S. Naipaul. Dalman has been a reporter and weekly columnist for more than 30 years and worked for 16 of those years for the Alexandria Echo Press.