Panel discussion has low turnout

Published 11:23 am Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Shelia Smith and the number of panelists at an informed voters meeting Monday night threatened to out-number the audience members.

Smith, the director of Minnesota Citizens for the Arts, led a panel discussion at the Paramount Theatre on the proposed Vote “Yes” amendment to the Minnesota constitution.

The panelists included Merlene Stiles, Susan Hurm, Julie Tufte, Alex Watson, Dale Vandenover, Larry Dolphin and Bill Buckley, all well-known local environmental activists.

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Less reporters and organizers of the meeting, the crowd was limited to less than 20 people.

A week ago, a similar meeting for sportsmen was held in the Ruby Rupner Auditorium at the J.C. Hormel Nature Center.

This November, Minnesotans will be asked to vote on the proposed Clean Water, Land and Legacy constitutional amendment.

The amendment will provide funding to ensure safe drinking water sources, protect wildlife habitat, preserve dwindling natural areas and the outdoors with a three-eighths of one percent sales tax until 2034.

Dolphin, director of the Hormel Nature Center and president of Austin Izaak Walton Chapter No. 10, had publicly gone on record a week ago professing his unequivocal support for the Vote “Yes” amendment. He reiterated the support Monday night and also reminded all, the local Izaak Walton League of America chapter had unanimously endorsed a resolution of support.