Stillwater School district lawsuit

To the editor:

For several years I’ve been saying that it’s only a matter of time. At some point, Sarah Stivland, school board chair, was going to create such a toxic, hostile environment within the school district, that the result would end in a lawsuit being filed. That happened on or around May 5, 2020 in Washington County District Court.

Back in 2017, a complaint was filed against Sarah Stivland and Mike Ptacek for discrimination and harassment which an investigator found had merit. This harassment continued since that time up until another complaint was filed on February 26, 2020, against certain board members for creating a hostile work environment. On March 19, 2020, Kristen Hoheisel (Executive Director of Finance & Operations) was placed on administrative leave. No reason was given by Stivland for this action, however, anyone with an IQ of six would realize this was nothing but retaliation and revenge for the filing of that complaint. Stivland is also the main instigator in numerous feeble attempts to have the superintendent terminated, starting with her secret attorney meetings in January 2019. Stivlands behavior has not only affected Ms. Hoheisel, but employees, teachers and students as well. This is a mean spirited, abusive, bitter, school board chair.

Because she is the only board member being sued, it will be interesting to see if she turns on her other majority members (Mike Ptacek, Liz Weisberg, Tina Riehle, Shelley Pearson) in an attempt to lessen the blow. This lawsuit will certainly test their cohesiveness. Stivland is the only person listed in the lawsuit, but she is far from being alone in her effort to take down the school district. She has four accomplices.

I have lived in this district for 43 years, have known numerous superintendents and board members, and these current majority board members are by far the most despicable, arrogant, incompetent elected officials ever elected to this district. In addition to their heinous behavior, those five have cost the taxpayers well over a million dollars since Jan. 2019. More on their inept financial stewardship will come out later.

Kristen Hoheisel needs to be reinstated immediately.

Gary Horning

West Lakeland Township

Minnesota can stop tobacco related cancer

To the editor:

Cancer hasn’t stopped. So neither have we. Every year, the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN) brings cancer survivors and advocates to the state capitol to let lawmakers know that preventing suffering and death from cancer has to be a priority. Although we could not attend in person this year, my fellow advocates and I held a virtual week of action.

As a cancer advocate, I can’t sit back as we lose a generation of Minnesotans to tobacco addiction.

Even as we face this pandemic, we are still facing a youth tobacco epidemic. That is why I asked our lawmakers to raise the minimum age of sale for all tobacco products to age 21 and enforce strict penalties for retailers who are caught selling to youth. Nearly 95% of adults who smoke started smoking before the age of 21.

We let lawmakers know that volunteers across the state are counting on them to take a stand against cancer by supporting what works to prevent cancer diagnoses. I hope Representative Christensen and Senator Housley will make sure tobacco 21 becomes the law this year. It is time to finish the fight against this devastating disease.

Lois Conn

Stillwater

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