Obama invited to attend dedication in Falls

Duane Hicks

The City of International Falls is hoping to get U.S. President Barack Obama to visit Borderland this July 2 for the international tug-of-war and dedication of the new James Oberstar Riverfront Complex, which is located across from the Sorting Gap Marina here.
In an interview yesterday, International Falls CAO Rod Otterness said a letter written by Falls’ mayor Shawn Mason has been sent to Obama urging him attend the dedication of the facility, which includes a new administrative building for Voyageurs National Park.
The complex is named after Congressman James Oberstar, who served the 8th District of Minnesota with distinction for 36 years.
“We would be honoured if you or a member of your administration would attend to help us recognize his service to Minnesota and to the United States,” Mayor Mason wrote.
The letter also mentioned the dedication is scheduled to coincide with the annual cross-border tug-of-war between Fort Frances and International Falls.
“On Christmas Eve in 1814, Britain and the United States signed the Treaty of Ghent, ending the War of 1812, which included fighting between U.S. and British forces in Canada,” noted Mayor Mason.
“The International Tug-of-War celebrates our nearly two centuries of neighbourly peace, and your administration’s involvement would be an inspiration to citizens in both countries,” she added.
Mayor Mason also pointed out such as visit would be an opportunity to pay tribute to the U.S. National Park Service.
“As a community partner committed to preserving and enhancing Voyageurs National Park, we believe the National Park Service and the 58 National Parks in the system represent a unique federal asset for all Americans, and that your administration’s involvement in the day’s events would be a fitting tribute to Congressman Jim Oberstar and the National Park Service.”
“It’s a lot of fun to think about President Obama coming,” said Otterness.
“Our position is, ‘Why wouldn’t he come?’” Otterness added. “We selected a date around the international tug-of-war so that he can also be present for that.
“You never know. If President Obama shows up and is at the first part of the rope, I’ll tell you what—we’ve got our attention for the international tug-of-war!” he enthused.