Councilwoman Linda Nanko-Yeager: Vacationers should 'piggyback' on 'Mexicans'

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Heading to Mexico for spring vaca? Save on travel by returning home via "Piggyback on some of the Mexicans," says Wyoming City Council's Linda Nanko-Yeager. Steve Haggerty/ColorWorld

The five-member Wyoming, Minnesota City Council tackled a bevy of issues over the course of a two-hour "work session" on February 22.  

The elected officials for this semi-rural locale of 7,500 residents, located just off 35W north of Forest Lake, spoke of branding Wyoming "the gateway" to Chisago County. 

In a push to be "an innovative city and not the other way around," the panelists spoke half-jokingly of painting the water tower purple in honor of Prince.

The quintet also discussed launching some kind of centralized community gathering akin to Forest Lake's weekly farmers market. 

Unfortunately, that idea stalled after council member Linda Nanko-Yeager pointed out: "Forest Lake has the advantage. They have a nice little lake. We have wonderful swamps, which doesn't tend to attract people. More like mosquitoes." 

Fortunately, Nanko-Yeager isn't the kind of politician to be limited by the laws of convention. She introduced the idea of bringing more people into the city by exploiting Wyoming's historical ties to its stagecoach days of yore.

Why not establish a historical marker? she asked, with a "historical marker sign" on the highway directing travelers to downtown Wyoming, which once served as a stagecoach stop between Minneapolis/St. Paul and Duluth. 

Nanko-Yeager was speaking from experience. In her golden years, Nanko-Yeager admitted, she and her husband, Chip, have often found themselves out for a country drive. During some of these excursions, they've been overtaken by an impulse for historical adventure.

"We were tooling along wherever last year and we were driving around," she said, "and 'Ooh! Ooh! Ooh! Let's go find a stupid Indian.… or let's go look at this marker.'"

Come again?

The comment was lost on all of her colleagues, save for first-term member Claire Luger, who subtly tried to tell Nanko-Yeager the comment was wildly inappropriate.

"We are being recorded, correct?" asked Luger.

Sixty minutes later, Nanko-Yeager followed up that sound byte with another doozy.

The members were in the process of wrapping up the meeting. As they discussed when the next such convening would take place, council member Joe Zerwas mentioned that he'd be out of town for the entire month of March.

"I'll be back by the 4th of April," he said. "I'll be in Mexico. I'll be in California. I'll be all over."

That's when member Don Waller offered his peer a bit of travel advice.

"Take your passport and your birth certificate with and they'll let you back in," Waller said. "… And a ladder that's one foot taller than the wall."

Zerwas started to chuckle. Nanko-Yeager offered her own holiday tip.

"Or he could tunnel," she said. "Piggyback on some of the Mexicans."  

The discussion didn't miss a beat. The group agreed to meet again on March 20.

"I think this was a very good meeting," said one of the other female panelists.   

Nanko-Yeager didn't respond to repeated messages seeking comment. Interview requests left for Mayor Lisa Iverson were not returned.

City Pages reached Zerwas yesterday evening as he was hustling to pack for his trip.

He remembered Nanko-Yaeger's inflammatory remarks from last week, but admits, "I didn't pay much attention to what she was saying."    

 


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