Letters to the editor for March 30, 2012

Heart center is a gem

To the Editor:

I’m sending you this letter to let everyone in our community know that Mercy Hospital’s Heart and Vascular Center in Coon Rapids is a gem.

This is not news to many, it has a sound national reputation, but I don’t know if people in our community are aware of its exceptional quality. I had the good fortune to have had heart surgery at this facility in February.

Dr. Michael Otto and cardiologists Dr. Anderson and Dr. Ollinger at the Mercy Heart and Vascular Center studied my situation and made my decision, and its timing an easy one.

Dr. Tell, one of the finest heart surgeons in the world, did what you’d expect of the world’s finest surgeons. He worked through several hours of open-heart surgery while overcoming the pain of his own broken ribs (he’d fallen in a parking lot a few days earlier).

But the work of the nurses and doctors on Four Heart are the main reason for this letter. After-care is where it gets personal. And I can’t name all the people who graciously took care of me while I recuperated.

They were all exceptional people, but they all had those same qualities that you would hope to see in a caregiver They simply knew what they were doing.

And they were all specialists in heart patient recovery. I couldn’t have been in better hands.

Thanks to the staff of Mercy Heart and Vascular Center, I know you’ll keep up the good work.

Ron Chamberlain


Pedestrian safety

To the Editor:

Coon Rapids is a wonderful city to live in, but we live in an imperfect world where bad things happen. Sometimes despite all the best efforts of loving and caring adults, these bad things can happen to children.

According to SafeKids USA, the leading causes of injury and death to children ages 1-14 are drowning, residential fire, suffocation and pedestrian injury.

With the days growing longer again we all have to start to paying more attention when driving in the evening hours when people are likely to be out and about.

Drivers are continually admonished to be careful, and they should be. The Center for Disease Control reports that in the next 24 hours, on average, 324 people will be treated in an emergency department for pedestrian-related injuries. In the next two hours, on average, one pedestrian will die from injuries in a traffic crash.

As we all learn before we get our license, automobiles are required to yield the right of way to pedestrians. Pedestrians know this as well, and since minor infractions like jaywalking are largely ignored, it’s generally accepted that if a person is in the street, they have the right of way.

However, there are things that pedestrians can do to make sure that they are safer, even in daylight, because even though they shouldn’t have to, there is little comfort in being in the right after a tragedy:

Use sidewalks whenever possible.

Where there are no sidewalks, walk facing oncoming traffic as far to the left as possible. Never walk “away” from oncoming traffic where you can’t see automobiles coming at you.

Cross the streets at designated crosswalks.

Never cross against a red light, or try to “race” a car across a street.

Try to make eye contact with the driver. Don’t assume that when you see them, they see you.

Warn children to stay away from vehicles that are backing up.

Never let your children play in the street. Corners where cars turning in may not see them and children playing are not always aware of their surroundings. It only takes an instant’s distraction, and cars simply can’t stop fast enough to avoid someone in the middle of the street.

When on a skateboard, get off and wait for the five seconds it takes for a car to pass on your side of the street. Nothing makes a driver more nervous than a person less than two feet away standing on a set of wheels.

Always look left, right, then left again and keep looking while crossing the street. Be sure to walk, don’t run, while crossing.

Pedestrian safety isn’t just for children.  Pedestrians ages 65 and older accounted for 18 percent of all pedestrian deaths and an estimated 10 percent of all pedestrians injured in 2008.

Dark clothing may be in fashion, but remember that in twilight hours especially, when light levels are uneven, it can be very difficult for the human eye to adjust quickly.

Imagine yourself as a bicycle, only smaller. A blinking light in front and a reflector in back when out at night is what is recommended for a large bicycle.

Keep in mind that since you are even smaller, you need to take similar precautions. Retro-reflective materials in the morning and the evening (or at least a white hat) greatly increase a person’s visibility to drivers that are approaching. So can carrying a flashlight.

Taking a walk can be a pleasant way to spend an evening, a back-to school necessity, or simply a way to get from point A to point B.

Following these safety tips can help ensure that you don’t become a tragic statistic. Better to be safe than to be dead right.

Sean Novack
On behalf of the Coon Rapids Safety Commission


Imposing doctrines

To the Editor:

Religious conservatives have been imposing their doctrines on the public since colonial times.

At that time, it was legitimate. There were state-supported churches in the colonies and then in the states.

Catholics were beaten, tarred and feathered when they got out of line. Baptists were hung. Others were imprisoned for not believing in the trinity or not attending church services. Each state had the truth and each dealt ruthlessly with the misinformed.

Since they all had the truth, their methods were similar. Catholics burned heretics. Protestants burned witches.

In the South, they both tormented black Americans because, on that matter, they had the same truth.

This free exercise of religion to steal from, beat, break families apart, kill, and falsely imprison black Americans lasted until World War II.

These folks also have the truth about all matters scientific and feel free to manufacture their own, when doctrines are threatened.

The Catholic church threatened scientists with death because they discovered the earth was not the center of the universe. A few centuries later, Protestants attacked school teachers for teaching evolution.

Now we have a situation with sexuality. Predictably, both conservative Catholics and Protestants have the truth and both groups want the state to enforce their doctrines.  Students are to be taught abstinence only. Knowledge of sex promotes the nasty so students should be kept ignorant.

Three southern states want doctors to withhold information from their pregnant patients, if the info might encourage abortion.

Other states have passed laws to invasively punish women for seeking abortions.

Conservatives object to mandatory HPV vaccinations primarily because it would “encourage promiscuity.”

Conservative pharmacists refuse to sell contraceptives.

The religious rights of celibate Catholic bishops are more important than those of their parishioners and employees to control their family size.

Mr. Santorum thinks it would be fine if states banned contraception. Sex is for procreation and was not “intended” to be fun.

The demands of conservative Christians grow more outrageous by the day. U.S. evangelicals have even promoted the Ugandan “Kill the Gays” legislation.

While their claims of gay marriage being a threat to families are unsubstantiated, the misdeeds of the ultra-rich are defended as examples of liberty.

Unsubstantiated charges outweigh the millions of fraudulent foreclosures and lost jobs. Apparently, “For the love of money is the root of all evil” is not in their Bibles.

I’m frankly mistrustful of conservative views on sex.

The Catholic hierarchy lost my respect when it included parishioner’s children as priestly perks.

The Protestant clergy has lost too many of its top members to outings and sexual escapades. Neither group has the truth.

Their views on sex, gays, and women are offensive but their use of the state to enforce their doctrines is alarming and contrary to the rights of others.

Conservative Christians brought us corrupted science, medieval morality, hyper-partisanship, war, poverty and an obscene partnership with the ultra-rich.

There is no light at the end of this dismal tunnel.

Rod Kuehn


Speculation is misplaced

To the Editor

An article titled “One Town’s War on Gay Teens” appeared in the Feb. 16, 2012 issue of Rolling Stone Magazine. It was written by Sabrina Rubin Erdely.

The article focuses on the recent controversy at Anoka-Hennepin School District 11 concerning its sexual orientation curriculum policy.

In the article, Ms. Rubin Erdely states, “At churches like First Baptist Church of Anoka, parishioners (sic) believe that homosexuality is a form of mental illness caused by family dysfunction, childhood trauma and exposure to pornography – a perversion curable through intensive therapy.”

At no time did Ms. Rubin Erdely contact First Baptist Church of Anoka and her speculation and characterization of what members of our church might believe is both misplaced and misleading.

As the result of the article and the viral response to it, our staff and pastors have received hate-filled and threatening e-mails and phone calls condemning our “beliefs” and even our existence.

First Baptist Church of Anoka has been a beacon for the Gospel of Jesus Christ in this community for over 150 years.

Our vision is to glorify God through worship, fellowship and prayer, demonstrating faithfulness through evangelism and teaching using the Bible as our standard.

We believe that the Bible is the inspired and inerrant word of God. With God’s help, we strive to follow all of his commandments, including that we love one another.

You are invited to come and see how God is working at First Baptist Church of Anoka.

Service times and additional information are available on our web site at www.fbcanoka.org.

Mal Allen
Treasurer on behalf of the First Baptist Church of Anoka.


Pro-family values

To the Editor:

To the author of the letter titled “DFL has pro-family values.”

According to your letter, the government should ensure jobs, provide healthcare, decide what a living wage is, make sure we have affordable day care and bailout struggling companies.

So it looks like you would be happy if we all made the same money, had the same house, the same car, all companies were controlled by the government.

We all work the same hours and have the same amount of free time and the government provides for all our needs.

You may describe this as the DFL, I would describe it as something else comrade.

David Petersen
Coon Rapids

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