Letters to the editor for June 29, 2012

Political signs legitimate 

To the Editor:

I’m writing in reference to the letters to the editor dated June 22 to enlighten Mrs. Koch and Mrs. Lawrence about their error concerning the legitimacy of Scott Schulte’s campaign sign’s location and timing.

On June 18, 2012, the Star Tribune’s Paul Levy penned an informational article entitled “Signs of Confusion early in the election season”.

In this article, journalist Levy clearly articulated Schulte’s understanding of all ordinances and statutes regarding signage.

Levy refers to confusion about campaign signs in this article.  His conclusion was that Schulte is correct and the others were confused.

Judy Schaefer
Coon Rapids


Legislators work hard 

To the Editor:

Have you ever wondered what a legislator really does? I certainly have so I decided to find out. I followed Sen. Benjamin Kruse around the halls of the Minnesota State Capitol for one day to observe the work he does as my state senator.

After my day at the Capitol, I was happy to have what I now consider to be myths dispelled.

1. Legislators really do serve their constituents, not high paid lobbyists and special interest groups. Sen. Kruse was responsive and respectful to his constituents. When a group of constituents asked for time to explain how they would like him to help their business, he listened intently and agreed to tour the company’s facility. Sen. Kruse told me the best part of his job is meeting with constituents and having real conversations with the people he serves.

2. Lawmakers may not always agree, but they do what they can to remain civil. Sen. Kruse told me how frequently two senators who are on opposite sides of an issue will go each other during debate. Then, just minutes later, you’ll find the same two legislators in the halls together joking and laughing. Our lawmakers do not always agree on issues, but that is what makes our democratic government function. Regardless of a particular viewpoint, legislators do their best to maintain respect for one another.

3. Legislators give careful consideration to how each new law affects Minnesota. They do not just pass bills on a whim. As I followed Sen. Kruse around for the day, I realized how jam-packed their schedules really are. Once he got done with one meeting, he moved directly to another. Sen. Kruse took votes, moved bills and amended legislation.

I was able to the see firsthand the thoughtful consideration and the hard work each legislator puts into creating new laws. They consider each and every line of legislation and how it affects the people of Minnesota.

After observing Sen. Kruse in action, I received assurance that the elected officials serving in our state government are responsive, respectful and always hard-working.

Jeff Cosman
Coon Rapids


Make a choice 

To The Editor:

I see that Roger Johnson is seeking appointment to the Anoka-Hennepin School Board.

But wait. He is also running for Coon Rapids City Council!  Make a choice, Mr. Johnson. Whose interest are you advancing? The community or your own?

Jim Thompson


Value of a father 

To the Editor:

Father’s Day is behind us, but the value of a father in a child’s life continues on. Today the importance of fathers is being overlooked and many children without fathers suffer as a result.

Thousands of studies point to the fact that one of the most serious problems in our culture today is absent fathers. Here are two such studies:

According to research by Dartmouth professor Gregory Slayton, many social ills are associated with absent fathers:

• Boys who grow up without their fathers are 70 percent more likely to end up in prison.

• When fathers are absent from the home before their daughters are six years of age, 35 percent of those daughters will get pregnant during their teen years, compared with just 5 percent of young girls whose fathers live with  the family.

• Children raised without a father are at least twice as likely to drop out of school, become drug addicts or commit suicide.

Slayton says that the tragic absence of a father in the home is having devastating effects on our nation, “dramatically increasing the probability that [children] will suffer from sexual abuse, severe mental illness, incarceration, illiteracy, suicide, homicide, the inability to hold down a long term job and early mortality…and will repeat the cycle of parental failure themselves toward their own children.”

Another study done by Ph.D. candidate Erin Pougnet and her associates at Concordia University in Montreal, Canada, shows the critical importance of fathers actively engaging in child rearing.

Their research reveals that dads contribute to the cognitive abilities of their children and also their behavioral functioning.

According to the study “Compared with other children with absentee dads, kids whose fathers were active parents in early and middle childhood had fewer behavior problems and higher intellectual abilities as they grew older –   even among socio-economically at-risk families.”

Pougnet’s research confirms what Professor Slayton discovered — that a father’s absence has a huge negative impact on the life of a young girl.

According to Pougnet “Girls whose fathers were absent during their middle childhood had significantly higher levels of emotional problems at school than girls whose fathers were present.”

Slayton sums it up by pointing out that the consequences of fatherless homes not only harm the individuals who suffer, but the costs to society for treatment are staggering.

Slayton says the price tag for absent fathers is more than a trillion dollars over the last decade.

“Yet these problems are growing significantly in size, scope and cost every year,” he said. “We are spending billions treating the symptoms, but virtually ignoring the cause.”

Dads need to know that they play a crucial role in the lives of their children. By playing an active part, they shape the way their kids perceive themselves in relation to the rest of the world. Dads do make a difference.

Barb Anderson

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