Letters to the editor for Nov. 2, 2012

Positive experiences

To the Editor:

Today I read Philip J. Malat’s letter to the editor. Malat referred to the Coon Rapids Police Department as being “lazy and ineffective.” This is a ridiculous and completely baseless characterization of the department.

I am a police officer at another local agency and I actually know many of the Coon Rapids Officers. I strongly suspect Mr. Malat does not know any of the officers.

I know Coon Rapids Police Chief Brad Wise to be a very energetic, thoughtful and hard-working officer who cares deeply about the city he polices. His officers have the same attributes.

Just this past week I had two extremely positive experiences with the Coon Rapids Police Department. While I was investigating a suspect in my jurisdiction, I found out a Coon Rapids detective was investigating the same suspect for crimes in Coon Rapids. We were able to coordinate our efforts to strengthen each other’s cases.

The Coon Rapids detective and other Coon Rapids officers, after a significant amount of hard work, were able to locate the suspect and get him in custody.

Also, this past week while I was off-duty at my home, I called 911 to have the Coon Rapids Police Department respond to an individual who was causing a disturbance in my neighborhood. The officers responded quickly and they effectively took care of the situation.

It is great to live in a city with a high quality police department.

Justin Anderson
Coon Rapids


Sandusky justice

To the Editor:

As the trial and sentencing of Jerry Sandusky comes to an end, it is good to know that some form of justice has been done. The details of this case have been spread across the front page, the sports pages, magazines, radio, and television and through all forms of social media.

These details again point to the fact that although we pay a lot of attention to controlling convicted sex offenders, most kids are molested by people who have no sex offense conviction.

The courage of these young men to come forward and talk about the details of what was done demands that we match that courage with our own.

What does that mean? We can create policies that require that every youth-serving organization establish clear policies to protect children and youth. We can ask every organization working with children and teens if they know has to report an allegation of abuse or a situation that they suspect is abuse.

We can also ask what they would do if they see behaviors in an adult or teen that might be abusive as well.

Imagine a world where every parent begins to ask these questions before they send off a son or daughter to an after school program or summer camp. Imagine if our policy makers began to require these policies.

Although this would not make up for the way Sandusky harmed these boys and young men, it would help protect other children from similar situations. It might make it harder for someone to sexually abuse boys or girls.

The sentencing marks the end of the case, but it can also be a beginning for all of us to transform the pain this one man has caused into actions that will change lives and make our communities a little safer for our children.

Bill Donnay
Coon Rapids


Resign from school board

To the Editor:

I was extremely disappointed to read a StarTribune article about an Independent School District 15 board member who plagiarized a submission to The Courier.

I write this letter encouraging Independent School District 15 board member Matt Rustad to resign from his position.

The teachers, administrators and support staff of the district deserve better leadership and, most importantly, the students deserve leaders who are able to make the best decisions regarding their education.

I respect the efforts of the school board to censure Mr. Rustad after he plagiarized another’s work, but this is not enough for a person charged with the responsibility of making policy for Independent School District 15.

If Mr. Rustad is unfamiliar with the basics of plagiarism, one must also question his knowledge of and ability to decide on the school policies that directly impact students. Plagiarism is not a mistake of ignorance; it is theft and a mistake of integrity.

As a graduate from St. Francis High School I understand the commitment the teachers, support staff and administrators of Independent School District 15 have to the education of its students.

They work tirelessly to give students the education they deserve and they hold themselves to the highest standard in education in order to lead our young people to be productive citizens and life-long learners.

But of all the things teachers pass on to their students, the most important might be the life lessons they teach.

Teaching these lessons are difficult enough without additionally trying to explain to students why a school leader is not held to the same standard. A leader must hold him or herself to a higher standard than those who he or she is leading.

Mr. Rustad has shown that he is not suited to teach these lessons or lead these students.

Perhaps Mr. Rustad’s greatest opportunity to teach these students, or to be a true leader, is to truly own up to his mistake and resign from his position.

Since voters originally elected Mr. Rustad to represent their interests in decisions made about our great schools, it is the responsibility of voters in Independent School District 15 to support their students by helping to persuade Mr. Rustad to resign.

If we expect to hold our students to the highest standard, then we must also hold the leaders of our schools to that same standard.

While we can forgive Mr. Rustad and respect his action of self-censorship, it is in the best interest of the students for Mr. Rustad to truly take ownership of his egregious error of judgment and resign.

Robert Anderson
St. Francis High School Class of 2004, teacher, White Bear Lake Area High School



Cancellation of concerts

To the Editor:

The cancellation of the start of the Minnesota Orchestra concert season lead me to reflect on what the Orchestra has meant for our family.

We are work-a-day folks from very blue-collar backgrounds, definitely not “elite.”

But when our kids began to explore music in grade school, we took them to hear the Orchestra and they were hooked.

They played cello through middle and high school orchestra, with local youth symphonies and in college. Neither ended up as musicians, but all of our lives were made immeasurably richer through their experiences.

As our kids’ musical understanding grew, the excellent orchestra staff at Fred Moore Middle School and Anoka High School and numerous opportunities offered through District 11’s music program gave them room to grow and explore and to be part of the vibrant Twin Cities music community.

Having the Minnesota Orchestra helped our kids to see themselves at all levels as part of the arc of orchestras that culminated in one of best orchestras anywhere, just like kids who play T-ball picturing themselves as Joe Mauer.

Anything that diminishes this Orchestra diminishes us all. I hope that the Orchestra musicians and management can get together soon and resolve all of this.

Gretchen Sabel


Property rights in Oak Grove

To the Editor:

To the mayor and city council of Oak Grove: That didn’t take long. The OWB was fired up this morning. Tonight the winds have come to a dead stop.

We opened the door at 9 p.m. to walk our dogs, and stepped out into a thick burning metallic incineration stink surrounding our home.

With no wind, the continuously smoldering wood burner will continue to put out an increasing volume of carbon monoxide, displacing our air throughout the night.

My wife, who has asthma, can no longer step outside on our own property without worrying about having a severe asthmatic reaction, until the spring of 2013.

We pay property taxes on a property we can’t use.

This is a real loss of property rights. This is how we are forced to live in Oak Grove.

Mike and Margot Reps
Oak Grove

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