Letters to the Editor for Aug. 16, 2013

Sad day for Anoka

To the Editor:

It is a sad day for Anoka. On Monday, Aug. 5, the Anoka City Council voted 5-0 to clear-cut 700 feet of river bank along the wild and scenic Rum River, just north of Anoka County Road 116.

This section of the Rum River has been designated as a Wild and Scenic waterway by the DNR. This land is also in the Anoka Nature Preserve and the Anoka Soil and Water Conservation District holds the easement.

The impetus for the action is in conjunction with the development of 44 luxury homes that will sell for $400,500 to $750,000.

The Anoka Soil and Water Conservation “expert” Chris Lord had been contacted to look at the riverbank and he told the city that the riverbank was washing out and needed to be stabilized.

His answer to the problem was to clear-cut 700 feet of the riverbank, taking out several 150-plus year old oak trees while ripping out all of the established root system.

Then while the developer has his heavy equipment near the site, he would grade the land down from a steep bluff to a gradual slope.

By the way, the developer would take the dirt and sand from the riverbank and spread it over the development which would enable him to build walk-out homes and also give the new homes a river view.

Many residents including me were outraged at the drastic measures.  We are not opposed to the development (like Mark Freeburg said at the Monday night council meeting), but we are opposed to tearing out the riverbank in the name of “riverbank stabilization.”

Many of residents of Anoka and Ramsey voiced their objections to the obvious destruction in the name of restoration.

We asked the council to take its time in making such a crucial decision, to get a second opinion and to do an environmental impact study.

There was also mention of some rare mussels in that section of the river but Mayor Rice said they must not be a problem because he hadn’t heard from the DNR about them being an issue.

On Wednesday evening my husband and I went to take a walk in the nature area but we were shocked to hear chainsaws and heavy equipment.

It had been less than 48 hours from the council’s action to the butchering of the riverbank.

The riverbank will temporarily be reinforced with hay bales for the winter and the extensive restoration will take place next May. (Isn’t that after the spring floods can wash away more of the bank?)

When walking in the park we noticed that this section of riverbank does not have any more erosion than the rest of the river.

The DNR was contacted about the violation of the Wild and Scenic River rules which state that no tree may be removed that is over four inches.

It just referred back to the local soil and water conservation district and said that he must know what is best. So apparently a resident has to follow the rules but a municipality doesn’t.

This is a win-win for the developer, Landmark Homes and the city of Anoka but a disaster for all of the residents and any outdoorsman and woman that use the park and the river.

I would ask the Anoka City Council and the County Soil and Water Conservation District Board, what part of “wild and scenic” don’t you understand?

Barbara Thurston

It’s called welfare fraud

To the Editor:

Nice try with the pity party held recently in your Opinion section (“Poor will suffer deeply from food stamp cuts,” July 11 edition). Why applaud billions of dollars being thrown down the food stamp hole?

What’s it like to sit in your ivory tower supposing what it’s like to be “poor” and “hungry,” buzzwords used to describe your pets. Here on the street level it’s called welfare fraud.

Libs push for “healthy food choices” in schools, yet refuse to recognize that the obese are not “hungry.” Obesity is not a disease – it’s the result of lack of control and poor choices.

Everyone I know who is on food stamps is at least fat, at worst lazy. My relative, for example, mooches off society because he won’t work, lives at a shelter and complains about every ache and pain to gain sympathy.

They feed him three squares a day, he gets the card, sells it for cash, buys synthetic pot, smokes himself stupid, then has another excuse for another day gone by without a job.

He blames society. Multiply that by every person in the enabler system and you’ve got thousands of deadbeats living off those of us who work.

You claimed that “hundreds of teachers send food home with their students.” Really. I don’t believe you, name one.

Maybe they ought to try sending English assignments home instead. Too many Americans don’t speak English making them unemployable. I’m not talking about “immigrants” – that’s a whole different subject also being painted with a phony brush.

You quoted Betty McCollum about cuts being “immoral” then gave supposed stats. Here’s my stats – 10 in 10 people I know getting foods stamps do so fraudulently and either sell the proceeds or gorge themselves on junk, creating a need for taxpayer funded Medicaid.

I think these folks should work for their “benefits” instead of working the system. It’s immoral not to.

Vicki Lechelt

Coarsening of society

To the Editor:

I was surprised to read that our local community theater, Lyric Arts, is performing “The Laramie Project” next month.

That’s a pretty racy play with a lot of very foul sexual language that contributes to the coarsening of our society.

This play is based on the fictitious premise that Matthew Shepard was killed out of hate for being gay.

A “20/20” ABC TV special debunked this as a hate crime and revealed that the two thugs who killed Mathew were looking for money for drugs.

Facts are irrelevant, however, when they don’t fit the story you are trying to sell to the public.

Mathew Shepard is now a poster child to garner sympathy for the gay rights movement.

How sad to see Lyric Arts Theater go this route and promote this false narrative.

Sue Wood

Response misses point

To the Editor:

Dawn Heidemann’s critique of my letter dealing with Rep. Jim Abeler’s voting record misses its point.

That being: for someone like Rep. Abeler, who has pursued government subsidies so diligently, to lecture on the evils of government dependency is rank hypocrisy – plain and simple.

And, please don’t take just my word for it – the StarTribune and KSTP have reported extensively on Mr. Abeler’s eyebrow raising legislative activities.

For instance, a Feb. 2001 KSTP report stated, “A lawmaker who sits on a committee that controls school funding and voted for more than $10 million to help charter schools pay rent has collected more than $287,000 in rent from a charter school.”

After being outed, Mr. Abeler apologized for assuming House members were aware of his connection with the PACT Charter School, and belatedly disclosed his receipt of rental income to the Speaker of the House.

Gene Case

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