Letters to the Editor for Sept. 27, 2013

Exciting new addition

To the Editor:

Congratulations to the Anoka City Council, the Anoka Planning Commission, the parks and public works department and city staff for making possible the exciting new addition to Anoka.

Over the past several years, I have attended numerous meetings and watched as many questions, many concerns and many ideas were studied regarding the 280 acres north of Bunker Lake Boulevard (County Highway 116) and west of Seventh Avenue.

The Anoka County Library system built a state-of-the-art library on the property. A previous Anoka City Council, working with different state agencies and The Friends of the Anoka Nature Preserve, established 200 acres as the Anoka Preserve.

Since then, the Planning Commission and the council have zoned the remaining areas for single family dwellings, multiple family homes and business/commercial development.

Recently when a required inspection of the east bank of the Rum River was conducted, significant erosion of the toe of the river bank was discovered. As owner of the property, the city of Anoka was required by law to take action.

A well-respected home developer working with an engineering firm presented a plan to stabilize the river bank in connection with the development of 44 single-family homes west of the library. These plans were reviewed by local and state agencies (including their engineers) who supervise the water and conservation concerns of the river properties in Anoka County.

Chris Lord, executive director of the Anoka Soil and Water District and overseer of the management of the Anoka Nature Preserve, studied the various plans and chose the plan that would have the best possible outcome to stabilize the river bank for the long term.

A letter asking the DNR about the plan brought this reply, “The DNR is aware of this project, as the city has requested our input at several points in the development of plans to stabilize the river bank.

“While we share your concern over the loss of the trees on the riverbank and bluff, we feel that in this case there are extenuating circumstances that justify the grading and tree removal.

“The riverbank is seriously undercut by erosion and this location left as is, would almost certainly result in bank failure at some point in future… in which case the trees and large quantitates of soil would end up in the river.

“The city has chosen to undertake the project at this time as it is much more cost effective to do the work in conjunction with the development of the Rum River Shores residential project.

“The city has settled on this bank stabilization approach on the advice of the Anoka Conservation District. The district is the DNR’s local partner in carrying out resource conservation projects in Anoka County and is well respected for its expertise and experience with river bank stabilization projects along the Rum River. It has incorporated a robust re-vegetation plan for the bank and bluff into the overall project.”

This plan is:

1. Providing 44 new single-family homes for growing families to remain in Anoka and for those seeking higher-end homes.

2. Creating a signalized intersection at County Road 116 for the safer movement in and out of the high school, the library, the ice arena and the baseball field.

3. Extending the Anoka trail system from the mouth of the Rum River for hikers, bikers or those exploring the Anoka Nature Preserve. It will include a tot lot for area children and those children visiting the library.

4. Putting city owned land on the tax rolls and adding new electric utility customers.

As Weston Woods and RiversPointe developed homes for Anoka empty nesters and new residents, this area will retain Anoka families and bring in new families as well.

Without question, this is a winning combination.

Merrywayne Elvig

Excellent response

To the Editor:

I have recently been taking North Street from 7th Avenue in Anoka to Round Lake Boulevard due to the construction work on Highway 10.

The markings had been quite faded and it was very difficult to see, particularly at night and where the road curves.

Last week I called the city of Anoka on Monday to report the problem and request that the road be re-striped.

Within a day, I received a return call informing me that it turns out to be county road, and that the city staff had forwarded the concern and request to Anoka County.

I received a call from Anoka County that same day, informing me that they try to re-stripe all roads annually, and would move this road to the priority list. They hoped it would be done within the week.

When I next took the road on Thursday, it had already been re-striped!

All too often people complain about lack of response from government employees. In this case, I found the response to be excellent.

The city staff went beyond the call of duty to make the referral to Anoka County, and both agencies called me promptly. And the work was completed within a couple days of my initial call.

It makes my travel to and from work much safer and more pleasant!

Madeline Opack
Coon Rapids

Disjointed tirade

To the Editor:

If L.A. Jones is a former editor of the Anoka newspaper, I hope he wrote better editorials than his Sept. 6 letter supporting Jim Abeler. Though Jones claims to be a registered Democrat, his letter sounds more like a Rush Limbaugh rant.

Jones’ disjointed tirade call Senator Al Franken a “laughingstock” despite Franken’s 58 percent approval rating in a recent StarTribune poll.

Apparently. not many people are laughing with you, Mr. Jones.

Jones calls President Obama a “traitor” for his perfectly legal use of NSA surveillance. Jones’ statement that Obama is following the footsteps of George Bush is an incredible falsehood.

The four lives lost in Benghazi are insurmountably drawfed by the lives lost under Bush. Mr. Jones, have you noticed that we are out of Iraq, laving Afghanistan, Osama bin Laden is dead and the economy is improving?

If you are a liberal, the last thing you would want is a Republican in a Senate seat currently held by a Democrat.

Republicans who control the House have been blocking progress at every turn. They have wasted time and money by voting 40 times to defund the national health plan, when even Republicans would have to admit that the president would never sign such a bill. And you want to give them more power in the Senate?

Mr. Jones, if you really did vote for Franken in 2008, I hope you will do so again in 2014. Stop listening to the right wing and come back to the party that supports all Americans regardless of income.

Mark Wilson
Coon Rapids.

Standing ovation

To the Editor:

I’d like to thank Lyric Arts for bringing “The Laramie Project” to Anoka. My friend and I attended the Sept. 8 matinee and thoroughly enjoyed it. At its conclusion, the performance received a standing ovation.

No doubt, its content is still generating controversy. It’s an emotional play that focuses on the community of Laramie, Wyo., after the senseless beating and murder of a young gay man, Matthew Shepard, in 1998.

The content for the play was compiled by a small theater company who interviewed more than 200 townspeople a month after Shepard’s murder and gathered facts from public records.

The people of Laramie were in the national spotlight after this tragedy as media descended on the town. Residents were shocked by the horror of what happened. Their stories are poignantly shared by the Lyric Arts actors.

Whether you agree or not with the premise that Shepard’s murder was a hate crime does nothing to negate the searing pain of the loss of a child, of the loss of life.

We are all God’s children with gifts and talents to offer this world. A parent who buries a child experiences the reverse order of life; it is the child who should be burying the parent.

Thanks, Lyric Arts, for having the courage to bring this introspective play to town.

Paula Mohr

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