Letters to the Editor for Dec. 13, 2013

Preventing accidents

To the Editor:

Winter is back in full swing with significant snow and ice for all of us to battle.

That means slippery surfaces, which can be dangerous and costly for homeowners, as well as for their visitors – including their letter carrier. By clearing a path when the snow arrives, accidents can be prevented.

We need our customers’ help. Letter carriers have hurt their knees or backs, or even suffered broken bones from falls on slippery surfaces.

Letter carriers are instructed to use good judgment when attempting to deliver to addresses where ice and snow are not cleared. They are not allowed to dismount to make curb deliveries when the approach to the mailbox is hazardous because of snow or ice.

No one wants to inconvenience a customer. But we have to take every possible step to ensure the safety of our employees.

Some tips:

• Customers are asked to clear enough snow from curbside boxes – at least six feet on both sides of the mailbox – so the carrier may approach and leave without backing up his or her vehicle.

• Walkways need to be cleared so as to allow enough traction to avoid slips, trips and falls.

• Steps – especially painted wood – must be kept clear of ice and snow and in good repair.

• Overhangs must be clear and free from snow and ice to avoid injury.

The best cure for an injury is not to have it occur in the first place. Please help your letter carrier provide you with the best possible service – safely.

Dan Stark
Postmaster, Anoka/Andover

Karla Ewers,
Postmater, Cedar

‘A Soldier Is A Gift’

To the Editor:

Let us always keep our servicemen and women in our thoughts and in our prayers as they continue to serve our country all over the world.

A Soldier Is A Gift

As we celebrate Christmas, and we open our gifts, We realize what priceless gifts a soldier gives to our country – the gifts of patriotism, service and deep dedication to our nation.

As we feast on a variety of fine Christmas delicacies, we acknowledge that a soldier personifies a variety of fine qualities: courage, good character, honor, fortitude amidst hardship, persistence in subduing evil, and bravery in the sense of danger.

A soldier is a cut above the rest of us, doing jobs we could not or would not do.

While we are surrounded by Christmas comforts, we remember soldiers in places we would not want to be, bringing gifts of adaptability to any situation, no matter how harsh or difficult.

As we “ooh” and “aah” over the Christmas lights and shiny ornaments we recognize that a soldier gives us the most cherished gift of all, the shining light of freedom.

At Christmas, let us wrap our hearts and minds around our treasured soldiers.

May they understand how very much their service means to us.

Let us send the Christmas gifts of love, respect and admiration to our steadfast, loyal, magnificent warriors and their essential civilian support staff.

They themselves are the most precious gift of all, our protectors – our soldiers.
by Joanna Fuchs

Darlene Thell,
Past president of the Anoka American Legion Ladies Auxiliary and senior vice president of the Coon Rapids VFW Ladies Auxiliary

St. Francis drug issues

To the Editor:

Re.: “Surge in heroin robs town of bright live” – StarTribune, Nov. 9, 2013.

Prior to 2010, I suggested the St. Francis City Council receive a report on recent drug violations from the St. Francis Police Department.

The police chief responded that every drug violation was different and any report would be meaningless and stated that St. Francis was “meth free.”

The mayor responded that he wouldn’t know what to do with the report anyway so it would be a waste of time.

Later, I learned the data was available from the Anoka County Sheriff.

If the police chief and mayor were unaware such reports existed they were incompetent. If they knew the reports existed and didn’t use them they were worse than incompetent.

Have the chickens come home to roost?

Chester C. Graham,
Northfield, former St. Francis resident.

Modern-day slavery

To the Editor:

Keisha, a 16-year-old female, ran away from a foster home to escape sexual harassment from one of her foster family members. She met a man who called himself “Mastur D,” who offered her a chance to get back to real family at a price.

She was told she would have to perform sexual acts for commercial purposes. With no money and no knowledge of other options, she agreed.

Once they arrived in Florida, he told her she had not raised enough money to cover the costs she owed him. This continued until she was arrested and sent to a juvenile detention facility twice.

She then reached out to the Polaris Project, a charity organization dedicated to the abolition of modern-day slavery, for help. Their website tells this story and several others like it. This abhorrent practice is reminiscent of the days of slavery that many think is far behind us.

The truth is that modern-day slavery, otherwise known as human trafficking, does exist and over the years has grown at an alarming rate.

Human trafficking is the buying and selling of human beings to other human beings for their services which are usually sexual or labor related.

The International Labor Organization estimates 12.3 million people worldwide are trapped in a world of forced labor, sexual slavery or debt bondage.

Human trafficking is a $31 billion per year industry. It is second only to drug smuggling as the largest criminal industry on the planet, and is growing faster than any other criminal industry.

A significant number of victims of human trafficking are specifically used for sex. According to the Polaris Project, approximately 100,000 children are sex slaves here in the United States alone, many of whom are girls ages 12 and 14.

Awareness of human trafficking is important, but it’s not enough to address the problem. There are steps the average citizen can take to help bring modern-day slavery to an end.

The first is to visit the Polaris Project website where there are many suggestions about how to get involved and take action against human trafficking.

Some of these entail raising awareness by printing off flyers with information from the National Human Trafficking Resource Center (NHTRC), then asking local businesses if you may post them for people to see.

Another choice is doing fundraising. There are also more convenient options such as a simple donation, signing various petitions, sharing information on social media sites and supporting the passage of bills to strengthen the laws opposing human trafficking.

For instance, there is the Strengthening Child Welfare Response to Trafficking Act (HR 1732), which is a bill designed to improve the child welfare system to provide better assistance to the vulnerable youth that are homeless, in foster care or running away from abusive homes.

If you know of anyone who is a victim of human trafficking or you yourself are a victim, go to the Polaris Project website to see how to get help.

Otherwise, you can call the National Human Trafficking Hotline at 1-888-373-7888 or send a text message saying “info” or “help” to BeFree (233733).

Modern-day slavery is very real problem, but we can all do something to abolish it.

Brenan Reynolds-Barrett

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