Letters to the editor for Jan. 31, 2014

Set goals for 2014

To the Editor:

As we begin 2014 it is an ideal time to reflect on accomplishments of 2013 and to set goals for 2014. The Minnesota Legislature made progress in terms of services to people with disabilities, and for that we thank our legislators.

To provide good care, we must have caring competent staff. And the legislators failed to act on a wage increase for workers providing care for older adults and people with disabilities.

We are thankful for the wage increase given to people who work in nursing home care centers, but others providing similar care for people in home and community based settings were not included in the legislation.

Mary T. Inc. is proud to support The 5% Campaign, a coalition of Minnesotans asking legislators for a 5 percent rate increase in 2014 for people who work in home and community based services.

Minnesota has a long history of supporting quality services for those in need, often leading the nation in innovation. Now is the time to stand up and make our services and our support of people who care for people a high priority.

Over the past decade, the funding for people with disabilities and the elderly has experienced many financial cuts.

Providers have been challenged to look for ways to do more with less; this has negatively impacted staff wages, since providers cannot control the increase in energy costs, real estate taxes, insurance and food.

We all work to be more efficient and effective with our monies, but cuts are cuts, which negatively impact the people we serve and the people who care for them.

Workers providing care to some of our most vulnerable Minnesotans across the state are doing professional work often times at poverty pay.

As a business, we rely on state funding for the cost of care for most of the people we support. These supports offer opportunities for people to live more independently near their families.

The 5 percent rate increase is a very modest ask for a group of taxpayers whose wages have not kept up with inflation over the past decade.

Mary T. Inc. has served the community since 1976. My mother, Margaret, and I continue to be impressed by the dedication and quality of care offered by our direct care staff.

Through these years, we have seen the people we support age and their medical needs increase dramatically. Our staff continues to be dedicated to providing competent caring services; they deserve a livable wage.

People who serve people so they can live with dignity, also need to live in dignity!

Anoka County is lucky to be represented by some true legislative champions – Rep. Jerry Newton, Rep. Jim Abeler and Sen. John Hoffman.

These legislators have been strong advocates for people with disabilities and older adults. They have lead efforts at the Capitol for legislation to support innovative services and better wages for caregivers.

Please join me in 2014 in supporting their efforts and The 5% Campaign to continue building stronger supports for people in need in every neighborhood across Minnesota.

Dr. Mary Tjosvold
Founder and CEO, Mary T. Inc.
Coon Rapids

World War II POW poem

To the Editor:

At our Ladies Auxiliary meeting on Jan. 7,  at Sgt. John Rice VFW #6316 Blaine, my POW/MIA Chairman Joanne Meyer, read the following poem by Ray Elias, a World War II prisoner of war whose plane was shot down on Aug. 17, 1943.

My Prison Bed
My prison bed is three stories high
It’s also two beds wide.
I sleep up in the middle
With another by my side.

Two more sleep above me
Thank God there’s none below
Because to sleep next to the floor
Just adds to a prisoner’s woe.

The beds are full of fleas and lice,
And I almost forgot the bugs.
I’d rather sleep on a nice clean floor
Covered with rags or rugs.

Our springs consist of bed boards,
The mattress is of straw.
Blankets are made of pulp wood
Against which there should be a law.

Oh! To sleep on a spring bed
With sheets of snowy white.
Soft wool blankets to cover me,
When I go to bed at night.

All the people back home who complain,
Are just crazy in the head.
And should be made to sleep one night
Upon my wooden bed!

Ray received five purple hearts among other medals. Ray passed away on Sept. 12, 2008 at the age of 85 years. We thank Ray for his years of service.

Remember POW/MIA awareness, “Until They Are Home,” “You Are Not Forgotten.” At each of our monthly meetings, POW/MIA Chairman Joanne Meyer lights a candle, recites a prayer followed by a moment of silence.

Mary Lou Michels
Sgt. John Rice VFW Auxiliary president

Ignorance and bigotry

To the Editor:

Social liberals and elite academia continuously express ignorance and bigotry; Michael Diedrich is another example.  The foundation of their arguments and cheers is the anti-bullying campaigns they forced into our school district.

Bullying is wrong. Whether it is sexual orientation, social economic, obesity or other excuses for hate, these liberals and elitists primarily focus their agenda and benefits towards the Gay, Lesbian, Bi-Sexual and Transgender community under anti-bullying campaigns.

In his letter, Mr. Diedrich mentions how the Gay Equity Team and AH Teachers Union defeated the “neutrality policy,” which treated every student equally without favor.

Let us remind Mr. Diedrich and readers why the neutrality policy was put in place. Christian students were being forced to endure curriculums, lectures, speakers, events and other venues promoting GLBT sexual and social practices.

Being Christians have the freedom of conscience and free will, many were forced to participate against their faith beliefs. In some cases, Christian students were disciplined in the classroom and others were forced into sensitivity training.

Now step back; if GLBT students were treated at this same level of disrespect, if their lifestyle was forced into Christian sensitivity training, what would these liberal elitists call it?  We have that answer – bullying.

The second impact is financial. Anoka Hennepin School District is facing extraordinary budget challenges because of the Gay Equity Team and AH Teacher Union policies and curriculum requirements, along with the unfounded lawsuit against Anoka-Hennepin by the Southern Poverty Law Center, which is a leading anti-Christian and pro gay social agenda organization.

Once the recommendations of Minnesota 2020 are implemented at the state level, taxpayers will see local and state taxes increased. Not for education, but for a social agenda benefiting exclusively the GLBT community.

Diversity means including all students, no matter their sexual practices or religious faiths. Diversity means “intellectual diversity,” which includes all perspectives.
Be tolerant of all; not only those who you want to protect or an agenda you want to force onto others.

Brian Tommerdahl

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