Letters to the editor for Feb. 7, 2014

Huge sigh of relief

To The Editor:

I want to extend a huge thank you, as well as a sigh of relief to the Anoka-Hennepin School Board. Allow me to explain why.

After the Dec. 9 Anoka-Hennepin School Board meeting, the parents of the Anoka Middle School for the Arts theater students were scared.

A local parent had gone before the school board presenting a petition and a speech calling for the end of Sunday matinee performances.  This parent argued that school activities on Sundays, but mainly AMSA’s theater performances, took away from what the parent deemed as “family and worship time.”

Not only had this parent not taken into consideration each individual family’s freedom to choose how they spend their family time, this parent failed to realize how invaluable Sunday performances are to the AMSA Theater Department. To lose our Sunday shows would have been a huge hit for us.

Also, this parent seemed to not take into consideration the religious and economic diversity we have in the Anoka-Hennepin School District. We are a large school district with many different faiths, let alone many different work schedules.

Some parents are only able to see their child perform or contribute to one of the shows on a Sunday.  Should they lose the opportunity to see their child shine due to a work schedule?

Our Sunday shows are the most popular in the community, and therefore, the most financially successful. They give senior citizens and small children the opportunity to see the AMSA theater productions. Many seniors have come up to thank us for having these Sunday afternoon shows since the Friday or Saturday night performances would have been nearly impossible for them to attend.

Not to mention, our Sunday shows are often the cornerstone of family activity for many in our community. Aunts, uncles, cousins, grandparents and parents having gathered countless times at our school on a Sunday, eager to see the show.

We could not lose this day. The AMSA Theater Boosters took it upon ourselves to do whatever we could to save it. We counter-petitioned, contacted the media for support and tried to rally our supporters in any way we could, and the response was outstanding.

How validating and wonderful it was to hear such positivity from our community! Our supporters understood and realized how important this day was and they also recognized everyone’s freedom to choose how to spend their time.  Thankfully, the Anoka-Hennepin School Board also agreed with us, and now, Sunday shows are safe and will remain!

I cannot, personally, tell you how thrilled I was to hear the decision made in our favor. As a parent of an AMSA theater student, I have lots of people who are so excited to see our collective child perform when he is in shows.

I sometimes see the particular play he’s in up to four or five times in a run because we are lucky enough to have that may people wanting to see it, and yes, I usually attend both Sunday matinees, since, in reality, there are only two Sunday matinees per show.

Take my dad, for instances. He makes it a point to come see every show my son has ever been in. My dad is someone who never misses a Sunday church service either. He manages to find time for both worship and family, which includes theater performances, on his Sundays.

As this issue was going on and I turned to my dad for advice he said to me, “I can’t tell you how much I look forward to seeing those plays.”

It has paid off to put our faith in the Anoka-Hennepin School Board. They have shown themselves to not only be supporters of the arts throughout our district but supporters of personal freedoms of the families in the district they represent.

A huge thank you to the Anoka-Hennepin School Board from the AMSA Theater Boosters for saving our Sunday shows.
Thanks again!  We look forward to you attending our next show.

Roxy Orcutt
AMSA Theater Boosters

Struggles of MNsure

To the Editor:

Recently, I saw Rep. Jerry Newton (DFL- Coon Rapids) sing the praises of MNsure, the state bureaucracy tasked with implementing Obamacare in Minnesota.

While Democrats talk about the importance of making healthcare a right, their beloved new law has been ruining that opportunity for a multitude of Minnesotans.

While thousands of Minnesotans are expected to lose their healthcare coverage because of Obamacare’s implementation in Minnesota, MNsure continues to struggle to reach its enrollments goals.

MNsure says individual market enrollment for 19,420 households are “in process” meaning that these people are in various stages of completing the enrollment process. However, only about 8,800 Minnesotans have been able to submit payment for plans which they’ve applied for through MNsure.

Put another way, after the first 88 days of the 182 open-enrollment period, less than 13 percent of MNsure’s 2014 open enrollment goal – 69,904 individual market plans – have even come close to completing the enrollment process.

With MNsure, there are three important numbers to remember:

• 1,587 – the number of Minnesotans whose private information – including Social Security numbers – was released by MNsure because of inadequate data practice safeguards.

• 280,000 – the number of Minnesotans who are expected to lose their current health insurance plans because of Gov. Dayton’s implementation of Obamacare in Minnesota.

• 1.5 percent – the new tax imposed on health insurance plans by MNsure’s unelected board for 2014. That tax is likely to go higher as early as next year since there are more people enrolling in the government plans than the private market plans, and, because of MNSure’s inability to attract and enroll young healthy people (the goal was 33 percent of enrollees, as of Jan. 4, only a little more than 20 percent have enrolled).

Moreover, one of the major tenets for Obamacare was to help the uninsured. Sadly, MNsure is not even tracking applicants’ insurance status when they attempt to enroll in a plan through MNsure.

The federal HHS department is supposed to conduct a survey by 2016, but it won’t be nearly as accurate as if MNsure had collected this data up front.

It’s clear that the implementation of Obamacare in Minnesota by Gov. Dayton and Democrat legislators is anything but affordable, secure, or competitive for Minnesotans.

John Stong

Solution for icy roads

To the Editor:

This has been a terrible winter in Minnesota for icy roads. I am sick of watching the news every morning and hearing of all the accidents and crashes. Even one crash impacts some family financially and creates a hardship of having a car in the shop.

If we could put a man on the moon 50 years ago, it is time some wizard in Minnesota could come up with a solution for the icy roads.

MnDOT passes the buck by claiming “the chemicals, salt and sand do not work in extreme cold.” Then come up with a chemical that does work. This old answer does not work today – the buck passing with MnDOT has to stop before more people are killed on these roads.

If Gov. Dayton can budget $134 million to renovate the Capitol and you elected people chose to spend millions on a new Senate office building that will benefit only you – then it is time to do something about these roads that impact thousands and thousands of drivers every single day!

Gov. Dayton should demand that someone find a solution to melting the ice, snow and black ice on the roads in extreme cold.

I bet if you gave this problem to some college kids, they could find an answer. Go to MIT, reach out, have someone work on this problem instead of MnDOT just ignoring it and saying, “Oh, well, not our problem, blame the weather”

Lives are at stake here – this is a problem that you elected people are ignoring.

Marge Miller
Coon Rapids

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