Letters to the editor for Feb. 14, 2014

Anoka should take the lead

To the Editor:

To the mayor and city council of Anoka, after being made aware of the current moratorium placed on HOPE 4 Youth to move ahead with an emergency shelter I am compelled to write to all you gentlemen.

After working for 30 years as a realtor in Anoka County I have met all kinds of people with all kinds of backgrounds and problems. I am acutely aware of the political and safety elements involved with such a sensitive subject as housing youth overnight in your city, and what that could entail.

Now, to the nuts and bolts of what reality is. I have been intensely involved with the criminal system in Anoka County on many levels because of my son’s mental illness, homelessness and drug addiction. He has contributed to your city’s crime rate. He has been homeless and sought shelter when running away from his father’s abuse.

I am painfully aware of the drug problem that infests your county and what the crime rate is in the city of Anoka. We all know these problems are epidemic. You, as council members want to protect your good standing and that of your community. You may even be able to relate and empathize personally through your own experiences relating to the demise of family structure or business brought on by addiction, abuse, apathy, or mental illness.

If this was an overnight shelter for other than human beings would a moratorium have been made? But it wasn’t – it is about vulnerable, unprotected and penniless youth, just as defenseless as mistreated animals, sent out in below zero temperatures.

Why do you not have Anoka “shine” as an example for other cities to follow. The model set forth and the abundant support received for HOPE 4 Youth from the surrounding community speaks for itself. These children deserve a chance to get help right at this hour, not a week from now, not a month from now, not six months in a neat little package to be presented favorably to the public by you – the council.

I am afraid Anoka is having a hard time losing its “good ole boys’ club” persona. The moratorium speaks very loudly to the public about what you are not willing to look at.

These children will not get better on their own. Soon or later by ignoring the grand opportunity placed in front of you which provides a divine intervention for these young adults, you will receive the consequences of “turning your head away.” These children have  no place to sleep at night, no food, no mental stability, no trust.

What these children do have is lots of physical and emotional abuse, mental illness, abandonment, addiction and hopelessness. But these children are reaching out for help by coming to the shelter. Many children get so hardened and paranoid they are beyond simple help and end up in your Anoka County Jail or juvenile detention center.

There is a fine line when these children “break” and are hardened. By helping these kids now by providing an overnight shelter, you are protecting your community from another potential “break-in,” another loss by a store owner through shoplifting, another drug bust and most of all, you are setting an example and encouraging your  community to step up and help.

Employing the goodwill of the residents to make a difference in a child’s life will not only improve your community in blessings but above all help a young adult change their attitude to gratitude because they feel valuable, lovable and wanted.

My son at age 23 is now sitting in jail for aggravated robbery while severely mentally ill and a severe meth addict. His favorite place to hang out was Anoka because of all the drug dealers and users, and has been his hang-out for eight years.

If compassion does not pull at your heart strings, then my statement to you, “Do nothing and it will bite you later.” One un-rescued youth can do a lot of damage when they “become hardened” and until they get the help and the therapy they need, the spiral will always be downwards.

Why don’t  you as council members take “the lead” in changing the way communities handle our homeless children? I guarantee other cities and possibly churches will take your lead.

Someone has to be brave enough to change the system now. I predict before mid-2015 homicides and deaths among our young people in Minnesota will rise drastically.

If this problem is ignored and pushed off to the future, even a few months down the road, it will be a problem knocking on everyone’s door, whether we want to answer or not.

I know from experience and 14 years of advocacy the painful results of fallen children into the streets – even the best parents cannot rescue these children on their own. But every child, youth, young adult, will tell you that they still have hope when someone on the street reaches out to them like HOPE 4 Youth instead of settling for the comfort and lies of a surrogate drug dealer or pimp.  None of our children are immune from the throes of this travesty, because it will cause damage to all those around it.

Debbie Dondlinger

No legalization of medical marijuana

To the Editor:

The recent legalization of marijuana for adult recreational use in a couple of states is being applauded by the main stream media and most of the liberal left once, and again demonstrates the fall of core values that this country is experiencing.

The supporters of marijuana use the excuse the state will make money. It will. It will help keep private users out of jail. It will.

But at what point does common sense set in? If there are two families and in one family there is no use of marijuana and in the other family there is routine use of marijuana, which family are the children given better example?

Anytime a person sticks something into their mouth and sets it on fire, that is not a good thing.

Contact your representative so we can nip this marijuana move early on.

Thank you,
Gene Hodel
Oak Grove


A letter in the Jan. 24 editions of the ABC Newspapers regarding the holiday concert at Anoka High School was written by Priscilla, not Patricia, Quaday. We apologize for the error.

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