Letters to the editor for April 4, 2014

Quick fix for Northstar delays

To the Editor:

For the past 10 years I have been driving to the VA hospital in St. Cloud, about five times a year. I always wondered why there is always an idle train south of Big Lake and north of Becker. A longtime retiree of the BNSF Railroad said, “it dates back to the mid 1980s when the BNSF management was in a conservative mode. The Staggers Act was passed by Congress. Deregulation was occurring and recently in mid 1980s Frisco Railroad took over. Frisco people took over some top management jobs and almost wrecked BN. They were the ones who tore up the tracks between Big Lake and Becker for a conservative tax break. BNSF needs to put it back now.”

Someone should tell the present main stockholder Warren Buffet to use some of his pocket change to put it back this summer. The bed is there so all he needs are the ties and rails. It could be done by fall. His return on investment would be huge, with all the additional tank cards it could then handle. North Star riders would be happy and no more delays.

Tom Ward

Community supports style show

To the Editor:

The Coon Rapids American Legion Auxiliary would like to thank the following businesses and individuals for their donations of monetary gifts, certificates, goods and services to make the ninth annual style show another successful fund raiser for veterans, children, youth and community programs.

Acapulco’s Restaurant (Coon Rapids and Ramsey), African Market, American Family Insurance, Arby’s, Aveda, Avon Basket (Donna McGregor), Avon Basket (Sandy Cotter), BK Family Restaurant, Broadway Pizza, Bruegger’s Bagels, Central Bank, Chanticlear Pizza, Chick Fil-A, Chubby’s, Coon Rapids American Legion, Coon Rapids Chrysler/Dodge/Jeep/Ram, Coon Rapids Liquor Store, Costco, Cub Foods (Northdale and Riverdale), Culver’s, Eddington’s, Famous Dave’s Restaurant, Fantastic Sam’s (Coon Rapids and Ramsey), Forever Floral, Forever Young Hair Salon/Kid’s Kuts, $4 Dollar Car Wash, Good Year, Great Clips (Northdale and Riverdale), Hi- Ten Service, Highway Ten Car Care, In the Mood Hair Salon, Klein Bank, Lillian’s, Majestic Oaks Golf Club, McCarthy’s Auto World, Luther North Country Ford/Lincoln, North Star Liquor, Pappy’s Cafe, Perkins (Anoka), Pizza Hut, Popeye’s Louisiana Kitchen, Precision Tune, Reliv International (Pat Schreifels), Sammy Perrella’s Pizza, Simonson’s Spa, Soaring Adventures of America, Inc, Sparky’s Café, State Farm Insurance (Julie Bolt, agent), Target, Texas Roadhouse, Toni’s Flowers, Willey’s, Balloons Galore, Caribou Coffee, HOM Furniture, J. J. Taylor

Special thank you to the Legion family who helped set up Friday night and reset the hall on Saturday. To photographer Rob Kies for capturing our special moments, Steve Christensen and Ray Christianson for escorting the models and helping them off stage and to Tom Bohlman and Ted Kaspszak for washing the dishes. You are always there to provide assistance where ever needed.

Kudos to all the Auxiliary members who provided the delicious cakes, baskets and items for the silent auction and door prizes and making this day successful. Thank you to all who attended,  you made our day. Coon Rapids American Legion Auxiliary.

Diane Bohlman
Coon Rapids American Legion Auxiliary

Religious right is panicking

To the Editor:

The religious right is again being bullied. Yup, seems that Minnesota’s answer to bullying in our schools is just too similar to Anoka-Hennepin’s. We are intolerantly blocking them (again) from their God-given right to inflict their views on others.

The religious right has a long history of demanding the right to control the lives of others. Indeed, the colonies were founded on the right to legally punish religious dissenters.  Freedom of conscience was not allowed. Our Constitution, however, specifically overthrew official religious discrimination when it declared that no religious test shall be necessary to hold public office. It was further strengthened by the First Amendment.

As time passed, the nation was repelled by the ugliness of societal discrimination based on race, religion, ethnicity, etc. We learned from these tragedies and passed laws to prevent such shameful episodes in the future. Minnesota’s Human Rights Law bars discrimination against a wide variety of groups.

The religious right is panicking as their last victim group (sexual minorities) achieves societal acceptance and protection.

In Arizona, they proposed a law that allowed discrimination or denial of service by any person, business, corporation or institution if it was “substantially motivated by religious belief.” Their target, of course, was the gay community. The language is broad to provide plausible deniability against charges of bigotry. The language is so broad, however, that it opens the floodgates to all the ugliness of the past 200 years.

Whom else would they like to persecute? In Bedford, Mass., anti-Semitism is again making the news. They’re back to calling Jews “Christ-killers.”  According to the Arizona bill, Catholics would be free to bar Jews from their stores. Similarly, those who feel a woman’s place is in the home could legitimately refuse to hire women. We could return to the days of segregated lunch counters and signs proclaiming “No Dogs or Irishmen Allowed” above business entrances.

It’s a law that our own Rep. Bachmann wholeheartedly supports.

It’s time for the religious right to realize that their ideal of freedom-to-discriminate has been tried and decisively rejected.

Rod Kuehn

A look at the real numbers

To the Editor:

Roger Johnson challenged me to “look at the real numbers,” so I did. From the Anoka-Hennepin School District’s website, the only budget I could find was a summary of the 2008-2009 budget. The Anoka-Hennepin budget that year was $410,083,458 divided by 39,000 students in the district comes to $10,515 per student. With 30 students per classroom (Roger Johnson’s number from his Feb. 21 letter) that comes to $315,449 per classroom.

From the district’s own pie chart of the budget, 62 percent went to salaries, 18 percent went to benefits, 12 percent went to purchased services, 5 percent went to supplies and 3 percent went to that dreaded “other.”  That means $56,780 went to benefits, $37,853 went to purchased services, $15,772 went to supplies, $9,463 went to other and the rest, $195,578, went to pay salaries in every classroom.

Roger Johnson claims in his Feb. 21 letter ‘Highly paid teachers?’ that the average teacher makes $50,000 per year. I have no reason to doubt that. After all, he stated in his March 21 letter that he has spent a decade “studying school cost data in great depth.”

So if you subtract the primary teacher’s salary from each classroom, that leaves $145,578 in salaries left over per classroom.

Where’s the money going, Roger? I guess after looking at the real numbers, my initial estimate of $100,000 per classroom was a little low.

I agree with Roger Johnson, it would be nice if the school district was more transparent with their budgets. Taxpayers deserve to know that school districts are being good stewards of their money.

Mark Jensen

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