Instead of sidewalks, worry about the streets

In the Jan. 1 story "On the snow patrol," about city fines for failing to clear sidewalks, no mention was made of the city's corresponding responsibility to clear public thoroughfares.

It seems to me that the revenue raised from the fines levied on Minneapolis residents who fail to shovel their sidewalks would best be used to help clear the side streets. My street currently has several inches of ice on it, making any sojourn from my apartment a dangerous adventure.

I find it highly hypocritical that the city fines residents for not clearing their sidewalks when it can't be bothered to clear the streets that those residents use every day. I call on the city to do a better job clearing the side streets in Minneapolis. The main streets look fine, but many of us must drive on the side streets, too.



The rank-and-file need to be heard

The leadership of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of America (ELCA) turned its back on members of its churches and threatens the very existence of the church by allowing noncelibate pastors in homosexual relationships to be ordained into the ELCA. The ELCA has acted contrary to "the inspired Word of God -- the authoritative source and norm of -- proclamation, faith and life."

Most members were caught off-guard when just a few hundred people at the ELCA Churchwide Assembly in Minneapolis made this decision last August. There were 4.6 million members of ELCA congregations, and those members did not have a voice in this critical decision. In fact, the ELCA Articles of Incorporation prevent us from voting. Congregations fund the ELCA from members offerings, but members have no voice.

The ELCA leadership certainly did not want congregational members voting on this controversial and unprecedented proposal because the vast majority of us would have opposed the decision. Last September, 91 percent of the members surveyed at a congregational meeting of Hosanna! Lutheran Church of Lakeville, one of Minnesota's largest ELCA congregations, supported separation from the ELCA. Also, the two largest ELCA congregations in North Dakota voted to stop funding the ELCA.

Not only were the members of the ELCA denied a vote on this controversial proposal, those members do not have the opportunity to directly elect either the presiding bishop or the national church council that theoretically runs the ELCA. No one represents all the laity.

What should ELCA members do?

• Think about our youth. The ELCA decision is a travesty upon our youth.

• Hold a congregational vote on whether the ELCA should permit noncelibate homosexuals to be ordained as pastors.

• Stop all funding to the ELCA.

•Contact Lutheran CORE (www.

It's up to us lay people.


and Al Quie, Minnetonka


For years they've been more than patient

State Sen. Kathy Saltzman's comments suggesting that now is not the right time for teachers to be negotiating salary increases ("States fear state will slash aid," Jan. 2) is somewhat disingenuous in light of the fact that over the past 11 years -- since I started teaching -- we have been continually told that it's not the right time to get a decent raise.

My question to the senator: When is it ever going to be the right time?




It was meant to be played outdoors

Considering the importance of hockey for many in Minnesota, the Dec. 30 article "Hockey program on thin ice / Tight budgets are curbing opportunities for youth hockey in some working-class neighborhoods" should be a must-read for all Minnesotans.

To some, playing hockey might seem like a luxury. But to others, it seems like a necessity. It is consistent with Minnesotans' sense of fairness that it be available to all. The article made that point well.

However, I would hate for folks to arrive at the conclusion that it was all but over for hockey in north Minneapolis. Our agency, New Directions Youth Ministry, is still trying to resuscitate the sport from its recent downturn. We actually have 45 participants this year, down from our usual 60 to 70.

We appreciate the reporting on the facility situation, but it is actually slightly worse than reported. Bryn Mawr is reserved exclusively for broomball, a revenue-generating sport. Harrison, for 20 years our central hockey facility, was closed in 2007. This leaves no outdoor rink for hockey for a large chunk of north Minneapolis.

We have asked for an opening of a hockey sheet at either Bryn Mawr or Harrison, to no avail. We have also asked for increased public skating at Minneapolis' indoor rinks (either at Parade or Northeast), once again to no avail.

Thanks for the article. Parents, encourage your kids to play outside in the winter! The heritage of hockey is on the outdoor rinks! If we do not use them, they will disappear altogether.