Don’t let group stop redevelopment

As a family-run business located in the heart of Dinkytown for more than 80 years, we’ve witnessed the evolution of this distinct neighborhood. University of Minnesota students and faculty will always shape its character, but the key ingredient for Dinkytown’s continued vitality is customers. A small customer base forces retailers to close soon after the grand opening balloons are deflated.

Today, Dinkytown businesses have an opportunity to welcome more customers via new housing, which could create an environment for a new bakery, florist or other small businesses to thrive. The new housing would be on the parcel of land with my store — The House of Hanson (built in 1973, years after Dylan roamed the streets). The proposed project would provide secure, lighted parking and an architectural design that complements the area, as well as hourly parking for Dinkytown visitors.

Change is part of any life cycle. Embrace it. Parts of Dinkytown are old and need revamping. Dinkytown is not a museum. Please don’t let those claiming to “Save Dinkytown” (June 3) destroy it by halting progress.

LAUREL BAUER, Minneapolis

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Better answers needed for a growing problem

As a college reader, I was disappointed in the recent coverage of the student debt problem (“State’s grads carry a heavy debt burden,” June 1). If politicians wanted real solutions to lowering the cost of higher education, they would get the federal government out of the system. Higher-education institutions know too well that students can access government guaranteed loans to pay for bloated tuition and fees and, therefore, have little incentive to cut costs and compete with other schools. If this easy credit was cut down, colleges would be forced to cut costs to sell their product: an education. Instead, students are instructed to incur debt and pay it off after they get a job. This isn’t a hopeful perspective for graduates. Want a real solution? Leave it to the free market to offer private loans that will be less likely to default due to credit checks and cheaper for students as financial institutions compete for business by lowering interest rates.


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Dense areas need transit the most

I’m shocked that both proposed light-rail lines take pains to avoid the metro’s densest areas. The Southwest proposal bypasses south Minneapolis, jetting past Uptown on a bicycle trail. The Northwest proposal goes straight west to serve a golf course in the middle of a vast park, avoiding north Minneapolis. Buses to these areas are overloaded. Why are we spending hundreds upon hundreds of millions to build rail bypassing most of our citizens?


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Let’s talk about the cost of skyways

So the public may be responsible for the $6.4 million price tag for the skyways built around the new Vikings stadium. Big deal! The public paid $8.5 million for a one-block stretch to connect the Cedar Lake bike trail from Washington Avenue to the West River Road Parkway. This project entailed a bit of asphalt for one city block. I’d say the skyways are a real bargain in relation to one block of asphalt.

RON WERNER, St. Louis Park

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Airlines aren’t very good neighbors

Airplane noise is becoming hard to take. I live in a part of Eagan that up until a few years ago was quiet and peaceful, with just an occasional plane flying over. Gradually planes started flying over our homes more frequently, and have gotten increasingly worse. Some days we have as many as 150 to 200 flights over our home. They’re often low and loud. Yet, we’re told we do not qualify for insulation. It’s ridiculous. If we had moved into a neighborhood that already had noise problems, that would be different. But we were already here. Airlines are businesses that make money while we suffer from the noise, reduced safety and devaluing of our homes.


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A step forward for public health

Thanks to Gov. Mark Dayton and the Minnesota Legislature for a stellar session that funds what Minnesotans care about most: our families. As a former smoker, I was glad to see the $1.60 increase to the cigarette tax because it will help people quit and keep kids from starting. The revenue from the tobacco tax in the first two years is estimated to be $430 million.

While about 5 percent of that might go to the stadium, the rest of the money goes into the general fund and helps pay for all-day kindergarten, the Statewide Health Improvement Program, the Safe Routes to School program, better care for the elderly and disabled, screening for cancers and much more. This budget not only pays for what we value, it saves lives. Because of the tax, we know that more than 47,700 kids won’t start smoking and 36,600 adults will quit, saving Minnesota more than $1 billion in health care costs.

LINDA CREAR, Richfield

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There are just not enough of them

When commentary writer Steve Berg argues in a June 2 article that seniors should help to carry our nation’s burdens (“Do seniors deserve that discount?”), he’s forgetting that many retired people, on a fixed income, rely on earnings from their savings. One credit union is giving less than 1 percent for two years, and banks give even less. We are doing our share by letting these institutions use our money to support their efforts with very little compensation.


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Oh goodness gracious, not only do seniors deserve their discounts — they deserve more of them.