On behalf of the residents of Mendota Heights, I would like to thank the Star Tribune and its reporter Erin Adler for calling attention in an April 7 article to the garish lighted sign on the north side of the new Twin Cities Orthopedics/Minnesota Vikings Performance Center in Eagan (front page, April 7). The building is just south of Interstate 494 and east of Dodd Road, and the sign imposes noticeable light pollution on nearby residential dwellings in Mendota Heights north of the highway.
Tom Garrison, an Eagan spokesman, is quoted in the article as saying that the sign meets city code. Yet the code governing building signs states that “no sign may be brighter than is necessary for clear and adequate visibility.” It is evident from the photos in the Star Tribune article that the sign is dramatically brighter than necessary for clear and adequate visibility. Furthermore, signs for visibility are customarily shielded so the light is focused downward. This sign lights up I-494, the residential area for more than a quarter-mile and the sky like a huge floodlight. It is a public nuisance that should be abated, and it is city and county attorneys who are charged with the duty of seeing to the abatement, should there be any reluctance on the part of Twin Cities Orthopedics or the Vikings.
Jeff Anderson, a Vikings spokesman, is quoted in the article as saying that the lights aren’t dimmable. Yet another applicable Eagan building-sign brightness code states that, “all signs ... must be equipped with a mechanism that automatically adjusts the brightness.”
The impact on adjacent residential areas, which were constructed well before the Performance Center was, will be severely tested in less than six months, when the Vikings training camp at the new Eagan site opens. Some projections are that from 60,000 to 120,000 fans or more will attend the camp over a three-week period, many of whom necessarily will funnel through Mendota Heights.
THOMAS SMITH, Mendota Heights
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Sadly, the illuminated new Vikings facility in Eagan is a glowing example of light pollution, which is a vital issue too ignored and too misunderstood. For a highly readable and fascinating study explaining the history of lighting and the effects of light pollution on humans, animals and the environment, please refer ASAP to Paul Bogard’s book “The End of Night: Searching for Natural Darkness in an Age of Artificial Light.” Bogard has written a remarkable study about light and darkness.
Janet Herbert, Minneapolis
FOREST LAKE TREATMENT CENTER
If this, too, is rejected, can we do anything to make things better?
In the time of our nation’s gun-control debate and the often-cited need for more mental health access as a part of the solution, I find it ironic and disheartening that the Forest Lake City Council would vote down the proposed psychiatric center known as Cambia Hills (“Child psych center rejected,” April 10). If we as a nation can’t regulate guns and we can’t build centers to provide access to mental health treatment, what options are left? Our leaders, even those on city councils, have to be willing to take more courageous stands and do the right thing.
Sarah Johnson, St. Paul
‘ONE OF THE WORST’ DWI CASES
Addiction is a disease; we must offer support, not just shame
The April 6 article “DWI arrest is ‘one of the worst,’ police chief says” struck a nerve. I do not condone drinking and driving. Tasha Lynn Schleicher’s endangerment of her children in a previous incident was very disturbing. However, I also have great compassion for people suffering from a chronic disease.
The article did not address Schleicher’s disease of addiction, nor any attempts to provide help. She is in desperate need of intervention and treatment. Recovery works. Many addicts try the geographical “cure” and move a lot to run away from their problems. I know that Schleicher has legal consequences to face; I just hope that treatment for her addiction and therapy for any underlying issues is a large part of her future.
Perhaps if she had been sent to a counselor and received treatment during one of these six prior DWIs, she would be on her way to recovery and reuniting with her children by now. (Minnesota Child Protective Services took custody of her children after an October arrest.) This woman is suffering terribly from the chronic disease of addiction.
My hope is that future journalists will address the disease as well as the disasters caused by them. I don’t read articles shaming the person who has a cardiac arrest while driving or who is unable to care for children due to cancer. We need to assess the biases and stigmas related to addiction.
State Sen. Chris Eaton, DFL-Brooklyn Center
$25,000 PAC CONTRIBUTION
Tolerance needs a boost in wake of story about hate ads
Brad Anderson and Richard Schulze aren’t the only ones who are shocked to learn they participated in funding anti-Muslim hate ads (“Ex-CEOs ‘shocked’ to fund hate ads,” April 7). I suspect much of Minnesota is shocked. And, it was disappointing to realize they funded other individuals and groups, like former U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann, who regularly spread fear and hate about Muslims, the LGBT community and others during campaigns.
So what might they do to repair their relationship with the people of Minnesota? In many indigenous communities, punishment as practiced in Western societies is seen as counterproductive. If an individual has been the cause of disharmony, the communities, especially elders but people of all ages, gather to hear from everyone about the harm that has been done. From this deep listening, a path toward restoring harmony emerges. Anderson and Schulze might ask some wise elders, perhaps local indigenous elders, respected clergy and others to lead a healing process with local Muslim groups like CAIR (Council on American-Islamic Relations) and other community representatives to facilitate such a process.
And let me be clear. Not only Muslims are harmed by these ads. We all are. Including representatives from the broader community would also be important, as when disharmony is sown, we all suffer.
Our country needs new models of listening to each other, of healing when harm has been done. Anderson and Schulze have the visibility and resources to model a new way forward. I invite them to do so.
Ann C. Manning, Minneapolis
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OK. I’m done. David Murphy, I hereby turn in my liberal card to you (“Ex-CEO’S $25,000 PAC donation: This is what is wrong with the world,” April 10). You really had me going there for a while; I agreed with everything you said. Then you had to go and characterize my people’s attempts to defend itself against an incessant onslaught of terrorism relentlessly perpetrated over the past 70 years as “Palestinians [being] bludgeoned by Israel since the state’s creation.”
As Muslim Arabs, Palestinians are full participants in the majority culture of a region that has been attempting to ethnically cleanse itself of Jews since the 1920s. One has to be a fool or an anti-Semite not to get that. But you had to slip the notion that Jews defending themselves against genocide are international criminals into an otherwise just and moral opinion piece. So here is my liberal card. Seems I’m not allowed to carry it together with my Jew card anymore.
Rich Furman, St. Paul