After reading about what helps seniors to better age in place (Variety, Feb. 25), it would appear all of them need to move to Minneapolis or St. Paul, where there are skyways and convenient shops. What about all the seniors who live in every other area of Minnesota? Many of these seniors are not interested in moving, much less to Minneapolis or St. Paul. In fact, the senior population is growing at a much faster pace in Greater Minnesota than anywhere else. What are our options? I realize that urban areas were the scope of the particular researcher cited in the article, and I applaud her work, but please don’t represent it as an answer for Minnesota’s senior populations, as the headline at StarTribune.com did. Small cities across the state are tackling this issue by incorporating these discussions in overall city planning. It might be a good idea for university researchers to expand their vision also. The last conversation we need as a state is another topic for division between metro/urban/rural.
Suzanne Hilgert, Olivia, Minn.
The writer is Olivia’s mayor.
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So pleased to read with my 69-year-old eyes that environmental gerontologist Jessica Finlay has “found that seniors love skyways … and joke about being killed while trying to cross a busy street-even with the light and in a crosswalk.” Crosswalk? Would be nice. At a Whittier Alliance meeting last spring, I asked City Council Member Lisa Bender’s assistant why the painted crosswalks (in my Whittier neighborhood) aren’t painted on a maintenance basis. Many are a sorry and dangerous excuse for a crosswalk. I was told that council members do not have discretionary budget money to do this — yet, there seems to be plenty for bike lanes, safety poles, etc. You want us to “age in place”? Then start respecting people who choose to walk by maintaining the crosswalks, including pedestrian-activated flashers.
Joanna Kause-Johnson, Minneapolis
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I can relate to the article on “Aging in a better place.” When my husband and I would take our daily walks, we knew the whereabouts of every wall and rock on which to take a rest. Now that I am staying in my home alone, I also have become aware of the challenges. I welcomed the arrival of light rail to my neighborhood, hoping I would be able to leave my car in the garage. However, obstacles such as walking distance, icy sidewalks, lack of parking or pick-up space finds me not using it as much as hoped. The last time I rode the train, from the St. Paul Central station, I found that there were no benches to sit on, so I had to wait standing up! Not very senior-friendly.
Judy Bratt, Minneapolis
Business community widely favors it as part of an overall plan
The opposition from some quarters at the State Capitol to Southwest light rail specifically and transit generally has been intense. Yet, there is widespread agreement within the business community about the importance of an expanding, multimodal transit system as part of an overall transportation investment policy for Minnesota.
Employers tell us the people they seek to attract to work at their businesses are drawn to transit options, the lack of which will lessen our ability to bring talent here. Already more than 40 percent of downtown Minneapolis employees arrive to work via transit, a figure that must rise to 60 percent in future years to sustain growth. And for other workers in the Twin Cities, a burgeoning transit system will open up more job opportunities than ever before. Just as one example, some 255,000 additional existing jobs will be within a 40-minute commute for riders of the planned Green Line extension (Southwest LRT).
Other regions we compete with are moving forward. 2016 was a banner year for locally fashioned and approved transit investment plans, resulting in $170 billion in commitments. As communities from Seattle to Atlanta invest, we seem stuck in neutral, at best. And at worst, recent proposals would move us in the wrong direction.
New to the debate this year, metro-area counties are looking to assume a greater role in financing future transit development consistent with current plans and in cooperation with one another and the Metropolitan Council. The Legislature should resist throwing up roadblocks to county leadership, freeing state officials to focus on adopting a whole-state solution for roads, bridges and transit.
What’s at stake in this long-running debate is our ability to grow, compete and prosper as a region and state.
This letter was signed by Steve Cramer, president and CEO of the Minneapolis Downtown Council; Jonathan Weinhagen, president and CEO of the Minneapolis Regional Chamber of Commerce, and Shannon Full, president of the Twin West Chamber of Commerce.
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State Sen. David Osmek, R-Mound, says that we’d get more bang for the buck using Southwest light rail money for roads and bridges (“GOP plan to divert LRT funds barred,” March 2). Is he aware that professional traffic engineers reached the opposite conclusion? In the west metro, diverting just a few trips to transit is a much less expensive way to get traffic moving than adding freeway lanes.
Richard Adair, Minneapolis
CONTACTS WITH RUSSIANS
We voters don’t care, but we do care that you’re whining about it
Dear senators from Minnesota and all the U.S.: Why do you not put forth some effort to actually work to get this country’s problems fixed? Instead, you act like third-grade children.
I do not care who talked to a Russian official or when. I do not care if Attorney General Jeff Sessions, former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn or President Trump get together every Saturday to play cards and have a beer. It would not have changed my vote last November, but your antics will most certainly influence my vote when you are up for re-election.
Where were your protests for “Fast and Furious”? Benghazi? Eric Holder lying? Remember “if you like your insurance, you can keep it”? Not a word.
Why not just admit you are part of the reason Trump is in the White House and hopefully will be for eight years.
We the people are watching.
B.W. Peterson, Prior Lake
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We now know that at least three of Trump’s key staffers met with the Russians at the Republican National Convention in Cleveland last summer. We also know that Trump called for a significant softening of the stance toward Russia in the Republican platform. All this while we the public were being told about potential Russian involvement in our election.
Isn’t the very act of meeting with our most important global foe a problem all by itself, even if they talked about favorite places to visit in their respective countries? At minimum (and perhaps much more nefarious), the Trump campaign was signaling a future warm relationship with our foe. If I (or any other executive) got caught having a private meeting with the CEO of a competitor, my job would last about two minutes. Having a defense that were just talking about kids wouldn’t cut it.
These private meetings also leave Trump wide open to the fear of blackmail. All that Russian President Vladimir Putin has to do at any given moment is go to CNN and say that Sessions came looking for help, and our country would be in chaos for months.
Michael G. Emerson, Minneapolis
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Donald Trump has lied to the American public since he initiated his presidential campaign. Why should anyone be surprised that his national security adviser lied to the FBI or that his pick for attorney general appears to have lied to the Senate Judiciary Committee? They seem to be just following their leader.
Dee Long, Minnetonka
The writer is a former legislator and speaker of the Minnesota House.