Kudos to Schafer Richardson for its brilliant new design (“Development at site of Nye’s is being cut down to size,” Sept. 12). The new design is scaled appropriately for its location within the riverfront historic district and makes the most of wonderful old structures, cradling them with 21st-century buildings. The development’s retail components and pedestrian orientation will serve as an iconic welcome to this vital and growing urban neighborhood.

Schafer Richardson, please: Would you now go work your wonders with U.S. Bank and M.A. Mortenson Co. two blocks down Hennepin Avenue, where designs are underway that would bring outmoded and car-dominant buildings to a key site in the middle of the neighborhood?

U.S. Bank, please: A one-story facility with drive-up windows and lots of parking while hundreds of apartments are about to go up across the street and down the block? The banking facility should be incorporated into a larger building that hides the parking from the views of neighbors and pedestrians alike.

And Mortenson, please: A residents’ exercise room where retail space should be? That won’t enliven the street; it will deaden it. Ditto the parking ramp, no matter what pretense at screening. And that “cinch belt” design, where the building narrows in a bit a few stories up, only to jut back out again a few feet higher up? The building will overpower both Hennepin Avenue and 4th Street.

S. Doré Mead, Minneapolis

The writer is a former member of the Minneapolis City Council.

GREENWOOD MURDER-SUICIDE

Thanks for the professionalism, resources in the face of a tragedy

On behalf of the city of Greenwood, I extend a heartfelt thank you for the outstanding police work regarding the Short family tragedy in Greenwood. I am grateful that the South Lake Minnetonka Police Department, the Hennepin County Sheriff’s Office and Deephaven Police resources were available to come together during this unspeakable tragedy. Thank you for keeping the public informed, and thank you for your professional calmness as the facts of the case unfolded. It is comforting to know that “the finest” are working for us.

On behalf of the city of Greenwood, I also extend condolences to the friends and relatives of the Short family, co-workers, neighbors, and Minnetonka High School students and staff at this difficult time. The loss of an entire family in our community is heartbreaking.

DEBRA J. KIND; mayor, Greenwood

 

DIANE AHRENS CRISIS RESIDENCE

Thanks to those who understood and helped us move forward

We at People Incorporated Mental Health Services have been humbled and gratified by the support received over the last few weeks as we pursued St. Paul City Council permission to relocate one of our crisis residence programs (“Council approves crisis center,” Sept. 10). As a vocal minority worked to prevent the move into their neighborhood, supporters from all over the metro area lent their support and shared their own stories in an effort to dispel the myths and convey the reality of the impact that mental illness has on our community. The fact is one in four of us will suffer from a mental illness at some point during our lifetimes.

Thank you to St. Paul Mayor Chris Coleman and Ramsey County Commissioner Jim McDonough for leadership on this issue, and special thanks to City Council Members Russ Stark, Dai Thao, Dave Thune, Amy Brendmoen and Chris Tolbert for their courage in looking past the stigma and doing the right thing for all of us.

Jill Wiedemann-West, CEO, People Incorporated Mental Health Services

 

REMEMBERING 9/11

Lessons to be learned, yes. And we’re still learning, aren’t we?

I think we need to reflect on “How to be true to the memory of this day,” as suggested by an Opinion Exchage commentary Sept. 11.

But when I got to recommendation No. 3 — which included “Call out our president for making deals with terrorist countries that jeopardize our future” and “Raise our voice to those groups (the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant, or ISIL) that show no regard to human life” — I paused and thought: Wait a minute.

Perhaps the author, a high school social-studies teacher, should help students understand that ISIL was founded by inmates of an American prison camp in Iraq, Camp Bucca (as reported in the Washington Post and by the Star Tribune on Nov. 5, 2014).

And if we are to call attention to those groups that show no regard to human life, perhaps we might reflect on the U.S. drone warfare program, expanded by the current president, which kills hundreds, including many innocent civilians, without judicial review.

And we might encourage diplomatic agreements negotiated and endorsed by an international coalition and supported by a majority in the U.S. Congress.

Yes, we must reflect on the tragedy of Sept. 11, 2001, and its aftermath. Sadly, it has not brought out the best in us.

Duane L. Cady, Roseville

• • •

Fourteen years later, there are still surprising stories, moving memories of courageous survivors of the Sept. 11 attacks, of selfless rescuers who risked their lives to help others. These accounts are genuinely moving.

There is nevertheless an unnerving naiveté to so many of the stories of noble, self-sacrificing Americans, as if we were the first people to be shaken to our core by trauma. What of the men and women shaken from their beds by tanks rumbling through Santiago, Chile, on Sept. 11, 1973, as a U.S.-sponsored coup overthrew their democratically elected government? What of the Salvadorans, Gazans and Iraqis who have tried to shelter their children from bombs and terror in the night? What of the Syrians desperately seeking the most rudimentary shelter that we prize ourselves for affording the evacuees from Manhattan, while presidential candidates preen their contempt for “undocumented aliens”?

Are we so vain that we think that history is about us? The human story is much deeper. It is past time we joined it and accepted our responsibility in it.

Neil Elliott, Falcon Heights

 

OIL

And what if what we paid were equal to this resource’s value?

Steven Boyer (“Oil and circuses: Our frivolous approach to the planet,” Sept. 12) makes convincing arguments for using fuel resources wisely. Another example: Imagine you need to push your car 25 miles over hill and dale. You would gather all of your friends (and maybe more), and be at it for endless hours.

Now realize that the energy required to accomplish this feat is embedded within a single gallon of gas! The value of such a commodity is not reflected in the current price of $2.50. No, this gift of nature is to be treasured, and not squandered.

Don Bailey, Bloomington