As senior pastor of Vista Lutheran Church, the consolidated congregation of Prince of Peace Lutheran and Wooddale Lutheran, I have heard numerous stories about the impact of the large stained-glass window of Christ at the former Prince of Peace building on Hwy. 7. Whether for faithful congregation members or those just driving by, this piece of sacred art helped people reflect on their relationship with God and their neighbors.
Like many church buildings across the country, the Prince of Peace building is being torn down so that new life might rise. We are delighted that nonprofit equitable housing developer Commonbond Communities will use this site to build 120 much-needed affordable housing units and an affordable child care center.
However, we have not forgotten about the sacred art of this building. We have incorporated some of the smaller stained-glass windows into our consolidated sanctuary. And in response to community pleas, including one in this paper ("The building can go, but save the stained-glass window," Readers Write, June 13, 2021), we will delicately disassemble the large stained-glass window and safely store it. We hope to pass it along to another congregation so that it might continue to enchant others for years to come.
Before taking down the window, we will light it one final time on the evening of Sunday, April 24. We invite the community to join us outside the former Prince of Peace building (8115 Hwy. 7) for a reception at 7:30 p.m. and short service and lighting ceremony at 8 p.m.
The Rev. Heidi Zimdars, St. Louis Park
GOVERNMENT SPENDING, SAVING
Fine example of a poor approach
The April 5 online article "Rochester City Council OKs $2 million bid to fix downtown sidewalks" presents a perfect example of what is wrong with government spending in this state. The article explains that the problem dates to the installation of the sidewalks, presumably by the city of Rochester, in 1980 using an inadequate grouting method. It then goes on to say that, of the $2.6 million price tag for correcting this problem, the city will have to spend only $50,000, with the balance coming from the state-funded Destination Medical Center (DMC) program. Incidentally, the Rochester Post Bulletin reported the budget as $2.95 million with $2.9 million earmarked from the DMC program. This is a local problem, locally caused, whose solution benefits the city of Rochester and no one else; why on earth should the taxpayers of Minnesota pony up nearly $3 million to fix it?
A separate article on April 6 about the extension of a freeze on student loan payments says that 43 million Americans owe a combined $1.6 trillion in student debt, and there is a strong movement to forgive this debt ("Biden set to extend freeze on student loan payments"). Not a surprise when our political leaders give the example they do: Don't bother trying to figure out how to earn the money to pay for what you want or need — that time is far more productively spent figuring out how to get someone else to pay for it!
Timothy Coyle, Roseville
Attention legislators and engaged citizens: The $9 billion-plus surplus in the latest budget forecast is somewhat of a mirage. The latest message from Lori Sturdevant is more reality than skepticism ("A skeptic's view of the state surplus," March 21).
That's why it's wise to leave at least $2 billion or even $3 billion on the bottom line as unspent when you head home in May. There's already sound policy in place that requires a portion to go into budget reserves. But, there's enough cash to meet about half of the governor's recommendation to return directly to taxpayers because that's one-time money. There's also enough cash to offer some permanent but modest income tax cuts by expanding the lower tax brackets because that helps all taxpayers, and maybe there's enough for a small reduction in the top-tier bracket. But it's wise to exercise caution because the Federal Reserve Board appears serious in breaking inflation through higher interest rates.
Finally, I'm comfortable that the prevailing political climate will divide other money between the public safety and family-leave priorities.
And all is generally well in the land of 89-year-olds.
Gene Lahammer, St. Louis Park
The writer is a former Associated Press Capitol reporter and member of Star Tribune Editorial Board.
I don't need a state tax break, and there are lots of other middle-income people like myself who don't either. There are lots of rich people who collect Social Security who do not need a tax break on it. Social Security income is just like any other income. It is the totality of one's income that should be considered in figuring out a person's tax rate, not the source.
Likewise, I don't need a gas tax break. Gas tax breaks will only encourage more driving, which will drive up demand, which further drives up prices. Gas taxes help create incentives for people to find alternative means of transportation, as many are doing already.
Sure, there are people who are hurting from inflation, but these people are likely not paying much in taxes anyway. If Republicans truly want to help people who are hurting, they should target relief to those people. They pay lip service to wanting to help the working class while the solutions they propose help themselves more than they help the needy.
Meanwhile, services that help all of us, such as schools, transit, public health, affordable housing, environmental protection, etc., suffer because of inadequate funding. I am happy to pay taxes, because my life is better due to the services that taxes pay for.
Lois Braun, Falcon Heights
Focus on existing wasted space
As I read the commentary "Lessening the urban/rural solar divide" (Opinion Exchange, April 7) it brought another suggestion to mind.
My husband and I are proponents of doing what we can to decrease our carbon footprint, including driving a hybrid car and in 2018 installing solar panels on the roof of our home. I believe strongly in utilizing more sustainable energy sources, especially solar. But as someone who grew up on a dairy farm and appreciates the beauty of the rural landscape, the site of solar farms saddens me. As noted in the previous commentary, planting native vegetation under the panels is one solution.
But I would suggest: Why not utilize the roofs of the many large buildings built on rural (and urban) land instead? The warehouses, distribution centers and retail centers could accommodate a huge number of panels. Plus they would already be conveniently located near the electrical grid. Give businesses the tax incentive to do so. It would bring in more solar-generated power and preserve the beauty of our rural landscapes.
Debra Avenido, St. Paul
What a surprise that in the solution to lessening the urban/rural solar divide, all the solar arrays still end up in rural areas. The authors just don't get it that rural people around urban areas have done their part in supplying solar fields. We have enough of them to look at. From the very beginning, the rules were written so that the urban areas didn't have to see them, the arrays could be put in the county next to where the power was needed.
There is still time to do the right thing. St. Paul has the Ford site and Minneapolis has the Upper Harbor Terminal site. Both sites are on the river. What could be better for the river than to fill those sites with pollinator-friendly perennials under solar panels? You just have to be satisfied with the income you can earn there by doing the right thing.
Darcy Kroells, Green Isle, Minn.
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