After reading yet another article about the city of Arden Hills and Ramsey County attempting to develop the Twin Cities Army Ammunition Plant (TCAAP) property (“Arden Hills stunned at revised plan,” March 30), I have come to the conclusion that the city is just not equipped to be included in the development project. If not for the county, this project would not be at the launching point. It’s time to seriously consider that the property be annexed from Arden Hills to either Shoreview or Mounds View. Too many years and too many tax dollars have been exhausted on this 427 acres. Other parts of the county would have seized upon this opportunity, and the project would be generating jobs, housing, infrastructure and tax revenue. I have worked with many Arden Hills leaders over 14 years, and they just don’t have it in themselves to actually make a decision to begin this development.

Joe Murphy, Vadnais Heights

The writer is a former commissioner’s assistant in Ramsey County and a former Vadnais Heights City Council member.

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As Ramsey County and Arden Hills continue to move further apart in their dispute over the number of total housing units and affordable housing units that can be built on the county-owned TCAAP site, the Legislature could step in and resolve this by simply removing Arden Hills from the equation. If Ramsey County so desires, the Legislature should act to detach this land from Arden Hills, allowing the county to develop it as an unincorporated area for now. Once fully developed, it could remain directly governed by the County Board, become a separate municipality on its own, or perhaps neighboring Shoreview would be interested in annexing the property and its robust tax base. Arden Hills has no legitimate claim to governance over this massive vacant property.

Matt Brillhart, Minneapolis


Why can’t we do it? Because the guidance creates undue pressure

There is a simple answer to “Why can’t Minnesotans learn to zipper merge in roadwork zones?” (March 31): The Minnesota Department of Transportation actually creates a “panic merge.”

For whatever reason, whenever there is a lane closure, MnDOT sets up a sign advising drivers which lane is closed ahead. It then reinforces this with another sign advising drivers to merge, with arrows indicating which direction. This is the start of the backed-up “open lane” and the early merging from the “closed” lane.

If MnDOT would simply inform drivers with a sign saying “Road Work Ahead — Use Both Lanes,” there would be no “panic merging.” The drivers would remain in both lanes until reaching the construction zone, at which point they could practice “Minnesota nice” and zipper-merge, taking turns as intended in an orderly fashion.

Chris Wronski, Plymouth

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The reason why zipper-merging is considered unfair has nothing to do with “Minnesota nice.” It is seen as unfair because it is unfair, and only small-time cheats do it. Any construction zone I’ve encountered has had ample warning (more than a mile) that a lane is closing, and most people do the right thing and move out of it in a timely and efficient manner. It’s unfair here and in California — which no longer recommends it — and every place where people exercise foresight and good sense in driving.

Garrett Tomczak, Golden Valley


If cremation workers are subject to health risks, what of others nearby?

The April 1 front-page article about health risks to cremation workers was interesting.

One wonders what the health risks are to people who live or work adjacent to or very near a crematory. Especially, one wonders what the risks are to mothers-to-be, toddlers and preteens.

What emission standards exist now only address visible smoke and odors.

Maybe the Mayo Clinic study referred to in the article will lead to more, and more meaningful, study regarding the health of the rest of us.

Thom Boncher, Jordan


Perpetual memorial in the cloud: A resource-friendly way to remember

Regarding the April 1 letter about burial and cremation (“Both have attributes, but a cemetery offers permanence”):

A grave site takes up about 55 square feet, or about 0.0013 acre. With 6 million people, Minnesota thus requires about 18,000 acres to meet future needs based on existing population.

A large investment in a shared resource. Plus, the cemetery burial cost of $5,000 to $10,000. Cemetery burial is expensive, and unsustainable.

Of course, I exaggerate, as more and more people are opting out of cemetery burial. This leaves unmet needs for reaching finality, perpetually memorializing a loved one, and a gathering place.

Usually the funeral/memorial service provides finality, and for these events, families often put effort in compiling memories — an obituary, a story board, slide presentations and stories of remembrance. These things could be memorialized on a cloud server, a more resource- and cost-friendly option. There is a do-it-yourself site with free basic service and less than $100 perpetual premium service. However, I think this could be improved upon, wherein a professional takes the family’s efforts and creates a life narration that can be in the form of a print book and/or an online presence. Perhaps $5,000 to $10,000 or less could do this, and it certainly would be more informative than a grave stone.

Cemetery burial is certainly a great tradition, but in an increasingly mobile population, the concept of “place” is changing, and gathering around a website could be just as meaningful as gathering around a grave site.

Gary Engstrom, Cannon Falls, Minn.


Complaint against him dilutes the issue of real sexual aggression

My first reaction to Lucy Flores’ accusation of aggressive sexual impropriety by Joe Biden was that she should be tarred and feathered. Why? Her implication that a gesture of affection (maybe inappropriate) is anything like intentional sexual aggressive behavior diminishes the real cases of over-the-top infringement by some men. (“Biden offers defense of MeToo charge,” April 1.) Flores’ outspoken comments on a five-year-old incident, similar to a hug, diminishes the legitimate complaints of real sexual aggression. If she finds any kind of touching so undesirable, she should wear a sandwich board front and back that says: “Do not touch me without asking first, including a handshake.” Why a handshake? You never know if that man shaking your hand will wiggle that hidden middle finger in a handshake, indicating he would like to initiate a more intimate encounter.

Since Flores says Biden should not run for president because of this incident, it makes me wonder why she waited so long to report this behavior.

Jo Brinda, Crystal

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Part of the same story but much more harmful than his treatment of Anita Hill is the fact that Joe Biden could have stopped Clarence Thomas from getting on the Supreme Court and didn’t. Far greater damage to democracy and the country.

Phyllis Kahn, Minneapolis

The writer is a former member of the Minnesota House.


They’ll get a raise. May it inspire them to consider the less fortunate.

Isn’t it ironic that Minnesota legislators are getting raises — several — due to inflation, while there are those families in our midst who are unable to feed their children because of the same reason? (“Legislators get bump in pay to $46,500,” March 30.) Let’s hope these lawmakers use this advantage to see to it that hunger and homelessness become things of the past here in Minnesota.

Jo Youngren, St. Anthony