Our place in the sun
I read with interest your article about plans for a solar array atop Area C at the former Ford Plant (MyVillager, March 9). Hopefully, the array would not inhibit the necessary cleanup of the toxic and heavy metal waste buried below the site. I’m all for the solar installation, but I question why Xcel Energy needs $3 million to possibly move the array. Typically, solar photovoltaic (PV) investments are amortized over 20 years, since the efficiency of solar cell installations decreases over time.
New construction is the perfect opportunity for buildings and homes to integrate passive solar designs and active PV arrays so that they don’t look like unplanned add-ons. With LEED building standards and solar and geothermal energy systems, the entire Highland Bridge development could have a carbon-neutral footprint or even net gains of green energy. To deal with our urgent and continuing climate crisis, we must reduce greenhouse gas emissions by changing our conventional building and energy practices. We need to seize the best opportunities for sustainable development.
I was shocked to read the Crime Report in the February 23 issue of MyVillager. It was the longest one I remember reading. The spooky thing about it is, it all happened in the winter when crime is usually lower. I hate to think what is going to happen with crime in the city when it starts to warm up. I think Saint Paul has been fully transformed into a rainbow and unicorn city. We have become like Minneapolis.
If the University of Saint Thomas can offer $61.4 million to purchase the Town and Country Club golf course for the sake of its NCAA Division I athletics program, couldn’t it pony up a few million dollars towards the city of Saint Paul’s and Ramsey County’s enormous needs? After all, UST is pulling in $62,476 per student for tuition, room and board, books and supplies. Its staff and students all benefit from plowed and swept streets, boulevard lighting, tree maintenance, hundreds of free parking spaces scattered about the neighborhood, police protection, a fire department, on-call ambulance services and a myriad of other city and county benefits. I think it could afford to pay some property taxes and should start tomorrow.
School Board is off the rails
After weeks of delay, the Saint Paul School Board finally addressed its mask requirement on March 22, voting 3-2 to continue to require masks. Public comment at the meeting was nearly unanimous in support of dropping the requirement. The Saint Paul Public Schools remains one of the few places anywhere that require masks.
Of the seven School Board members, only Jessica Kopp and Jim Vue voted to follow public health recommendations and drop the requirement. Chauntyll Allen, Halla Henderson and Uriah Ward voted in favor of the outdated rule. At recent board meetings, these three have spent more time discussing the pros and cons of hiring union workers for construction jobs and “divesting” from fossil-fuel companies than issues that actually affect students.
Board member Zuki Ellis has found time to run for a state Senate seat, but could not make it to the meeting. Neither could Jeanelle Foster, who also recently waffled on whether she even wanted to be on the board, missing the deadline to file for reelection but nonetheless winning a two-year term.
Saint Paul is stuck. Last fall’s School Board election lacked a candidate who would even hint that some part of the year of COVID school closures could have been a mistake. Our children are being held hostage by uninformed board members who refuse to follow public health recommendations. What can a parent do except withdraw from the system and keep it on its downward spiral?
Good and bad of Hwy. 5 plan
We are huge fans of public transit and take bus rapid transit and light rail transit to the airport all the time. Fixing the currently awful bicycle and pedestrian crossing over the Highway 5 bridge is a wonderful idea (MyVillager, March 9). But the idea of having Riverview Corridor streetcars running in mixed traffic on Highway 5 with motor vehicles having to stop to let the streetcars pass should be abandoned. Surely, this would be a huge inconvenience and likely result in increased accidents with high-speed traffic having to stop while every streetcar passes.
The rest of the story
In an editor’s note in the Inbox of the February 23 issue, MyVillager reported that according to the state Department of Health, more than half of the Minnesotans who tested positive for COVID-19 in December had been vaccinated and about a third of those who were hospitalized or died of COVID-19 during that month had been vaccinated. However, by not reporting the total number of vaccinated and unvaccinated people in Minnesota, your numbers were misleading. They seem to suggest that vaccination does not provide significant protection.
What you did not report was that there are more than twice as many fully vaccinated than unvaccinated people in Minnesota. Assuming the numbers you reported are correct, this means that unvaccinated people are seven times more likely than vaccinated people to be hospitalized or die. That sends a very different message.
A whole other neighborhood
At the Highland Library, a branch of the Saint Paul Public Library, a woman approached me and asked for help. Afterward she said, “Thanks. I just moved here. I’m not from here.”
“Oh? Where are you from?” I asked, thinking she would say maybe, “Ohio.”
“The Midway,” she said.
I tucked the January 26 issue of MyVillager in an out of the way part of the car, and only just got around to reading it in March. I do appreciate the journalism. I also agree with most everything written about the state of motoring around the metro area by Ms. Nelson in her letter to the editor, “The mania of some motorists,” except for the characterization that it is a “testosterone-fueled competition.” A lot if not most of the aggressiveness that I am witnessing on the roads is not done by individuals with a “Y” chromosome, so I am not sure it can be attributed to testosterone. This characterization is not accurate by any stretch of the imagination.
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