Too many toys? Mom seemed to think so, so we improvised

Mom never liked toys. Despite a house full of children, our home was never cluttered with toys. No race cars or Tonka trucks splayed across the family room floor. No Barbie dolls or doll accessories lost in sofas. No board…

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Riverview planners could learn a thing or two from Seattle

Like the Twin Cities, Seattle has pursued a regional light-rail-transit solution to its pressing urban mobility challenges. Similar to our Blue Line and proposed Riverview Corridor line, Seattle’s 14-mile Central Link connects downtown Seattle with SeaTac International Airport after passing…

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River promenade: Another dubious effort to revive downtown

 I have spent the majority of my 70 years here in Saint Paul, beginning at the long-since vanished Miller Hospital. I have watched the city grow and shrink over the decades, fighting against forces beyond its control, largely driven by…

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Undamming the Mississippi: Intriguing proposal deserves more study

In the 20th century, we made major public investments in the Twin Cities to transform the Mississippi River for commercial and industrial purposes. However, some of that old infrastructure is no longer useful, presenting an opportunity to re-imagine our relationship…

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Gift of listening: A more peaceful world begins with us

When we were young, I marveled at my older brother Paul. He was so self-confident, so passionate. Like Paul, I felt strongly about my convictions but I was shyer and more hesitant to share them with the world. From an…

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Saint Paul must expand its tax base to make housing more affordable

Saint Paul has allowed its property tax base to gradually erode over the years. The tax base is and always has been what pays for public safety, schools, libraries, parks and recreation, streets and now affordable housing in the city.…

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Now’s the time to seek repurposing of three local rail corridors

The proposed merger of Calgary-based Canadian Pacific Railway (CP Rail) and Kansas City Southern Railway (KCS) will combine CP Rail’s Prairie Province and Upper Midwest routes with KCS’s route to Texas, Louisiana and Mexico. With no overlapping tracks and ongoing…

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Halloween: An age-old reflection on our mortality

A thousand years ago, pagan people in what is now Ireland would build­ bonfires, don masks and attempt to communicate with the dead on the evening of October 31. It was Samhain (pronounced SOW-in), when it was believed that the…

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