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Do we really want Walmart to define us?

In the July 25 issue of the Bulletin, Mayor Myron Bailey wrote a viewpoint article entitled "Walmart would keep shopping dollars local."

I am puzzled by his comments in promoting the building of a Walmart on the drive-in site. He stated how having a Walmart in our community would keep shopping dollars local and that residents often go outside the community to shop. My question to residents is, when was the last time you heard one of your neighbors say they that they needed to leave the community to make a trip to the Woodbury or Hastings Walmart to buy that hard-to-find item that they could not find at Target, Menards, Cub, Family Dollar or Rainbow?

Bailey also stated that Walmart would provide employment opportunities to Cottage Grove residents. While this is probably true and any employment during these times is valuable, does Walmart provide the residents of Cottage Grove quality employment and pay store employees wages that will stimulate the local economy? I encourage all residents to do a little research. Could our elected officials seek out higher quality business/employment opportunities for its residents?

The mayor also stated that "in our free market country we cannot demand that an owner of a private property never consider opportunities that come to him." We all know this is absolutely true, just as the current owner of the property was not forced to initially purchase it. However, it is the obligation of our elected officials to do what is best for our community.

Jim Schrankler

Cottage Grove

Youth Service Bureau thankful for support

Youth Service Bureau is all about helping kids get and stay healthy, and hosting events that promote being active in the community help us reach that goal.

Again this year, Youth Service Bureau hosted a very successful and fun day of golf at Tartan Park. Participants always name the Tee One Up for Kids tournament as one of their favorite golf outings. It's a chance to be with friends, be outdoors, and enjoy a wonderful picnic dinner at the end of an active day.

Thanks to our fabulous golf committee: Kate Armstrong, Tracy Berglund, Pastor Jules Erickson, Paula Hemer, Jack Lavold, Jeanine Olson, Laurie Ott and Mike Ricci. Their energy and ideas helped make the day a truly memorable event.

We'd also like to thank our Thrivent and youth volunteers for sharing their love of Youth Service Bureau with our guests and jumping in to help with various tasks throughout the day. A special thank you also goes to the Washington County reserve officers who volunteered to man our Hole in One contest; how much more official can you get?

The day would not have been complete without the support of our growing list of sponsors. Thank you for your support.

Again, thank you to all who supported this event. Your commitment to youth and families in our community is top notch.

Mary E. Planten-Krell

Youth Service Bureau executive director

Rush for Walmart neglects traffic concerns

I would like to thank Cottage Grove Planning Commission member Chris Reese for being one of the few displaying any common sense during the Walmart planning presentation July 23. Amongst an administration that seems so desperate and haphazard on this issue, Reese was the only one to question a very important component: traffic.

If I understand this correctly, it was estimated that the addition of Walmart would add 8,000 trips to the area per day. What the city planners and, of course, Walmart failed to present is the traffic impact at West Point Douglas Road and Jamaica Avenue. As one of the worst intersections and traffic areas in the entire city and main thoroughfare to Walmart, this is absurd and simply irresponsible. I understand Walmart's desire to keep quiet on this intersection as it could create major traffic issues to and from two of their direct competitors (Cub Foods and Target), but how did this missing information get past the city planners or public safety? Simple, public Safety never put their stamp of approval on this and our city planners are fine defend this.

Now, for those who welcome the idea of Walmart in the city, ask yourself if you think that adding approximately 2,800 trips to an already troubled intersection without proper representation or public safety approval is a good idea. This is just one of the many poor and unpronounced items presented before us.

Walmart has found a desperate city with a crony administration to prey on and it will come down to common sense citizens like Reese, a volunteer, to ask the right questions.

For those interested, you can watch this meeting at www.swctc.org, starting around the 2:33:00 mark, with this astonishing answer coming at 2:47:00.

Shawn Foster-Huot

Cottage Grove

Schoen will represent community

I agree when David Dunn wrote (July 18 letter) that politicians need to respect the needs and views of their constituents. That is why I am proudly supporting Dan Schoen for state representative.

Republican Derrick Lehrke has complained about government spending but never publicly went after local Republican legislators who wanted up to use public financing to build a new Vikings stadium. In addition, Lehrke has a long-standing history of working extensively on Republican campaigns including the 2010 gubernatorial recount campaign of Tom Emmer, who not only lost in District 57A (now 54A) one month prior but was well-known for his anti-union policies. The point by these examples is that Lehrke will put Republican Party interests over local interests.

That scares me, for even though I am a Democratic activist I believe that officials should mirror local and not party interests. This district is strongly pro-union and has many union jobs in the public and private sector, and I know Schoen can win and protect these jobs and create new ones. Therefore, Schoen's the best candidate who would represent and respect our needs and views in St. Paul.

William Labovitch

South St. Paul

Labovitch is the Senate District 54 DFL affirmative action officer.

Appreciated care packages while deployed

Within the last three years I have had the privilege to serve my country by deploying twice to the Middle East -- Iraq in 2009 and to Afghanistan in 2011. Both times I was blessed by the A Touch of Home ministries in receiving care packages sent to me and other fellow troops. Every time I would check the mail and see a box marked for me it was like Christmas morning.

When deployed there is not much to look forward to except getting packages in the mail. Deployment is like being stuck in the "Groundhog Day" movie for six months. To make the time go by as fast as possible, you set up a routine to keep yourself busy. So getting a care package puts a curveball into that routine and brings you back home, even if just for a moment. When deployed the little things from back home mattered. All of the little snacks and candy you usually just reach into the cupboard and grab, you have to wait until these little boxes from heaven arrive to get your fix. I especially appreciated the Bulletin newspaper coming in the packages. The paper allowed me to stay in touch with my community back home.

If I get the opportunity again to serve overseas, I know all the people who make A Touch of Home Ministries what it is today will take care of me and all the other troops in any future endeavors. They have been a blessing to all they have touched with their care packages. I also want to thank all those who have supported A Touch of Home ministries to allow them to continue this ministry.

Tech. Sgt. Scott Frazer

U.S. Air Force Reserves

934th Security Forces Squadron

Frazer is a Cottage Grove resident

Peterson knows need to invest in community

In a recent letter, David Dunn decries the expanding commuter rail lines and rental apartments, the appointment of certain concerned citizens to unpaid city commissions and is upset that the city refused to spend tens of thousands of dollars in a referendum on whether city administration and public safety staff should move out of the outdated, overcrowded 40-plus-year-old building into a badly needed newer facility, built without any tax increases and at a time of historically low construction costs.

Unfortunately, Dunn's arguments are wrapped in a self-righteous sense of outrage and sardonic tone that is a perfect example of the type of unproductive and incendiary rhetoric that does not engage in constructive dialogue but is intended to tear down and denigrate the motives, the integrity and the patriotism of the intended target, in this case council member Jen Peterson.

Contrary to the power-hungry, pseudo-socialist bent on bankrupting America portrayed by Dunn, Peterson is a hard-working, thoughtful and dedicated community volunteer and public servant. Peterson recognizes that by investing in our community and by working with all stakeholders, we can make Cottage Grove a better place to live and do business. This is not a liberal or conservative value, nor some new fad among progressives. In fact, I would like to invite Dunn to take the short trip to our county seat in Stillwater, and gaze at the magnificent old courthouse, a shining example of 19th-century public architecture. Our forefathers invested their hard-earned tax dollars in this magnificent building because they had pride in their town and wanted to make their public buildings to reflect who they were and what they wanted to be. Times have changed, but we still need to invest in our community to prepare for the unavoidable economic, demographic and social changes that we will experience in the near future.

Peterson's leadership, experience and work ethic is exactly what we need at this time.

Francisco Gonzalez

Cottage Grove

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