Thank you emergency responders

I would like to give a big thank you to the White Bear Lake Police and Fire Department. They were fast, friendly, efficient and kind when I called 911 to report my home had been hit by a vehicle after midnight last week. The professionalism and care they displayed should make our city proud that we have such an excellent emergency response team. Thank you.

Carol Stehly

White Bear Lake

 

When it’s safe for all

I live on a part of the lake that has a beautiful trail on it. It's wonderful. Won't it be nice when it is all safe for travel around the entire lake? That's what the Lake Links Association trail project will bring to all the residents in the area so all can enjoy the lake and be safe, whether they are walking, biking, running or just trying to get from point A to point B safely. Please support all the Lake Links Trail Association efforts as we are seeing some great progress on South Shore and over in Dellwood/Mahtomedi.

Judy Craig

White Bear Lake

 

Community health comes first

It is reprehensible that Water Gremlin is making claims they are “doing the right thing” and “accepting accountability” as they continue to break rules and laws, putting our health at risk for over 17 years: nothing has changed. 

At what point has Water Gremlin done the “right” thing? Was it in July 2018 when they decided to produce even more dangerous air emissions for several months after they had agreed with the MPCA to reduce these emissions? It is estimated Water Gremlin was producing 12 times the permitted level of 10 tons of TCE per year at that point. Water Gremlin broke the law and received a duty of candor violation as a result. Or was it this year in June, when Water Gremlin realized the new chemical they were using, tDCE, had leaked into the space under its building, yet decided to wait 40 days to report the leak instead of following the MPCA’s stipulation agreement to report issues in no more than two business days? That result was so concerning to the MPCA that it told Water Gremlin to stop using the chemical tDCE because the company has “no control” over the active release of the chemical. Though the words Water Gremlin says are pretty and conciliatory, I have learned to watch what they DO, not what they SAY. Water Gremlin’s business interests seem to keep running roughshod over the health and well-being of this community, and I wonder when it is going to stop.

Why is a company that has continued to have problems following health and safety regulations still able to self-report results to the MPCA? Why is it still able to be in business at all? The answer, I am afraid, is that current laws have been created to maintain business interests over the interest, health and well-being of our community members. These laws need to be changed so that the health of the community comes first.

Andrea West

White Bear Lake

 

Civility keeps strength in state of the union

The peddling of offense is an irrational tactic, not suitable for substantive public discourse. Where non-reason is applied, tyranny is not far away. Attempts to leverage fellow citizens with voluminous displays does not speak well of one’s own grasp of the governance of freedom.

On the other hand, the voice of reason builds healthy arguments on the learning of the past and the exigencies of the present toward a strengthening of institutions that preserve freedom while guarding against chaos. It communicates measured respect and trust in both our institutions and our fellow citizens.

Applied to the present, am I offended at Trump’s communication quirks? No, but I wish he’d change. Am I offended at what seems to be yellow (perhaps better described as “blue pill”) journalism? No, but the media do us and our institutions a vast disservice. Was I offended at the “deplorables” reference? Or Obama’s mendacity (my health coverage cost went up over 1000% — no savings there)? Or Clinton’s destructive proclivities? Or Nixon’s use of the state’s apparatus to assuage his own insecurities? In every case, no. But I will affirm in every case my commitment to civil discourse, even in opposition.

I respect Mr. Gene Johnson, and welcome his observations, even if I happen at times to see things differently. Applying reason to those differences, not offense, will keep the state of the Union, at least in this neighborhood, strong.

Jim Nash

White Bear Lake

 

Citizens have more questions for Water Gremlin 

On Friday, Sept.  19, Neighborhood Concerned Citizens Group (NCCG) filed a request with the Office of Legislative Auditor (OLA) for an investigation into Water Gremlin. We are thankful to Sen. Roger Chamberlain for submitting the first request. We wanted our citizen voice and perspective on the record as well.

Questions citizens have been asking are covered in the request and an overview is below.

How was 15-plus years of excessive TCE emissions missed? 

How did Water Gremlin not know equipment was not operational? 

How did the MPCA not catch it earlier? 

Where else in Minnesota is this happening? 

What could have been done differently? 

How much wrong does a company get to do before there is a very significant penalty, or even a referral for criminal charges? 

As reported in the White Bear Press, Water Gremlin said, after hiring a new safety manager, they discovered the issues. Those issues were reported to the MPCA in July, 2018. A representative goes on to suggest that since July, 2018, everything has been transparent with the MCPA and the community. However, since self-reporting in July, 2018, there have been at least two additional, serious issues. 

The first resulted in a duty of candor violation when Water Gremlin told the MPCA they would slow emissions in the fall, until they understood more about this issue. The data referenced in the Stipulation Agreement shows, instead, they increased emissions, dramatically after July, 2018. Due in large part to that increase, in 2018 they released the most TCE, 120 tons, against a 10-ton permit.

Then, last month it came out that Water Gremlin held on to data for 40 days that should have been turned over to the MPCA in two days. The data showed no control of tDCE in the plant. Additionally, tDCE was being released into the ground, not just the air.

When is enough enough? To follow this issue go to www wbanccg.org.

Leigh Thiel

NCCG Board Member

White Bear Township

 

Housing costs ruled by supply, demand

After reading Nicole Woods’ letter to the editor Aug. 28, 2019 (“To our city officials”) regarding her plea to the city to prevent housing cost increases by not granting building permits to tear down and rebuild higher value homes, I had to respond. What she said is true, housing costs are definitely rising and some areas more than others. What she may not realize is this is the basis of a free economy that is crucial to our day-to-day lives: supply and demand. More demand generates higher costs. Of course there are areas in higher demand to live in, thus higher price tags. We can’t all afford to live in the area of our dreams and expecting the city to limit construction to keep costs down is ridiculous. As much as I hate to see neat old homes being torn down, it is the owners’ right to do so. Who wouldn’t love to live Oceanside on a beautiful little coast? I am certainly not going to blame the city for the higher value on those types of homes that prevent me from purchasing one.

Kate Richards

White Bear Lake 

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