Thank you for story
Allow me to start with a huge thank you to the White Bear Press.
The article your paper wrote about me and my journey to find a living kidney donor, simply said, could be life saving. It has generated potential opportunities and I hope it will continue to inspire others to become potential living donors.
Your continued support for the citizens and businesses in this and the surrounding communities should never go unnoticed. Your organization consistently steps up in times of need and our appreciation runs deep!
I hope in the near future we can write another article announcing my successful kidney transplant.
God bless you, your staff and the great people within our community.
Owner, Pizza Man
New grass in Birchwood
Last year I followed the rules and filled out all the necessary forms and applied for a permit. I was told I could not “disturb” my entire property at one time. So we did 8,000 square feet in the backyard. The permit cost was $31.25.
Plan for 2021. Sod the 6,326-square-foot front yard. Figuring it would go smoothly and I could get a nice new lawn in the spring, I went ahead and killed all the grass in the front yard last fall.
I applied for another permit in early May, submitting similar plans as the year before. My contractor was ready to complete the job in 3 to 4 days in late May. Not a grain of dirt from my dead front yard has washed to neighboring properties or the street.
Weeks later, my permit was denied. I was emailed a topographical photo of my property on May 25 which said my drawings were not good enough. I added overlays to the topo showing the area to get new sod, emailed a very large file on May 27, and hand-delivered a paper copy to the Village Hall. Figuring the permit would be given quickly, I set about repairing my sprinkler system and waited for a response.
On June 19, I received an emailed response. For a permit fee of $475.20 plus a $3,000 bond, the Planning Commission will consider the project on July 22 after a public comment period, as the neighbors within 200 feet must be notified first. After that, the Planning Commission will present its findings to the full City Council so its members can approve or deny my request to replace weeds and grass with new sod.
City Hall wins, common sense has lost. Birchwood can now enjoy my weed yard and keep its permit.
We have lived in Birchwood for 42 years. From my own drawings in the 1990s, we built a 20-foot-by- 24-foot, two-story addition, a custom 16-foot gazebo and a stick-built 16-foot-by-16-foot shed. Those three permits sailed through with no problems.
Regarding Cops & Courts
After reviewing the latest Vadnais Heights Press, and being a previous frequent shopper of the Walmart store located at the 800 block of County Road E in Vadnais Heights, it did not take much to notice in the paper that under the Ramsey County Sheriff’s reports in Vadnais Heights and White Bear Township, there were 14 reports, and five of the reports were from the Walmart store.
I used to be a regular shopper at Walmart. Last week I went in and got the couple of products that I needed. It took me no longer than four or five minutes to shop. I thought … yup, I am in and out. Nope! Because I was paying in cash, I could not go through the express line. I stood in line for 42 minutes for four items because I was paying in cash.
Recently the St. Paul Pioneer Press ran an article by Mara H. Gottfried on ballistic gear for firefighters.
Let’s hope and pray that the type of thing she wrote about never happens in White Bear Lake.
White Bear Lake
Historical Society appreciation
The past year and a half have been a challenge for many businesses in our area but the continued generosity and support for our community organizations never ceases to amaze me.
We at the White Bear Lake Area Historical Society are humbled by the support we receive in many ways. Most recently the significant contribution made by Grandma’s Bakery for the Cake Walk event at Marketfest on July 8th. Bakeries, and the food industry in general, have been hit hard by the events of the past year but Grandma’s Bakery owner John Lupo looked forward to continuing this highly anticipated event and donating the proceeds to the White Bear Lake Area Historical Society. Thank you to Grandma’s Bakery and everyone who participated to make this a fun event and a great fundraiser for the historical society. We appreciate your support!
White Bear Lake Area Historical Society
Rush line coalition needed
I appreciate Commissioner Reinhardt clarifying that reassessments will occur as the Rush Line moves forward. As I am reading articles and letters to the editor, I am trying to understand some of the contradictions in the No Rush Line Coalition’s opposition. One line of argument is that there is not enough demand given what ridership might look like post-pandemic. Another argument is that there is too much “crap that comes with it.” Describing the project as an “invasion” carries heavy connotations. It seems that the group is opposing the Rush Line because there will not be enough people and because there will be too many people. Perhaps a coalition could be built with both of these seemingly incompatible arguments, but it begs the question of what deeper value holds those two ideas together? Or perhaps a coalition (and free publicity) in opposition to something is a timely political opportunity for an upcoming mayoral race?
White Bear Lake
Vote for candidates who support climate
The GOP fiddles while the Earth burns. That’s how I felt as I read the ‘Capitol Recap of our area legislators’ in the July 14 issue of the Press. Where were the successes to help us deal with climate change? Right now, in our own backyard we are experiencing; wildfires, massive heat wave, over 90% of our state is in a drought, our lakes are heating up, etc. Only two local legislators even mentioned environmental successes (thank you Senator Isaacson and Representative Becker-Finn).
There was some progress made in the 2021 legislative session for the environment; Clean Energy policy changes and investments, Solar investments for schools and a Ban on Forever Chemicals (PFA’s) were significant wins and these initiatives should not be diminished. But we need so much more to be done. We need bold policy changes, and we need them now.
I am appreciative of all those legislative leaders who worked hard to craft good bills and language to move us forward in dealing with climate change AND to ensure bad bills and policy changes did not move us backward! I did not appreciate the GOP and my own Senator Chamberlain, whose approach to climate change continues to be denial. The GOP held the entire environmental budget hostage so no progress would be made on clean air with the Clean Car Standards, and what the GOP called wins for the environment was forcing out the head of the MPCA (as payback because she supported Clean Car Standards) and weakening water quality by allowing the dumping of more manure/nutrients in our waterways.
This fall, we will be voting on many local legislative offices and candidates. Make your voice heard and vote for candidates who believe in climate change and are willing to be bold with climate change initiatives.
Donald Sonsalla, Ph. D
White Bear Lake