Letters to the editor

Hey neighbor, please keep your dog on a leash

Whatever happened to keeping dogs on a leash while out walking them? I am an early morning walker in the Armatage neighborhood, and it has become a daily occurrence to find at least half of the numerous dog owners letting their pets roam freely while they stand several feet away, carrying the leash.

Maybe the owners think they can control their animals, but on more than a few occasions, a free dog has come running up to me, angrily barking, while the owner stands there telling me that the dog won’t hurt me. Meanwhile, my heart is racing 100 mph and I’m feeling unsafe in my own neighborhood.

Sorry, but there have been too many cases in the news lately of dogs getting out of yards or off leashes who end up biting and seriously injuring innocent people. Please keep your dogs on their leashes when you take them out for a stroll. I deserve a peaceful walk around my neighborhood without worrying about whether a dog is lurking around the next corner with his owner a half-block up the street. Keeping your dog on a leash is not only the polite thing to do, it’s a city ordinance.

FYI: There are four parks in Minneapolis where you can let your dog run around leash free. According to the city of Minneapolis website, "Minneapolis residents pay $25 for the first dog and $15 for each additional dog. Non-Minneapolis residents pay $50 for the first dog and $30 for each additional dog." The four dog parks are Columbia Park, Franklin Terrace, Lake of the Isles and
Minnehaha Park.

Karen Gaskell

Response to Bassett Creek redevelopment article

Your article, "Bassett Creek Valley Rezoning Unveiled" in the Aug. 27–Sept. 9 issue, misrepresents my stated views about the city’s proposal for rezoning a portion of the Harrison neighborhood. The article claims I said that allowing apartments near existing residences could make things "uncomfortable" for current property owners. This is most assuredly not what I said. (In fact, such a statement would be bizarre, as many of the current homes in the area are multifamily. Additionally I, and the Harrison Neighborhood Association, actively support higher density, multifamily, and affordable housing in the area.)

What I did say was: I am concerned that rezoning the immediately adjacent blocks to the highest residential density permissible in the City (R-5) could threaten our existing housing stock.

It is important for readers to know that this rezoning proposal comes in the context of a process of city and community planning for (and current developer proposals for) massive redevelopment of the Valley. For years, the Harrison neighborhood has been working hard to ensure that this process does not displace community members. Harrison families’ median income is just over $21,000.

Specifically, the concern I shared about the city proposal is as follows: our existing homes in this area are a mix of duplexes, four-plexes, small apartment buildings and single-family homes. While currently affordable, these properties are not subsidized; therefore, there are no affordability contracts in place, and current residents — primarily lower-income people of color — could be vulnerable to the increases in market value leading to wholesale, rather than in-fill redevelopment, that such a dramatic rezoning is explicitly intended to encourage.

I also said that Harrison has supported a more gradual transition (a buffer block zoned R-3, which supports a lower level of multifamily density) between the existing residential fabric and taller buildings.

Maura Brown

Letters to the editor

Sunnyside Market will be missed

I am writing to express my utter dismay at the pending closure of Almsted’s Sunnyside Market on 44th in Linden Hills. From what I hear, the building will be padlocked until 2010 and people will be encouraged to shop at other grocery stores nearby.

I will only guess that a bigger motive was to keep another interested grocery entity from purchasing the store. I’m hurt by the Almsteds, who despite claiming to be “our neighborhood” grocery store for all of these years, had no problem walking away with the cash and leaving hundreds of loyal customers and a crew of soon-to-be-displaced workers holding the empty grocery bag.

We were very lucky to have a sweet little grocery in our neighborhood and it was a huge selling point in putting down roots here nearly a decade ago.

Almsted’s added vibrancy to our local community and was a friendly and convenient place to get to know and shop among your neighbors. It was a place where you knew all of the workers by name and vice-versa — a place where for many decades past, the neighborhood kids had their very first job. After the 9th of September all that will be left is a padlocked cinderblock shell. Everything else will be history and all that remains (for the next three years anyway) will be an echoing monument. A tribute to greed and the simple truth that all businesses view customers only as numbers that they manipulate, pretend to serve, and then feed to bigger fish when the price is right.

I choose to join the growing throng of people in my neighborhood who intend to spend ALL grocery dollars at the co-op.

Michele Harsevoort
Linden Hills

Save our tree friends

[Re: “Watching an old friend go” in the Aug. 13–26 Journal] Joanne Carroll’s expression in the photo accompanying this article mirrors how many of us feel about the loss of our elm trees and the shady, cool canopy they created for generations in our city. They were and are our friends.

But it is more than sentiment. According to Scott Russell’s 2005 Southwest Journal article, American elms (one of three elm species native to Minnesota, which make up the majority of elms on our boulevards) then accounted for only 10 percent of the population but because of their size and canopy provided 28 percent of the total benefits, which included: 3 billion gallons of stormwater diversion, saving $9.1 million in stormwater treatment, flooding and erosion costs; $6.8 million in energy savings due to shading and cooling effects; 55,125 tons of carbon dioxide reduction; and $7.1 million in added property values and aesthetics.

It’s clear that larger trees are definitely more valuable for all of the above reasons, and a no-brainer that out of all our large native trees — elms, cottonwoods, oaks, hackberries, maples — elms were selected as the ones to plant on boulevards.

Too bad the city of Minneapolis and the Park Board would rather let them sicken with Dutch elm disease fungus and then spend millions of taxpayer dollars to destroy them and replant young trees, than to use that same money to develop a program of regular treatment (perhaps with volunteer help) with fungicide injection that could save the currently uninfected ones if done in time and on a regular basis. The cost to cut down a tree is enough to treat it at the proper intervals and give it 10–15 more years of life.

Anyone who desires to save a particular elm should contact a reputable tree service for a free evaluation of whether that tree is already infected and, if not, what the cost might be to preserve it.

There are many of us who have treated boulevard trees with our own money and will continue to do so — there just needs to be more of us. It’s the least we can do for our tree friends who do so much for us.

Linda Huhn

Back to school

The arrival of the new school year is a great opportunity to put some of your spare time to good use by volunteering at a neighborhood school for a few hours each week. You don’t need an academic degree, just the ability to help young people with their lessons, share your life experiences and be there for them when they need some personal kindness. I guarantee you, it will be returned a thousandfold.

Will Shapira