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Letters: Hope for Afton wedding venue business, Kieffer's e-cig stance troubling

Afton kept hope alive for wedding venue business

Rural and open space … that’s what Afton wishes to keep throughout the city. We offered a unique business opportunity to operate a seasonal wedding venue in our historic barn while maintaining the open space and rural qualities that Afton so desires, as do we. Our business would allow us to keep our 22-acre property as-is, in addition to help keep the development pressure at bay that surrounds the city, especially along Manning Avenue. Our business would be a great fit in Afton and we moved here for that reason.

Unlike what was quoted in the article, “Afton aims for better communication after wedding-venue flap,” prior to purchasing the property, we did approach the city of Afton regarding our business proposition. The city’s response was, “the council’s discussion regarding the type of useyou are proposing was a positive one. The Council is open to considering amending the zoning ordinance to allow the use, and has referred the issue to the Planning Commission for review and recommendation. The process of amending the zoning code will take about two months.” After that response, we decided to move forward with our considerable investment into purchasing the property where we now live and want to operate a seasonal and low-impact business. Again, early on, we connected with the city on several occasions.

We have actively participated with Afton regarding our business for over one year. Repeated attempts to meet with the individuals who voted to deny our business request, even on an interim basis, either went unanswered for over two months or still have not been acknowledged. No findings of fact were provided by the City Council and further attempts to find a solution were disregarded.

We will continue to push forward in pursuit of our dream of owning this business in Afton.   

Tom and Clare Hoelderle - Afton

Kieffer’s e-cig stance was troubling to students

Tartan High Students Against Destructive Decisions (SADD) chapter recently had the opportunity to spend a day at the Capitol speaking with legislators about the lack of regulations for e-cigarettes and the need for smoke-free foster care homes. Most of the legislators were great and spoke openly with us. We felt heard and understood.

We did not get that feeling from Rep. Andrea Kieffer of Woodbury. While we didn’t see eye to eye on foster care, her perspective on e-cigarettes is troubling. She said e-cigarettes should not be regulated because our state is a “nanny state with too many rules and regulations.” The common sense regulations proposed in the Senate and House protect youth from these nicotine delivery devices. Nicotine is a powerful and addictive drug. We have seen an increase in poison control calls due to nicotine e-cigarette cartridges harming our kids. What kind of advocate is Rep. Kieffer when she openly allows and welcomes the tobacco industry to recruit more victims?

Sam Jacka - Maplewood