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Letters to the editor: Woodbury lawns an algae contributor?

Are Woodbury’s ‘unnatural’ lawns an algae contributor?

News reports about the blue-green algae bloom at Carver Lake, which has produced a toxin that can harm people and pets, are incomplete without noting the human contribution to the problem.

According to the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency website, “Phosphorus loading should be decreased to reduce algal bloom frequency.”

Phosphorus comes from fertilizer. With no farms in sight, it seems eminently clear that the heavily fertilized lawns of the surrounding community are the principal phosphorus source.

My family and I recently moved to this area to enjoy the local amenities, including Carver Lake Park. We are still getting used to the bright green, hyper-manicured lawns of Woodbury, where residential greenskeeping appears to be a something of a competitive sport. These lawns look unnatural and, as we are seeing, are making our lake unnatural as well.

Home and business owners, please reconsider the next time you want to spread more fertilizer on your lawn or have a landscaper or chemical company do it. Your grass will live without the fertilizer, and we’d all enjoy a cleaner, healthier lake where we can swim, paddle, fish, and otherwise enjoy this resource.

Keith Goetzman – Maplewood

Reverse commute is the answer for east siders

At the Conway Rec Center on St. Paul’s east side Thursday, Aug. 7, the Gateway Corridor’s public comments portion of the agenda was especially gladdening for me to hear. East siders, as I heard them, were expressing they need transportation which truly serves them and provides what they need the very most: access to jobs across the metro that will boost and lift them to a bright economic future.

This is what I and my colleagues are attempting to address with the establishment of “reverse commute” to the east side. The need up there is genuine and deep. It is not just about convenience, it is about having access to those jobs with significant wages and the opportunity to advance from the rut they are in.

What I heard from many east siders was they have long been ignored and many of them see this current corridor project as more of the same empty promises. Unfortunately, I believe they are right.

What they need now could be provided for them in a relatively short time (not waiting for 2022 corridor completion).

Reverse commute now combined with a grid bus system on the east side can literally provide an economic miracle to St. Paul’s east side.

 Bob Tatreau - Woodbury

City should now add e-cigs to tobacco ordinance

I would like to thank the Woodbury City Council for their proactive work updating the city’s tobacco ordinance. While changing ordinance definitions from “cigarettes” to “tobacco products,” along with other tweaks, may seem insignificant it actually makes a big difference in our city’s efforts to halt tobacco addiction.

New and evolving tobacco products are often designed to go around old ordinances, like what Woodbury had, and find new ways addict kids and keep current users coming back for more.

As someone who has lost loved ones due to tobacco-related illness, I’m glad Woodbury took action. I also urge the council to go further and consider an ordinance keeping e-cigarettes out of all of our smoke-free public places. Allowing something that looks just like a cigarette to be used indoors is simply going to renormalize the use of a product that is responsible for one-third of every cancer diagnosis in our country.

It’s time to break the cycle of nicotine addiction and tobacco use once and for all. Woodbury is on the right path. It’s time to take the next step forward.

 Matt Schafer – Woodbury

Editor’s note: Schafer is Minnesota government relations director for the American Cancer Society Action Network