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Letters: Yearning for 'bit of podunk'; Speak up about public transportation

Someday we will yearn for 'bit of podunk'

As someone who started living in Woodbury almost 40 years ago, I take offense to the obnoxious and offensive headline, "Not that long ago, Woodbury was podunk," and accompanying article that was copied from the St. Paul Pioneer Press in the March 29 edition of the Woodbury Bulletin.

The term "podunk" describes an insignificant and out of the way town or village. While it may be true that Woodbury was largely rural with a small population 50 years ago, what is wrong with that? And what is so great about Woodbury transforming into a giant suburban superpower full of impervious surfaces, cookie-cutter homes, big box stores, redundant fast food troughs and lights that cut out the stars at night? As someone who lives in the last remaining rural part of Woodbury's east side, I take pride in our agricultural and farming existence. We wake up early, get our hands dirty and don't take the beauty and gift of the earth around us for granted. My family has accepted and benefited from the inevitable adjacent development, but we certainly don't take pride in references to our land being a "blank slate ripe for rapid growth."

Perhaps a more objective article on the pros and cons of development and rural existence would have been a better use of space in the paper. Someday we will all look around us and wonder where all the open land went. And we will yearn for some bit of podunk.

Emmerson Ward

Woodbury

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Speak up about public transportation

As we approach the last month and a half of the 2017 legislative session, all eyes should be on what happens to transit and transportation funding. What's developing could be the gutting of public transportation as we know it today.

With the possibility of a 40 percent reduction in bus service region-wide, all Washington County residents who rely on transit need to get engaged.

Things move quickly as they approach the end of session in preparation of developing and voting on a two-year budget for our state. These proposed reductions, if approved, will set us back to levels of service that we have not seen for decades.

Beyond gutting the existing services, these proposed reductions would significantly harm our ability to expand transit service in the east metro, meaning no Gold Line, Rush Line or Red Rock Corridor.

A quality and expanding public transportation system is critical for a strong, balanced, and healthy region. We must attract talent for our business community to expand — in fact, our region's Fortune 500 companies support and agree with these beliefs.

As our Washington County delegation prepares for their mid-session break you may want to consider a call to check in on this and other regional funding proposals.

They need to hear from you before your ride into town disappears, and the region falls behind in the competition for more jobs and corporate investments.

Harry Melander

Metropolitan Council member

Melander's District 12 includes Woodbury, Cottage Grove, Stillwater, Bayport, Lake Elmo and Oak Park Heights.

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Fenton helped pass tax relief

As chairman of the House Taxes Committee, and chief author of the $1.35 billion House tax relief bill, I'd like to thank your state Rep. Kelly Fenton for her support of this bipartisan legislation that will provide needed tax relief to families across the state.

Fenton recognized that with yet another state budget surplus, Minnesotans are being overtaxed and that lawmakers needed to find ways to allow Minnesotans to keep more of what they earn.

With Fenton's support, the House was able to pass a plan that would provide relief to Minnesota's senior citizens, working families, college students, farmers and main street business owners, just to name a few. This includes an elimination of Social Security taxes for thousands of seniors and a first-in-the-nation tax credit for college graduates struggling with student loan debt.

In all, well more than half of the $1.35 billion tax relief bill that was supported by Fenton would be allocated to Minnesotans.

Moving forward, the House and Senate will work on a compromise that we hope Gov. Mark Dayton will sign. We know you've been waiting long enough for tax relief. Simply put, we would not be at this point without Fenton's support of this common sense legislation, and your readers should know that she is fighting hard to prioritize tax relief for hardworking constituents in Woodbury.

State Rep. Greg Davids

R-Preston

Chairman, Minnesota House Taxes Committee

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