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Letters to the Editor for Jan. 27

Volunteer was unfairly asked to leave organization

It has just come to my attention that a local writer, Marisa Novak, has been removed from her leadership role on a community-wide effort due to her published viewpoints and personal blog.

The tactical removal was due to her Jan. 13 viewpoint "Rethinking Literacy Education in Schools," which critically analyzes a state literacy bill and suggests elected officials be required to take professional exams like other government workers. I find the decision to remove Ms. Novak to be troubling.

The viewpoint was a well written analysis of legislation based on her expertise as a teacher. The piece was not written about, nor did it reference, her personal volunteer service. Nor did she use her committee member title as an author.

Ms. Novak was told her newspaper viewpoints and personal conservative blog were found offensive by some of those she worked alongside in the organization. Since the viewpoint mentioned state Sen. Kathy Saltzman, another person holding a leadership position in the organization, Marisa was told she could not be the communications director for fear that her political viewpoints may misrepresent the organization's views. Interestingly enough, Sen. Saltzman's political views have not kept her from holding a spokesperson role with this city effort.

I know the mission of this community effort and support what they are accomplishing for our community members. We also know the added and invaluable contribution Ms. Novak gave to this effort in order to help our neighbors. This recent decision is disappointing to say the least, and it tells us that free speech is not welcomed in some Woodbury circles.

Susan Richardson


State should withdraw financial support from Israel

As a resident of Minnesota, I have a moral obligation to ensure that our state doesn't make investments that oppress others. Minnesota's investment in Israel supports Israel's apartheid system which has caused thousands of civilian deaths, including children, and widespread human rights violations.

This system defies rulings by the International Court of Justice, more than 65 UN Resolutions, and the Fourth Geneva Convention. Recently the Progressive Caucus of the DFL passed a resolution for the state of Minnesota to divest from Israel Bonds. This resolution is similar to past divestment campaigns targeting apartheid-era South Africa.

This resolution and the DFL's Progressive Caucus have come under attack by numerous Zionist special-interest groups, who believe that the state of Israel is above scrutiny and international law. However, I believe that this stance by the DFL's Progressive Caucus, based firmly on social and political justice, needs to be supported in full. I would like to highlight this publicly and ensure that this resolution is taken forward in the interests of peace and justice.

I would encourage all Minnesota residents to join me in supporting the DFL's Progressive Caucus, and the larger campaign to divest from apartheid regimes like Israel in the interests of human rights.

Rukhsana Ghouse


Family thanks WHS class for fundraiser efforts

Our family would like to thank Theresa Von Ruden's "Community Outreach" class at Woodbury High School.

These amazing students put on a silent auction fundraiser Jan. 13th during the lunch hours for our family to help reduce our medical bills due to our daughter's illnesses.

We are so grateful for the students' thoughtfulness, and we are honored they chose our family to provide such a generous gift.

The "Winter Wonderland"-themed auction was outstanding, and the hard-work and effort put in by the students was spectacular.

Thank you a million times to Mrs. Von Ruden, the Community Outreach class students, as well as all the students and staff at Woodbury High School who donated. Thank you for your generosity to our family.

Thank you to all who donated items, goods and services to the silent auction. Without the donated items, this would not have been possible.

The Case Family

Greg, Heidi, Wyatt and Ellery


Dogwalkers, please clean up mess on park trails

My family decided to walk to the park today to go sledding. Instead of enjoying our walk, we were required to look at our feet the entire time to avoid stepping in no less than 10 piles of dog feces in a one block stretch of path along Wimbledon Drive. In fact, on the way home we chose to walk in the road rather than walk the disgusting obstacle course on the path.

To the responsible dog owners of Woodbury who clean up after their dogs in public areas, I offer a large thank you. To those that choose not to pick up after their dogs, I offer this suggestion: let your dogs out in your own backyard so that your family and not mine has to constantly watch their step as they try to enjoy being outside.

Jill Guttormson


Support Clark for the Sixth District Congress

I am supporting state Sen., Tarryl Clark, DFL-St. Cloud as the Sixth District representative to Congress.

Her accomplishments since her election t in 2005 - specifically her pursuit of funding the replacement of the unsafe, but vital, De Soto Bridge in St Cloud while Rep. Michelle Bachmann refused to lift a finger in support, yet was there to take credit at the photo-op ribbon-cutting ceremony - are numerous.

Clark has tirelessly worked for veteran's rights to education and healthcare. Her work has included jobs creation by obtaining grants through the Small Business Administration.

Clark has been recognized many times over by Minnesota organizations, including the League of Minnesota Cities, Habitat for Humanity, Minnesota Association of Professional Employees, and Conservation Minnesota.

She has been an advocate against domestic violence, authored a bill ensuring customers purchasing insurance policies are getting what they pay for, worked to demand accountability in government.

In supporting Ms. Clark, I cast one less vote for Ms. Bachmann who, I believe, is looking to benefit only herself by creating a spectacle in the national arena. Bachmann has done nothing but stand and watch while our district has lost more jobs than any other in Minnesota.

Tarryl Clark has a proven track record of faithfully accomplishing what she says she will do. We need a person with her character as our next congresswoman.

Pam French