I am all for progress and growth, as long as it is smart growth. Tearing down some of the most appealing homes in the city to make way for additional parking is not smart at all. I don't live on the North side
physically, but I live there in my heart. This neighborhood is appreciated and loved by many more people than just those who live there, and is the most historically significant in Brainerd. These homes have character and give the city a sense of atmosphere not found anywhere else in the area. The people who own these homes take great pains to update and renovate, while maintaining the style and grandeur which makes the neighborhood so appealing.
OK, so a parking ramp isn't so attractive either; at least it would accommodate the need for additional parking by using space currently untapped for use -- up in the air. It's short-sighted to say "Well, we'll build parking lots until we run out of room, and then we'll think about a parking ramp." Ramping is a solution for smart growth now, and is a pro-active measure for parking solutions in the future. Ramping does make sense to prevent the future demolition of unreplaceable homes in exchange for a wasteland of acres of asphalt.
I implore the hospital developers and the city council to look at the proposed expansion harder, and think of a better solution. The homes that surround the hospital may appear to be simply real estate, but to many Brainerd residents they are much, much more than that.
A snow job
The article in the religion section of Friday's paper by Steve Waller appears to be another snow job on Islam.
Julia Sopalski, CLC's religion instructor, presents the typical
American secular view on Islam -- generally peaceful with a few fanatics.
Christians are severely persecuted in most Muslim countries, especially in Saudi Arabia, Sudan, East Timor and others. When Muslims get control, freedom of religion becomes meaningless.
Sopalski doesn't sound very objective. She picks and chooses to dwell on what she prefers and ignores the rest. While most Muslims are peaceful and "good guys," they also choose what they like about their religion and leave the rest. They, like many Christians, mainly go through the motions.
Sopaliski, or anyone else, should read the book, "Islam and Terrorism," by Mark A. Gabriel, Ph.D., a former professor at Al-Azhar University in Cairo, Egypt. Gabriel was born into a Muslim family in Egypt. He was a strict Muslim but had problems with the Koran. He finally converted to Christianity. Upon doing so he was under a death sentence by his father. He had to hide and flee.
The author has changed his birth name to Gabriel to avoid the harassment and threats. He states in his book that the Koran was written over 22 years. Mohammad started out writing peacefully, trying to convert the world to Islam. As time went on his writings became more militant and violent. Gabriel mentions that Islam teaches the latter supercedes the former in the Koran.
Gabriel says that true Islam is not what most Muslims practice. Islam is out to conquer the world. If you want another view of Islam by someone who's been there, done that, then read "Islam and Terrorism," published by Chrisma House.
All riled up
I've learned that it's possible for a person to rile up dogs so they go at each other's throats.
Who's responsible for riling up us, Saddam, the terrorists, and North Korea, so we're going at each other's throats?
Jerrold C. Turnquist
Several programs are or will soon be under way in the Brainerd Lakes area seeking donations of toys, clothing or money on behalf of needy children and families. The similarity of names adopted by the various charitable organizations has created confusion for potential donors.
"Christmas for Children" is a program sponsored by a combination of several organizations in the Breezy Point, Nisswa and Pequot Lakes areas for the benefit of families in those communities.
"Toys for Kids" is a charitable, tax exempt program sponsored by Heartland Detachment, Marine Corps League and provides new toys to children through 12 years of age. The Toys for Kids service area includes Brainerd, Crosby-Ironton and most of Southern Crow Wing County. This program is closely coordinated with the Salvation Army and other organizations and applications are screened to avoid duplications.
"Toys for Tots, Inc." is a nation-wide program under the auspices of the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve. Heartland Detachment of the Marine Corps League no longer has any connection with this organization. Donations to the national organization are unlikely to benefit local children.
I encourage all who can to support their local organizations this holiday season -- whether it be for toys, clothing or food. But be sure your donation reaches those for whom you intend it to be used.
J.D. Shubert, major, USMC (Ret.)
Chairman, 2002 Toys for Kids Committee
As our economy struggles to keep up with the feverish arrival of the holiday season, we all should remember that local businesses aren't the only ones who are feeling the squeeze. Central Minnesota's nonprofit organizations also depend on the financial resources of individuals and businesses to continue to provide critical services to those who need them.
When individuals become more guarded with their pocketbooks, it hurts everyone. Nonprofit organizations lose out in two ways: They don't receive near as many personal contributions, and lagging local sales mean that their business support may also be reduced substantially.
Nonprofit employees make lower wages than their private sector counterparts and are often expected to do more with less. Of course, they aren't in it for the money. They are in it to make a difference in people's lives. They believe that it feels good to do good -- to express love and caring through action.
Central Minnesota has more than 350 active 501(c)(3) nonprofits, which means they have earned national accreditation as charitable causes. This holiday season, find one you truly believe in -- one that captures your heart and inspiration -- and then give what you can. Your gift will make the holidays a whole lot brighter for you and many others in your community.
Kathy Gaalswyk, president
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