Letters - September 2023

Dramatic Change: Demo Of Bethesda
The demolition of Bethesda Hospital on University Avenue eastern end is a dramatic visual of all the changes everyone has experienced in their lives. Yet, nestled in the heart of the Midway, a tradition has defied some of these changes. During construction of perhaps the biggest change along University Avenue, the Green Line, three random commuters met at the Snelling Station. We became friends and decided to meet for breakfast once a month at Denny’s.  
While I am newly retired, two of us still meet on Saturday and enjoy reminiscing about University Avenue and surrounding Midway. Out third friend, Tim, experienced some changes in his own life and is now in Hawaii. Unfortunately, he is unaware of, his namesake auto repair shop located right across the street from the restaurant.
Thanks for your continued coverage of the Midway.
Steven Sarrazin
EVs can help solve the climate crisis
If you believe that the climate crisis is real, then you’ll want to do your share in solving the problem. There are many ways to reduce your greenhouse gas emissions, but owning an electric vehicle (EV) is one of your best options.
For the average U.S. household, auto emissions represent about a third of total Greenhouse Gas emissions. With an EV, you reduce your transportation emissions by more than 75% and total household emissions by about 25%. Most larger cars get maximum 20 miles per gallon. Since many EVs will get the equivalent of 130 miles per gallon, an EV could reduce auto emissions by 85%.
Most EVs cost more initially, even after generous federal and state incentives, but the fuel and maintenance costs are lower. Hence, the total annual costs of an EV are about the same as a non-EV. Costs are not a reason to forego the benefits of an EV. One challenge to consider is charging station availability throughout the U.S. Small trips from your home to workplace are easy, but traveling at lengths of 200 miles or above poses issues. Thankfully, the current infrastructure can serve the 1.7M EVs on American roads today, but they need to expand their geographical reach for 2030 projections.
EVs will not work well for some of us, but they will work well for most of us. EVs may be a great opportunity for you to reduce your greenhouse gas emissions substantially.
Lucy Diaz
We need to keep people with disabilities in mind as we design buildings
A letter writer in the June issue laments the coming demolition and reconstruction of the Hamline Midway Library, and asks us to look to Europe and their continued use of older buildings. Having recently returned from a trip through Europe where we stayed in and visited many buildings that were 100s of years old, it is indeed wonderful to witness these historic structures still standing and in use.
However, this visit brought to light issues that hadn’t crossed my mind in previous visits. You see, I broke my back in December, and my wife tore her ACL in February. As we are slowly healing, we both have problems with stairs and uneven surfaces. Due to the time and manner in which these vaunted buildings were constructed, access can be difficult or impossible for people not in full health. In most restaurants and shops on an English High Street, along a picturesque canal in Amsterdam, or along a narrow one-way street in Paris, restrooms are located down a narrow staircase with no elevator. Often, the only public entrance to these shops is up a step or two, through a narrow original door.
While the current Hamline-Midway Library building is not at that level of barrier for people with disabilities, there are certainly far too many difficulties in access for a public building in 2023. People using wheelchairs aren’t able to climb the nine steps to enter the library’s front entrance, and are forced to go around to the back of the building. The restroom hallway is ridiculously narrow, and requires a person who cannot traverse stairs to use an elevator. Would it be possible to completely renovate the building to modern standards? Sure, that’s a possibility, but it would cost far more money and take away from other needed library projects.
I wholeheartedly agree that it’s sad, but due to the architects of the past not keeping people with disabilities in mind, if we want to make sure all people are able to use public buildings, decisions will have to be made.
Jeremy Stomberg
Como Park
We started a community group to reduce parent burn-out
I am the president of a new nonprofit organization, Kaleidoscope Learning. We are located on St. Paul’s East Side (but our services are for all St. Paul families!), and we provide a variety of out-of-classroom services for families with children ages birth to six years old. 
Ideation for Kaleidoscope Learning began when our team noticed the glaring lack of support parents of young children faced during the Coronavirus Pandemic. We dreamt of a community space where parents of young children could gather, interact with one another, and access resources that would help them with their child’s developmental journey. Our organization’s mission is two fold: first, we strive to reduce parental burnout commonly found amongst adults with young children, and second, we want to promote positive early childhood outcomes for all families in St. Paul.
We first opened our doors in the fall of 2022, and we were welcomed with a warm response from the community.
Our core product offering is our Educational Materials Library (toy library), which allows families to rent high-quality, enriching toys, gross-motor items, children’s future, and educational materials. By renting our materials, families are able to enjoy high-quality toys without experiencing the financial, space, and environmental burdens.
Jennie Lynch


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