Sun Current Local News for Bloomington, Eden Prairie, Edina and Richfield Minnesota Sun, 29 Mar 2015 07:40:16 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Letter: A natural trail is the best solution through Bloomington Sun, 29 Mar 2015 07:40:16 +0000 To the editor:

I would like to respond to three points raised in the letter to the editor by Rep. Ann Lenczewski regarding the planned Minnesota Valley State Trail segment in Bloomington.

The authorizing legislation for the trail does not specify the trail surface. A natural trail (the current soil) still fits under the legislation.

Any paved trail plans will certainly occupy the best corridor through the Minnesota River valley, leaving only disjointed sections for the natural trail.

All groups involved with the river valley wholeheartedly supported the Old Cedar Avenue bridge project. The bridge can also be an access to a natural trail and doesn’t need to be used as another reason to build an expensive and invasive paved trail in a flood plain.

As a long time Bloomington resident and trail volunteer, it is my opinion that a well-managed natural trail is the best solution for the Minnesota Valley State Trail in Bloomington. It is also a great opportunity to learn how natural trails can be a destination, similar to the Superior Hiking Trail.

Josh Leonard


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Letter: City officials should be thanked for enforcing the law Sun, 29 Mar 2015 07:35:45 +0000 To the editor:

As someone who has the privilege of working with many exceedingly qualified and competent African-American fellow employees (not that it matters), I must say that I’m fed up with recent letter writers who defend those who chose to break the law at the illegal “Black Lives Matter” protest at Mall of America.

They knew exactly what they were getting into, choosing to break the law and play the race card as they inevitably do.

Let’s talk about black lives mattering. Did they matter when Michael Brown got high on marijuana, strong-arm robbed a convenience store, then assaulted an armed police officer? Did they matter when looters in Ferguson trashed black-owned businesses?

Those same people who cry foul are the first to support the deaths of untold millions of unborn black babies through abortion since 1973. How about their black lives? Do they matter?

You want to do something for black lives? Move out of your parents’ basement, open a business – like the ones you shut down during your protest – and employ those whose lives you pretend to care about.

To my fellow Bloomingtonians, now might be a good time to call the mayor, chief of police and city attorney as I have to express your support for their having the courage to reject selective law enforcement. We all ought to be writing them thank you letters instead of criticizing them.

Bob Kruse


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Letter: Society could use more breaks on Sunday Sun, 29 Mar 2015 07:33:36 +0000 To the editor:

This is in regards to Mike Hanks’ March 12 column about what makes Sunday so religious.

There is no practical reason to not have liquor sales on Sunday. Blue laws are laws from back in the day to enforce various beliefs.

While growing up, I remember very few stores being open on Sunday and even fewer being open 24 hours a day. Sunday may not have been always wonderful at our house growing up, but it did give us a chance to reconnect and do activities as a family. This includes everything from working on the garden, watching TV and going for a bike ride to going to church, just to name a few.

As times have changed so has society, expecting access to everything all the time. This has led to stores being open all day, every day, to cater to the whims of people.

While there may not be a practical reason to have liquor stores open on Sunday, maybe it is a good thing they are closed (along with car dealers), to give people a break. Is it so wrong to set aside one day of rest? Maybe society would be better if more places offered a break.

I can live without being able to buy alcohol on Sunday. How about you?

SD Grey


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Letter: Mall demonstration was exercise of free speech Sun, 29 Mar 2015 06:25:46 +0000 To the editor:

I see Mall of America and Bloomington city officials are continuing their stupid attempt to stop free speech.

The “Black Lives Matter” protestors had their first court appearance on March 10 at Hennepin County District Court in Edina.

I have lived in Bloomington for more than 30 years, and I think the mall is a good place. But on this issue, they are completely wrong.

The American Civil Liberties Union of Minnesota said that the mall should be “the new public square,” and people should be free to exercise their right of free speech at the mall. The mall is always hosting different projects and causes, I guess certain causes are more correct than others.

People wake up, this is a very important cause. These people who were at the mall did nothing wrong.

And I wish that your newspaper would print some articles that Mall of America was wrong, and they should stop legal action. This is free speech, and when we don’t have that America is doomed.

Roger Cook


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CERT training sessions available this spring Sat, 28 Mar 2015 19:06:12 +0000 Registration for Community Emergency Response Team training is open to Bloomington, Edina and Richfield residents.

Bloomington’s Public Health Division is offering two three-day trainings. CERT basic training is Friday to Sunday, May 1-3, and the new CERT Cultural Services Unit training is Friday to Sunday, April 10-12. Training will take place at Bloomington’s Fire Station No. 1, 10 W. 95th St.

Emergency personnel will train community members in basic response skills to become CERT volunteers. CERT volunteers help save and sustain lives in a disaster until professional responders arrive. They may also help with non-emergency projects that help improve the safety of the community.

CERT is one of five programs under Citizen Corps, a Federal Emergency Management Agency project bridging government and community leaders. CERT promotes a partnership between emergency services and the people they serve.

CERT Cultural Services Unit training is for multicultural community members who are interested in supporting local emergency preparedness, response, recovery and outreach activities. These community members will gain valuable experience in public health and safety and will serve as cultural connectors for their community. The April training sessions are for Somali residents. Training for the Hispanic community will be offered in the fall.

Registration forms are available online at

For more information about basic training contact Lisa Brodsky at 952-563-4962. For information about the CERT Cultural Services Unit contact Yahye Mohamed at 952-563-8798.

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Richfield Schools proposal reduces class size targets Sat, 28 Mar 2015 14:46:09 +0000 The Richfield School District is setting its sights lower for next school year as it works toward reducing its class size targets.

Supt. Steve Unowsky outlined his plan for the lower targets during a March 16 Richfield School Board meeting. His plan calls for nearly 19 new full-time classroom positions as funding priorities are shifted toward an emphasis on licensed staff.

The result is that current class size targets ranging from 28 to 31.5 at the K-5 level will sit at 25 for three of Richfield’s four elementary schools. Centennial Elementary, boosted by state compensation based on poverty numbers, has a target of 23.

At Richfield Middle School, the class size target is dropping from the 32.5-33.6 range to 25-26 for English and math and 30 for electives and other core areas. Thirty is also the new target for grades 9-12, where the current target is in the mid-to-upper 30s for core classes.

The targets don’t reflect what the typical class rooms actually look like this school year, however. Average class sizes at RMS, for instance, were just below 23, according to the district’s official Oct. 1, 2014, enrollment count.

“What we found,” Unowsky said last week, “is our middle school was pretty significantly overstaffed, based on an equitable formula to create somewhere near the target school district class size.”

The result is that staffing at RMS is being reduced by five, but that also means the equivalent of almost 24 new positions are being spread across the rest of the district.

The extra positions allow for 10 new sections at elementary schools, nine fully-licensed teachers in reading and math, and five additional instructional coaches in literacy and math, according to Unowsky.

The plan requires the reallocation of $1.5 million, much of that coming from de-prioritized positions, he explained.

“So there are some difficult conversations happening with staff in regard to reallocation,” Unowsky said.

In an interview, he later added, “Reductions are occurring in areas so that we can reallocate those funds in staff toward areas that are highest priorities.”

The new class size targets are closer in line with this year’s actual average class sizes. K-5 schools in Richfield average 25 students per class, although individual building averages range from just over 27 at STEM School to about 22.5 at Richfield Dual Language School.

While the average at the middle school was far below its target this school year, so was Richfield High School, with a class size average of about 27.5.

Unowsky’s plan still awaits official school board approval.

Contact Andrew Wig at or follow him on Twitter @RISunCurrent.

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Letter: None of the three Grandview options are preferred Sat, 28 Mar 2015 14:00:46 +0000 To the editor:

According to the city’s own survey, 66 percent of residents agreed that “publicly-owned land should be retained and used for public purposes.”

In 2014, of letters to city council about use of publicly-owned Grandview land, 48 favored a community center-public use and only four opposed a community center-public use.

Edina residents clearly favor public use for public land, but the council has favored private use for Grandview.

This bias is why the council hired a firm to draft three plans for the land, all of which are dominated by private use (e.g. apartments, offices).

At a March 11 meeting, the firm unveiled three obviously-biased plans. Attendees were told to vote for which of the three plans they liked most by placing stickers on the corresponding placard.

The idea was that then the city council could proceed with one of the three plans and say it was “publicly-endorsed.”

As upset people headed for the door, one woman took a manila folder and said, “Here’s for none of the above!” People started placing their stickers on the folder.

One of the developer’s plans received 13 stickers, a second plan received 14, a third one received 26 and the “none of the above” option received 128.

I’m not against partnership with restaurants or retail, like Tin Fish inside Braemar Golf Course, but the Grandview plans were so uncreative and private use-dominated that nobody at the meeting was happy.

Amy Minge


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Letter: Concerning the Grandview discussion Sat, 28 Mar 2015 14:00:46 +0000 To the editor:

Count me as one of those Edina residents that hope the city council follows the advice of the planners and facilitates one of the ideas of a joint public/private enterprise zone at Grandview. Let’s get this piece of property contributing taxes to the city instead of draining them.

Those who want to make it a public space, or create another community center, should take a good look around. Edina already has so many public amenities – why take the Grandview site and create another? Want a “work-out” space? There’s plenty of public and private options in the city now. Take a look at all our parks – they’re mostly empty. Go talk to the proprietors of the local “gyms” – they’re eager for customers.

Let’s go with one of the options proposed for consideration and move forward with the best use of this property, and get it on the tax rolls. The last thing appropriate for the Grandview site is another “public” space.

Finally, I have to take issue with a recent letter-writer who complained that they didn’t believe the proponents of an all-public venue have been heard. On the contrary, I think the voices of this group have made their points very clear – and often.

I think the complaining is more from the fact that there are other voices speaking of other options – voices they don’t want to listen to.

Jim Stromberg


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Former Bloomington cop trades patrols for punchlines Sat, 28 Mar 2015 13:09:14 +0000 by Laura Adelmann

Sun ThisWeek Newspapers

Armed with more than two decades of experience in law enforcement, a former Bloomington police officer has compiled an arsenal of stories, peppered them with humorous commentary and aimed at a new career of making people laugh.

Bloomington Police Department Sgt. Chuck Gollop suffered on-duty injuries that forced him to retire in 2012 at age 43. The Lakeville resident pursued stand-up comedy because of his love of humor and penchant for adrenaline rushes and “treacherous, terrifying situations.”

“People always told me I’m funny, so I figured I’d give it a shot,” Gollop said.

Chuck Gollop and Rusty Gatenby

Former Bloomington police officer Chuck Gollop, left, and former KSTP-TV reporter Rusty Gatenby share a laugh while recording their weekday podcast in Minneapolis. Gollop, who retired in 2010, now chases laughs as a stand-up comedian. (Submitted photo)

He honed his comedic chops by taking the stage during open mic nights at local clubs and now books numerous gigs around town.

His humor is now available fresh every morning on the new podcast “Twin Cities Hit Show,” featuring Gollop with comedian Courtney McClean and former KSTP-TV reporter Rusty Gatenby.

The trio produces the daily podcast every weekday morning at 9:30. Topics discussed include local events, culture, sports, music, news and books.

Their shows can be heard live or on demand at

“I think we have a really good formula,” Gollop said. “The three of us have really good banter, and our guests are awesome.”

Twin Cities Hit Show guests have included comedian Colleen Kruse, financial planner Nicole Middendorf, musician Tim Mahoney and sports writer Jim Souhan.

Podcasts differ from morning radio shows because they are unregulated by the Federal Communications Commission and may include profanity. Gollop estimated the show would be rated PG-13 but occasionally slips into an R rating.

“Courtney’s our wild child,” Gollop said. “I generally try to keep it pretty clean.”

One of his biggest contributions to the show is a crime segment when he discusses and comments on interesting crime stories in the news.

Gollop also shares stories of his years in law enforcement, a career that nearly killed him in 2009 when riding his motorcycle to a call, lights and sirens blaring.

“Someone cut off the police car in front of me and he slammed on his brakes, and I tried to slam on my brakes, and that didn’t work out so well,” Gollop said.

He said he crashed into a police car, a boulevard and another motorcycle and suffered injuries that included 15 broken bones, a punctured lung, third-degree burns and a cracked skull.

“I messed myself up,” Gollop said. “I was in the hospital almost three weeks.”

Gollop pushed himself to recover, and returned to full duty within five months of his crash.

“It was way, way, way too soon,” Gollop said. “I was still struggling with a brain injury, but I convinced everyone I was OK, and I convinced myself I was OK.”

He said he could tell the difference when he returned to work, but pushed himself until he fractured his shoulder while chasing a suspect.

Gollop said he decided that was the end of his law enforcement career and retired in August 2010.

He said he would not have survived everything he had been through, including a recent divorce, without the “healing power” of humor.

“It’s incredible to me that you can get up on stage, make ‘em all laugh, and you’re all on the same page, and you can make them forget about their problems for an hour,” Gollop said.

Laura Adelmann is at

]]> 0 OHK Grange celebrates Grange Month with two events in April Sat, 28 Mar 2015 13:00:05 +0000 J. Malaskee, President of the Oliver Hudson Kelley, No. 834, announced a series of events to celebrate National Grange Month in April.

Grange Month highlights the Grange’s role in rural communities and creates opportunities for community members to learn more about and join this historic 148-year-old organization.

The celebration will begin with a program “Get Your Garden Growing with the Grange!” at 7 p.m. Monday, April 13, at the historic Minnehaha Grange Hall, 4918 Eden Ave., Edina.

A master gardener will lead the group in an interactive talk covering backyard gardening basics and urban farming, along with free seeds.

Then Grange officers Essie Robinson and Jamee Varda will teach attendees to construct seed starter pots. An open house and refreshments begins at 6 p.m. with the program commencing at 7 p.m.

Another event, “A Spring Seed Social,” has been scheduled 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, April 18, at the Minnehaha Grange Hall.

The social will be held in partnership with the Edina Historical Society. The event is aimed at engaging the community through the Grange’s rich history in Edina.

This free event features family-friendly activities, including hands-on craft stations of make-and-take seed art, seed packet designing and recycled newspaper seed pot making and seed starting, a pickle smorgasbord, refreshments, music, children’s games, mini lectures on “Minnehaha Grange Hall: the Most Important Grange Hall in the Country” and “Making the Most of your Backyard: Heirloom Gardening,” as well as tours of the historic 1879 Minnehaha Grange Hall now maintained by the city of Edina.

Both events are free and open to the public, and a goodwill donation of nonperishable food items will be collected at each event in support of local food shelves. The first 175 visitors will receive door prizes.

The Grange, founded 148 years ago, is the oldest agricultural organization in the nation. As a nonprofit and nonpartisan organization, the Grange builds stronger communities through the history and practice of agriculture.

The Edina Historical Society was formed in 1969 to collect, preserve and tell the story of Edina’s community as it grew from a mill town to a mall suburb.

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