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Dangerous Intersections and a Clothing Sales Tax: Feedback Friday

The most thoughtful, moving, controversial or just plain funny comments from around the west metro between Jan. 18 and Jan. 24.

Each week, Patch users contribute numerous insights, opinions and observations. The following is a collection of the most thoughtful, moving, controversial or just plain funny comments that appeared on Patch sites in Eden Prairie, Edina, Golden Valley, Hopkins, Minnetonka, Richfield, Shakopee, Plymouth, St. Louis Park and St. Michael. Click on the headline to read the full story and join in the conversation.

(The comments below are not meant to reflect the opinions of Patch or its staff.)

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SLP Residents Believe These Intersections Are The Most Dangerous

After we ran a story about unsafe intersections, readers started listing the worst in St. Louis Park. We compiled those into a story and Patch readers continued to comment:

Rachel Powell wrote:

Any poor soul who has to try to cross Excelsior at Woodale when cars going westbound see the traffic signal AHEAD of them at 100 turn green and go, even though their own light is still red.

Marc Berg wrote:

Minnetonka Blvd., between Ottowa and Xenwood, is atrocious. It is especially bad at the bridge over Hwy 100, and a block or two to either side of 100. This is terrible for pedestrians, cyclists, and cars. I said this at one of the "visioning" meetings several years ago (2005, I believe). It's encouraging to hear that this situation might be improved with the replacement of the bridge in connection with the widening of Hwy 100. Hopefully, the new bridge will not have the same blind spots like those on the Wooddale bridge over Hwy 7. We need to keep actively involved with comments on this process.

Lynne Boiarsky said:

Personally I'd like to see some enforcement when it comes to vehicles yielding to pedestrians & cyclists. It is particularly bad getting from the south side of Minnetonka Blvd to the center island on the east side of the intersection at W Lake St/Vernon. The paving contractor paved over the crosswalk and it was never repainted. The yield sign for traffic traveling north on W Lake St to enter Minnetonka eastbound is far past the spot for pedestrians and cyclists to cross to the center island and I have yet to see a single car yield even when a pedestrian is actually in the midst of crossing the street. The same situation occurs on the entrance ramp to southbound 100 from Minnetonka eastbound. I've actually occasionally seen officers sitting at various intersections waiting for the light as cars drove through the intersection failing to yield to pedestrians/cyclists already in the intersection or attempting to cross. It's like playing Frogger trying to actually go for a walk and get a cup of coffee at one of our little local coffee shops, sadly.

Edina Education Coordinator Earns Lifetime Achievement Award

Marsha Buchok, adult coordinator with Edina Community Education, lives her life by a quote from New York Times columnist and author Anna Quindlen: "I show up. I listen. I laugh."

Buchok's passion for learning and 20 years of work in community education helped earn her a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Learning Resources Network (LERN). It was one of only two lifetime achievement awards given out by LERN this year. 

Reader Dan Linstroth was pleased to hear of Buchok's recognition:

Very cool. Congratulations, Mrs. Buchok. And a great quote to live by.

Should Sales Tax Be Applied to Clothing?

Last week, the Senate Tax Reform Committee began working on measures, including one that would expand the sales tax base while lowering the overall rate by half a percent. Under the bill, shoppers would pay sales tax on individual clothing items costing more than $200 dollars. The first $200 would be exempt.

Rachel Recknagel said she wouldn't mind the tax, as long as the revenue goes somewhere worthwhile:

Are you telling me you can't clothe yourself for less than $200? I agree about not taxing used clothes and I like the cap. what I want to know is what is being done with the new tax revenue? if the choice is smaller teacher/student ratios or no tax on clothes, then bring on the clothes tax, but if we're building bridges to nowhere then forget it. Reform how taxes are spent alongside the quantity and method of taxation.

St. Michael-Albertville School Board Urges Legislative Action on Equitable School Funding: 'A Lost Cause Worth Fighting For'

Because of a state funding formula for K-12 education that hasn't been largely reformed in about a decade, the current system disperses state money to Wright County schools at a lower level than other districts.

Eric wrote:

Equity is very important. There is no reason there should be so much difference in State funding. A kid is a kid. I can understand a small difference for special ed and districts like Minneapolis with lots of kids from poor households, but these inequities go far beyond that and the taxpayers of STMA are forced to make up the difference. Rick is also correct that school spending has got to be put in check. I saw a report a few weeks ago that said on average in the US, taxpayers paid $75,000 per kid for his or her entire K-12 education (in 2009 dollars) for a 1980 graduate. That number has doubled to $150,000 for a 2009 graduate. Where is all this money going? That's a huge increase while on average national test scores have remained flat. I do applaud our teachers and students for doing so well with relatively less. Let's export those ideas to the other districts.

VIDEO: Remembering When Cruising Hopkins Was the Thing to Do

Hopkins once had a reputation as a “cars and bars” town, with teens cruising Mainstreet every weekend. Along Mainstreet, which used to be called Excelsior Boulevard, there were six major car dealer show rooms and 12 car sales lots in 1962. Readers got a glimpse of what that time was like in an old video posted online.

Rick Larson lamented the loss of those days:

I was a cruiser until it ended when they finally chased the kids away. Look at Hopkins now, it's a ghost town! The strip is dead. Almost all of the gas stations and convenience stores closed. Hell, even Burger King shut down! Where are the car dealers? Drive Main St. today and look at all the FOR RENT signs! Good thing the city elders in their infinite wisdom chased away all the kids with CASH in their pockets! LOL! As for drag racing, where do you imagine that was happening? Excelsior Blvd was bumper to bumper from Burger King to KFC! I never witnessed any real racing and I was there! I would be interested to know how tax revenues have declined in the last twenty years since cruising ended. People look back and wonder what happened to their nice little town. Hopkins is now the place people used to go to for fun. RIP Hopkins.

Community Fights Hunger Through Robbinsdale Empty Bowls Event

On Feb. 9, community members are invited to make bowls at Robbinsdale Middle School. All bowls made at the event--which begins at 10 a.m. and goes until 1 p.m.--will be sold on March 21 at an Empty Bowls event at Sandberg Learning Center. Proceeds from that day will go to PRISM and NEAR food shelves.

Aileen White encouraged other to attend:

This is an AWESOME event - having attended the past two years, it is wonderful to see the event growing and although not quite keeping up with the demands of hunger (for families)in our neighborhoods, attending our schools, never the less helping towards it. This is such a wonderful event with the community supporting the community we live in - helping out a neighbor/friend that you may not know you are helping - there is nothing better to keep our neighborhoods strong as families work to improve their situations, than being able to go to the food shelves of PRISM & NEAR, to keep hunger at bay for their family.

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