Readers respond to "The Deadly Road to Wellville"

I grew up just off of Pleasant Valley Road, and all of my family members still live there. Highway 8 has always been known as "Death Alley." Having known the area for over 30 years, I've seen such a huge amount of growth and home development that I cannot fathom how MnDOT can still see Chisago County as being a backwater, non-commuting area! This is criminal neglect at this point when clearly there are many commuters to the Twin Cities daily and yet so many people are still dying on this road! Even if you were to ignore all of the outgoing commuters and just take into account the employees at Hazelden who commit their lives to helping others—they shouldn't have to risk their lives every day in order to do it! Something needs to be done and soon!

Comment by Alycia
from Oakdale

I lost a friend on this highway in 1991, and now my brother's family lives near it in Lindstrom. On the weekends you can wait several minutes to make a right hand turn onto Highway 8—forget about turning left. It's not just a commuter road for employees of Hazelden or residents of Chisago County, but is a highly traveled route to Wisconsin. Vast improvements have occurred since the '90s, but Highway 8 still needs major traffic-calming improvements. It's scary.

Comment by Kelly
from Minneapolis

I used to work in Forest Lake and have traveled Highway 8 many, many times. Pay attention when driving and no one dies; better laws on cell phone use will put a major dent in all accident-prone areas. I know this because I drive eight hours a day around the metro and see what most people are doing when they're supposed to be driving!

Comment by Tom
from Coon Rapids

I grew up in northwest Wisconsin, and from there Highway 8 is the main road to the Twin Cities. I drove and continue to drive this route rather frequently. I am surprised that your article didn't mention the very effective scare campaign that took place in the '90s—signs everywhere saying things like "You'll meet your fate on Highway 8," death statistics, and the like. There were also crosses placed where people had died over the years—large crosses for adults, small for children. It was terrifying to have to drive through that, but it got the job done. Still needs improvement, but it's a lot better than it was. Maybe someone should start another such campaign?

Comment by Kate
from St. Paul

This is a terrible highway. I feel terrible for the victims and families. I have also attended the Highway 8 Task Force meetings and disagree with many of their decisions and recommendations. I think it is time for Nora Holt to step down—things are not improving!

Comment by Dan
from Center City

Getting Mischke

For years I tried vainly to "get" TD Mischke's radio program ("Requiem for a Dream," 9/23/09). I'd listen for a week but eventually turn away, finding this darling of the City Pages crowd too precious by half. The same went for his column. I wanted to enjoy it but found it as disjointed as his show; what's more, I couldn't shake the feeling that Mischke devotees probably felt the same way, but were afraid to admit it lest they lose their hipster status. Then I read his "Requiem for a Dream" column, the tale of a musician for whom reality and aspirations collided. Never before have I read such a succinct account of what occurs when one's musical dreams recede along with his hairline. The mark of good columnists is that they're able to get inside their readers' heads. While I still cannot claim to be a devotee of Mischke, I must say that at least as far as "Requiem for a Dream" is concerned, mission accomplished, Tommy.

Tom Bonnett
St. Paul

A musician we hope sticks around

Reflecting upon the loss of so many beloved entertainers as of late, reading up on Mason Jennings ("Blood on the Tracks," 9/23/09) brought me back to the time when I met him, the time that my wife and I saw him play at the Orpheum, reading his words, and above all listening to his music and the experiences his songs helped to define. Let us all take the time to remember those who are still with us and appreciate this time we share together. Be seeing you around, Mason!

Paul Cummings
St. Louis Park

Fair well

I loved Matt Snyders's State Fair article, spending six or seven days at the Fair in a row! I wish he had written about the other days, too. Rock-it Robot is my favorite attraction, the pied piper at the fair! I've worked at a fair information booth for many, many years. Next year Matt, please write about all 12 days of the fair!

Liz Fine

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