Five by 8 – 3/26/10: Why Woodbury fears people with Alzheimer’s

1) Let’s be honest. Woodbury has had an image problem since it sprouted McMansions and became one of the fastest-growing, well-heeled enclaves in the country in the ’80s and ’90s. That reputation may be buttressed with word that the city’s Planning Commission delayed action on plans for an assisted living facility for senior citizens with Alzheimer’s, the Woodbury Bulletin reports. What’s the problem? Residents in one of the tonier neighborhoods don’t want people with Alzheimer’s as neighbors.

The paper described a meeting in the city this week:

The potential for Settler’s Pointe to care for people with enhanced memory loss is the source of many neighbors’ objections, because people with that condition may exhibit unusual behavior, such as removing their clothing if they warm.

Stonemill Farms homeowner Steve Gossman said that residents like himself are concerned simply because there are so many children in the area.

“I think it comes down to people don’t know what to expect from that,” he said of the enhanced memory loss units.

Project supporters have disputed claims that the facility’s residents are a risk to public safety, noting that they are closely monitored and live within a secure building.

The comments section of the paper’s Web site, however, provides a better snapshot of the emotion. Here’s a sample. The developer, Joe Baumann , said:

I have been reluctant up to this point in getting involved in these blogs but as the developer and a 21 year resident of Woodbury I felt it was time to respond to the total misconceptions being passed on about this facility. This facility would not include residents with brain damage. It would not include residents of any age. They are not locked in their rooms. They are seniors over the age of 55 with dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. We have stated this many times and people keep spreading the same false and misleading information. I do not want to get involved in the back and forth comments but from now on I plan to dispel the blatant mis-truths.

A resident in the development responded:

I’m not going to let mine and my neighbor’s kids be exposed to potential risks just so you can make so money. Additionally, I’m not going to take to a loss on the resale on my property just so you can get out of a bad investment. Joe, you can no more guarantee the age and type of the patients that will be housed in this facility, let alone their actions. Additionally, if this plot of land is rezoned for high density residential, the cork will be out of the bottle. The future of this plot could be almost anything. Joe, if you are such a big believer in this project, maybe you could build this facility some where else in Woodbury. How about on Bridgewater Parkway or some other quiet little residential street?

Let’s enter the News Cut Wayback Machine. Here’s Stonemill Farms’ (that’s the neighborhood involved) marketing manager quoted in an advertising supplement in Midwest Home.

Stonemill Farms is notable for a number of reasons. But one stands before all others: “It’s a community within a community,” explains Bethany Fine, marketing manager for Stonemill Farms–one where neighbors are friends, where people stop to chat on each other’s front porches. “Old farmhouse front porch living is very important to us, where everyone knows their neighbors,” Fine says.

“With front porch living and the sidewalks, it takes you back to the way things used to be, with a community feel, where you know your neighbors,” Fine says.

Duluth has a different attitude:

Question: What makes a real “community”?

2) Weeks ago, the federal government handed out cash for people to buy appliances. But the appliances people bought had to carry the EnergyStar label, indicating their status as energy-efficient. How hard is it for an appliance manufacturer to get the EnergyStar label? The Government Accountability Office releases a report today showing it’s ridiculously easy.

In the nine-month study, the New York Times reveals, auditors were able to get the designation for appliances that didn’t even exist.

You’ll be able to read the report later this morning here.

3) What makes men become adulterers? Nannies — au pairs as we like to say in the colonies — according to a researcher in the UK:

According to Friedman, having two women care for a baby boy may cause his little brain to internalize the idea that there are multiple females to meet his needs. “It introduces him to the concept of the other woman,” he said in London’s Daily Telegraph. He explicates the relationship in his book The Unsolicited Gift: Why We Do The Things We Do, which explores how a mother’s love for her offspring can determine how those children behave as adults.

4) The Minnesota Twins have just released another commercial for Target Field. It’s an instant classic. But why is the goofball an Angels fan and not a fan of a Central Division rival or a Yankee or Red Sox fan? Theory: Someone in the advertising business still carries a grudge that Torii Hunter left the Twins to sign with the Angels in 2008.

Forgive me, but I have to connect the dots for those who don’t get it.

5) The worst that could happen has happened to Johnny Maestro.

Make fun of the old-timers if you will, but let’s see you hit those notes.


This week we’ve been reporting on the obesity epidemic and ways to combat it. What are you doing to fight obesity?


Midmorning (9-11 a.m.) – First hour: School lunch programs are just one front in the battle against obesity. In an effort to address the quality and nutritional value of those programs, many Minnesota school districts are shifting to fewer processed foods and more fresh food from local farmers.

MPR’s Michael Caputo is hosting a live chat on the subject starting at 10 a.m.

Second hour: Greening urban architecture. A radical architect has ideas on promoting sustainability and environmentalism in cities with stackable cars and homes built into trees.

Midday (11 a.m. – 1 p.m.) – First hour: The two DFL candidates for Congress in the 6th District — Sen. Tarryl Clark and Dr. Maureen Reed — take questions from Gary Eichten and callers.

Second hour: We’ll replay some of the reporter pieces in the obesity series.

Talk of the Nation (1-3 p.m.) – It’s Science Friday. A “cow emissions expert” says eating less beef might not do much to lessen climate change. Plus, how oil on your skin affects air quality in the office. And why cold fusion is not such a rogue science anymore.

Second hour: A look at the debate over rules for trading in endangered species. Also: Trying to block Asian Carp from the Great Lakes, an underwater caterpillar, and tracing human evolution through DNA.

All Things Considered (3-6:30 p.m.) – MPR’s Tim Nelson explores the nuts-and-bolts of getting to and from Target Field.

Toni Randolph reports on a three-day effort to count the homeless for the Census that begins on Monday.