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Responding to the demolition of the 1919 Pillsbury mansion on Lake Minnetonka (“End of an era on the lake,” Aug. 30), listing agent Meredith Howell said, “I do respect the house and the history of the family. But it isn’t the way we live today. We live in a high-tech world. It’s the end of an era.”

Mmmm. The bedrooms in our 1909 south Minneapolis home still function admirably for sleeping; the kitchen, with a little renovation, is mighty fine for preparing and eating meals; the bathroom serves us every morning for bathing; and the living room accommodates friends and family, just like it has for over 100 years. By the way, our cellphones work great in our 1909 house, as does our wireless security system, wireless audio system, high-speed internet, satellite television and smart LED lighting.

Frank Fitzgerald, Minneapolis

MINNESOTA ORCHESTRA

Of immense quality, and skilled as global ambassadors, too

As the tour photographer for the Minnesota Orchestra in Cuba, I came home convinced that there was no finer group of musical ambassadors to represent Minnesota and, ultimately, America. Having recently returned from South Africa with them, my love and pride for this stunning collection of people (both musicians and staff) has only deepened.

Individually, they are among some of the best instrumental players in the world. Collectively, it could be argued that they are the finest orchestra in the world (under the sterling leadership of music director Osmo Vänskä, and the herculean efforts of outgoing president Kevin Smith to pull the orchestra back from implosion in 2014).

Musicianship aside, the simple intention that sent them to Cuba, and now to South Africa, was connection. Nothing more than pure, beautiful human connection. Time after time I saw genuine, unscripted interactions between our musicians and South African children that brought me to tears. It takes a generosity of spirit to let a child hold a priceless instrument so they can experience its sound and feel.

We are lucky to have this orchestra, this staff, these incredible people, in our state. I can’t say what the ultimate impact of this trip will be, but I do know that, through music, a lasting impression was made on a lot of people; that what humanity shares so vastly exceeds what makes us different. We couldn’t ask for better ambassadors of this message, and they deserve a standing ovation for what they’ve accomplished.

Travis Anderson, Minneapolis

THE ECONOMY

A major source of U.S. growth is energy production of all types

The U.S. economy grew by more than 4 percent last quarter, which President Donald Trump attributed to his tax cuts and his other policies. Economists noted that one cause was a lot of foreign pre-tariff buying, especially of soybeans and other exported U.S. farm products. In between taking bows, Trump assured us that the economic growth was sustainable. He did not mention the major growth reason, which is the emergence of the U.S. as the world’s latest energy production superpower, a growth that Trump has inherited.

Thanks to new exploration and production techniques, our 2017 daily crude oil production was 13 million barrels, nearly twice the daily output in the past decade. We have also become a natural-gas exporter, producing 735 billion cubic meters in 2017, exceeding the entire Middle East production. Many thousands of well-paying jobs are the result of this energy boom. Our proven reserves of oil, coal and natural gas remain at record levels, ensuring our continued leadership in the global energy market.

Renewable energy sources like wind and solar are also growing rapidly in the U.S. We also remain the largest producer of nuclear energy for electric power.

The Trump administration is mired in controversy, but a strong economy tends to obscure those problems.

Rolf Westgard, St. Paul

COMMENTARY SELECTIONS

Good thing, letter writers, that Victor Davis Hanson appeared

Two recent letter writers (Aug. 21 and 26) took the Star Tribune to task for publishing a commentary by Victor Davis Hanson (“Similar offenses, different outcomes: What’s going on,” Aug. 19). Each had a litany of problems with Mr. Hanson’s suggestion that, perhaps, Americans are not getting truthful, full and balanced reports from our intelligence services and national media.

I would like to thank this paper for allowing Hanson’s misgivings to be aired, as I have one of my own.

As a Bernie Sanders supporter in the 2016 presidential primary, I witnessed the Democratic National Committee/Hillary Clinton campaign steal his chance of a fair contest. The Clinton and John Podesta e-mails exposed their actions to the world.

Those actions may seem unimportant to some, but Clinton’s ultimate loss to Trump seems to have reignited the Cold War with Russia, one that seems to grow more dangerous and absurd every day. I want to know how this happened — how intelligent people no longer require evidence of guilt or maintain a healthy cynicism of intelligence agencies and the corporate news media.

Grace Heitkamp, Lonsdale, Minn.

2018 CAMPAIGN

A message to candidates, from a lifelong Republican

This 85-year-old lifelong Minnesota Republican will not vote for Republican candidates who seek and/or accept the support of President Trump.

Despite the accomplishments of his administration, his behavior consistent with his questionable ethics throughout his life is destroying the moral fabric of our country. It is no surprise the young are cynical of politicians in general and for now more Republicans than Democrats. I will vote for any Democrat who rejects the left, socialistic wing of their party, unless he or she is opposed by a Republican who speaks out against Trump.

By refusing to vote for anyone who is very polarized and/or unwilling to openly reject other immoral leaders, my hope is that future generations will again see a time when the majority are not afraid to speak their minds and work together toward goals that benefit our country. More John McCains and more like our own Sen. Amy Klobuchar who try to work for the good of all citizens is what we desperately need.

Mark Paper, Wayzata