The Oct. 9 article “Solutions are floated to relieve congestion” discuses options the Minnesota Department of Transportation is exploring to do something about the insane amount of congestion we endure daily. I know the hours of my life spent riding the brakes as I try to get home or to my daily source of income is quite maddening.
To alleviate this, I commute by bike as much as possible. Living in Champlin and working in Bloomington presents quite a challenge, so I only do this twice a week. But with road work, it has been the case lately that I have some extra incentive.
Comparing notes with a colleague in our Belgium office, even with my 58-mile round trip, my mileage doesn’t compare. My counterpart has me beats hands down, but he has an additional incentive. Our company pays him 37 cents for every mile he bikes to work. The Belgian government provides a tax incentive for this effort, and the company passes this incentive to the employees. This program has worked so well that the company has had to install extra showers.
This certainly seems like a win-win-win situation. It reduces the number of cars on the road, reduces the amount of money and roadwork needed to handle traffic, and produces a healthier employee, which should lower health care costs.
Lloyd Keleny, Champlin
Water issues at Lake Hiawatha are an issue for entire watershed
Homeowners in south Minneapolis are frustrated about serious water-mitigation issues affecting property values, maintenance costs and neighborhood stability. The flooding in south Minneapolis that temporarily closed the Hiawatha Golf Course in 2014 raised questions about runoff, stormwater and water tables in the area. Entire neighborhoods are faced with basement water issues and repair bills. The flooding was the stated cause of the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board’s decision to reduce pumping and maybe close golf operations.
State Sen. Patricia Torres Ray and Reps. Jim Davnie and Jean Wagenius first held a water-quality meeting at Lake Nokomis Park in September. Stormwater runoff and trash piped into Lake Hiawatha were mentioned. State Sen. Jeff Hayden, Hennepin County Board Member Peter McLaughlin and Minneapolis City Council Member Andrew Johnson joined a hearing at the State Capitol on Oct. 6. Representatives of the state Department of Natural Resources and the Park Board were present.
The hearing revealed that the problem is way beyond Hiawatha Golf Course. The dam at Grays Bay on Lake Minnetonka, a smaller dam in Edina, and runoff from new runways and parking at the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport all pour into Lake Hiawatha. The last lake on the last couple miles of the watershed (180 square miles) is blamed for pollution and flooding. The saying is, “We can’t all live upstream!” (But you can blame someone else?)
The larger issue has been avoided by the Park Board, but it is now a multijurisdictional question. This requires cooperation of all the stakeholders — including the original group of concerned homeowners.
Bill Shroyer, Minneapolis
The writer is a candidate for the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board in the Fifth District.
The reason we can’t see schools as ‘the one and only solution’
An Oct. 24 letter writer quotes from an Oct. 23 counterpoint that “the most important determining factor in a child’s success is parental influence.” Then the letter writer adds, in part, that the “one and only solution is to establish … a comprehensive preschool program that enables every child in America to be ready for school on their first day in kindergarten. Until that happens, millions and millions of schoolchildren will enter their school ... unprepared for what lies ahead during the next 13 years.”
I am always suspicious when someone announces “the one and only solution” to any complex, systemic problem. It seems especially striking after acknowledging that a different factor is the most important determining factor.
If we adopt the preschool solution, then we raise the question: But how well-prepared will the kids be when they enter preschool? And it’s tortoises all the way down from there.
So I concur with the Oct. 23 counterpoint: It’s about the parents and it starts at home. Now, what will we as a society do to help new parents better prepare their children for success in life? And equally how do we as a society hold parents accountable for their essential contribution to this preparation? It’s disingenuous to foist all this onto the schools or even the preschools.
Michael Ayers, Minneapolis
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The Oct. 24 letter writer has made getting children kindergarten-ready much too complicated. Yes, the parents’ role is crucial, but my own experience is that it is also quite simple.
Read, read, read. Start early and do it often. A 6-month-old will be seduced by the parent’s voice, and as he or she understands more, he or she will begin to learn. Talk, talk, talk. As the parent reads, he or she can add personal comments about how what they are reading relates to the child’s life. They can laugh, they can joke, they can discuss in a way the child understands. Involve the family and, if possible, the child’s friends — do the parents of the child’s friends a favor. My own children’s reading sessions often included nonfamily members.
I can almost guarantee a child exposed to this kid of environment will be kindergarten-ready.
Jeanne Coram, St. Paul
THE TRUMP PRESIDENCY
The trouble with a letter writer’s ‘root for the pilot’ conception
An Oct. 27 letter writer repeated an analogy I’ve heard before: With the president being the pilot, you must root for him, or else the plane crashes. I reject that analogy. No one wants the plane to crash, but, when we should be flying to Stability by way of Decorum and Civility, and the pilot is intent on flying to Chaos by way of Narcissism and Division, then its time to replace said pilot.
Scott Ransom, Brainerd, Minn.
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Pilots receive countless hours of training and are considered experts for the job. If you know a pilot is incapacitated and unable to perform the job, you call this out and the pilot is removed to stop the endangerment of others. To compare this POTUS with a pilot is stretching it, as he has had no training for the job and that lack of training can endanger others when reckless words, tweets and policies are thrown at us on a daily basis. This recklessness should be called out when it happens, which, unfortunately, is often.
Deb Dargay, New Hope
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I appreciate a good metaphor, and the letter that likened President Donald Trump to a pilot flying the airplane that is our country is a good one. So, let’s flesh it out more.
As of early November of last year, the U.S. seemed to be cruising at a reasonably good rate of speed, with wings even and little turbulence. There was a situation in the cockpit that required someone on board to take over the controls. Two individuals stood up to volunteer. One was a seasoned pilot with decades of experience, but she came across as elitist, out of touch with those in coach. Instead we voted for the loudmouth in first class, who has zero experience at the stick and who grabbed a female flight attendant’s private parts upon boarding the plane. He’s at the controls now sending us into steep climbs and dives on a daily basis, all the while using the intercom to mock and denigrate other passengers. Thank you for choosing Trump Airlines!
Gary J. Freitas, Waconia
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How can a letter put it any better, inside-out and backward? The Republican conservative word for the day with Barack Obama as our president was “obstruct.” But for the current president of our opposition party it comes out as “cut him some slack, already!”
Rodney Hatle, Owatonna, Minn.