See more of the story

A front-page article Aug. 25 reported researchers have said the healthiest amount of alcohol for us to consume is now found to be none.

And we wonder why some people eschew science?

I believe in the scientific method. I want it to make us better humans.

As a health care professional, I am educated in research techniques and the importance of a well-conducted, policed, reviewed and refereed clinical trial. I also know how personal bias and incorrect assumptions may lead to skewed and misleading results. The use of statistics can be helpful, but might be harmful, especially when, like the reported study on alcohol, data from previous trials are lumped together and results do not reflect the stated purposes of the original studies.

In my early life, no one had studied effects of alcohol on health. Moving forward, alcohol use was thought to be bad for us, and if we imbibed, we did it with guilt. Later, we learned a glass or two of wine or one mixed drink per day was good for us.

I am finding research is not necessarily making our lives better, but rather confusing us and making us suspicious of all scientific data on health. Many studies do report findings to make us healthier. Yet many people lose faith in the scientific method because of “new studies” shattering their deep-seated beliefs in previous research.

So I am calling on the medical research community (and you know who you are) to fix this. You are brilliant, you are educated and you are a group striving to make the world a better place. You need to police your professions and do what you can to report results based on sound research, or I fear, you will lose the people you want to help.

Pamela Haase, Rochester

The writer is a retired clinical pharmacist.

• • •

I will be preparing a rather elaborate dinner and was looking forward to pairing the entree with a nice glass of cabernet sauvignon. After reading the Aug. 25 article, I now know that, statistically, just one glass of wine will increase my chance of dying from tuberculosis. No wine.

I had also planned to visit one of our beautiful state parks mentioned in the same paper. I recalled, however, that driving on the highway will, statistically, increase my chance of being killed in a motor accident. No visit.

I am also canceling my subscription to the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra this season because I know that, statistically, my chances of catching the flu and dying are much greater if I mingle with crowds. No concerts.

Thanks to your article, life in Minnesota will be a lot safer for me, but not nearly as enjoyable.

David G. Jones, Minneapolis

COURAGE

A rape victim’s commitment to justice, and to others, inspires

To Betty Perez, who decided to testify against the man who raped her in order to protect others from harm (“ ‘He should have been put away,’ ” front page, Aug. 31): you are one awesome young woman.

Jeff Naylor, Minneapolis

PARKS AND TRAILS

Pondering usage, management at the state and regional levels

The Aug. 26 article “State park visits are up 25% in 15 years” indicates how much Minnesotans love nature and the outdoors. The state Department of Natural Resources is doing a good job spending Clean Water, Land and Legacy Amendment parks and trails funds as intended, with 53 percent going toward natural resource conservation, protection and restoration. Unfortunately, regional park management is using 80 percent of these funds on construction.

The regional parks were set aside because they represent some of the last and best open space in the metro area, with vital remnants of prairie, savanna, wetlands and woodlands. They are the metro region’s “state parks,” where we can immerse ourselves in nature close to home. The built environment fragments habitat — providing less food and shelter for birds, turtles, foxes and other animals. The added hard surfaces, including removing trees to add more asphalt and buildings, diminishes climate resiliency and increases the chance of the introduction of invasive species, which further degrades habitat for our native plant and animal wildlife. In addition, there is ongoing maintenance, such as the salting and sanding of asphalt trails, that may further degrade surface and groundwater.

The Metropolitan Council’s Regional Parks Policy Plan is being updated, with discussion for even more building. Please don’t let the Met Council pave over our regional parks. If you want to protect our wonderful natural resources, let the council know.

Marilynn Torkelson, Eden Prairie

• • •

Last Saturday, a companion and I went to Grand Rapids to bike on the Mesabi Trail. This is a beautiful, well-kept trail that has a very friendly riding surface, with plenty of decorations along the side to enjoy and rest benches every couple of miles. There are many bodies of water along the side of the trail that lend to a quiet and an enjoyable ride.

The trail winds through several small towns that come up at respectable intervals (5 to 7 miles), so you do not feel that you are riding through towns, but at the same time, if you need services or food, they are never far away.

This Minnesota resource is very sparsely used. I was very surprised that I did not pass any other person either coming toward me or passing me on the trail. We rode the trail for more than 40 miles and for about three and a half hours. I cannot think of any reason why Minnesotans are not using their own resource.

Riding the bike trails in solitude will teach you more about yourself than you ever wanted to know — treat that as a gift to you from the Minnesota bike trails.

Rajiv Kapadia, Mankato

MINNEAPOLIS PARK BOARD

As my husband knew, it’s the service, not the pay, that counts

I write to comment on the effort by newly elected members of the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board to increase their annual stipend (“Mpls. Park Board split over whether to more than double its pay,” Aug. 23, and “Before boosting pay, listen to taxpayers,” editorial, Aug. 31).

My husband, Walter S. Carpenter, served from 1965 to 1971 as a commissioner and from 1967 to 1971 as president. He received no compensation, stipend or expenses.

In those years, the Park Board hired a nationally acclaimed superintendent after a nationwide search, built 14 park buildings (the first since before World War II), repaved 60 miles of parkways with distinctive brown surfacing, reduced the size of the Park Board from 13 to nine members through a charter amendment, and battled the Corps of Engineers and the Highway Department to stop an intrusion on Minnehaha Falls. Like volunteers on all city boards, churches and charitable organizations, he considered his service to the city the most meaningful volunteer activity of his life.

Elsa Carpenter, Plymouth