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Michael Bredeson ("Life after ethanol: Are we prepared?" June 6) warns us that the use of corn to make fuel may be coming to an end, and he wisely recommends that we plan for that eventuality before it happens.

The problem of overproduction in agriculture has been around for a long time. Farmers were burying pigs rather than taking them to market during the Great Depression. Seventy years ago, the United States had a farm program that included quotas for production; price supports, with the government buying up surplus agricultural products, and the Soil Bank Program that paid farmers to take land out of production. That program was scrapped, and now farmers are encouraged to maximize production even when prices fall. This has led to a high-intensity agriculture that farms every last inch of a field and uses heavy fertilization to maximize yields. A result is too much corn, and a secondary problem is water contamination.

Turning corn into fuel is not a sustainable answer. We need to consider taking land out of use and decreasing the intensity of fertilization of the land still in use. This will have the added benefit of improving ground water in our rural areas that is being contaminated with nitrates. We did it before; we can do it again. It requires the will to make the change.

Martin Urberg, Edina


In Bredeson's article on the Opinion Exchange page last Sunday, I found out that so many electric cars will soon be bought that many ethanol farmers may take a big financial hit. Yet, a very short time ago the Star Tribune was printing stories and letters about car dealers being forced to have electric cars on their lots that they wouldn't be able to sell. This could be a case of two cars chained together but going in opposite directions.

Del Grote, Maplewood


Impressed with McCollum, and wishing her and others wisdom

We were pleased to read the article describing U.S. Rep. Betty McCollum's involvement with the Defense Department ("Pressed on all sides," June 6). Over the years we have been impressed with her ability to see the ramifications of an issue beyond the topic in question. It raises hope that House committee members and Defense Department would factor in the influence of such things as climate change when allocating resources.Too often, it seems the allure of a new weapon system leads to cost overruns and failed expectations when the planes or ships do not live up to the defense contractors' promises. We anticipate that McCollum would demand guarantees that the defense costs are for needed equipment rather than another case of "political engineering" leading to failed combat readiness.

Here's wishing McCollum and all our legislators the wisdom to reach decisions in the best interest of our nation.

Rick and Joan Meierotto, Afton


Before McCollum (a Democrat representing Minnesota's Fourth District and chair of the House Appropriations Defense Subcommittee) attends meetings on defense spending, I recommend that she read the book "The Stupidity of War: American Foreign Policy and the Case for Complacency," by John Mueller. The author covers the foolishness of our huge amount of military spending on defense.

Marilyn L. Maloney, Minnetonka


The building can go, but save the stained-glass window

I was a longtime member of Prince of Peace Lutheran Church, having been married there in 1959 ("Affordable housing units proposed for vacant St. Louis Park church site," June 7). Our children were baptized and confirmed there and grew up in the Prince of Peace Church youth groups.

Yes, it is sad to see a church that has been so much a part of our lives go, but church buildings have been demolished, replaced and repurposed throughout the ages. After all, a church is not so much the building; the community of people in it is the church.

What concerns me most is the beautiful unique stained-glass window that faces Hwy. 7 and has given inspiration to many over the years. At the time it was created, it was known to be the largest stained-glass figure of Christ, the Prince of Peace, standing on top of the world. This is a work of art that was created by Claude Grettum, a lifelong friend of my father. I saw the drawings at the time that Claude was working on the project in the basement studio of his home. How is it possible that a beautiful unique work of art such as this is in danger of being destroyed?

Someone suggested that former members of the church each could have a piece of the stained glass when it was knocked down. Would a Van Gogh painting ever be cut up into pieces so that each of his heirs could have a piece of his art? Unimaginable! There must be some way to save this beautiful sacred art. Couldn't the tower with the window be protected as it stands and be incorporated into whatever project is constructed on this site?

Sandra L. Andersen, Minnetonka


Now here's a hero

It's been said that a picture is worth a thousand words. Nothing could be more true than the photo inside the A section on June 6 of Charles Shay, a soldier who landed on Omaha Beach on June 6, 1944. In today's America, where "hero worship" is a common theme, this photograph depicts a real American hero. Not of a sports star, entertainer or political figure making tens of millions of dollars. Just a simple man, who, at the age of 19, fought for his country on the beaches of France. He is also wearing a Silver Star medal on his jacket. The military does not hand out Silver Star medals to just anyone. So the next time you think of someone as being your personal hero, please remember Charles Shay. My guess is he wouldn't consider himself one, but he is a true American hero.

Kim Gau, Sauk Rapids, Minn.

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