I would like to urge the writer of the letter "Not fit for all people and all trips" (Readers Write, April 15) to give public transit a try. He states that he lives in a vibrant St. Paul neighborhood, so I would guess he has public transit available to him. I suggest he download the Metro Transit app to his phone so he can see how easy it is to find out when the next bus is coming and to buy the ticket to get on.
Five years ago, I got rid of my car. The first year was rough as I learned how to navigate with my feet, my bike and Metro Transit. Now I would never go back. I have a Go-To card that is automatically refilled from my bank account when the balance is low. I never worry about buying gas or looking for parking. Defining your life with the question "Where will I park?" seems like a limited way to live life. Using public transit for social occasions means larger groups of people can travel together, having more fun on the way. No one arrives stressed due to navigating traffic congestion. And everyone can celebrate without the need to worry about a sober driver for the ride home. I hope he gives it a try.
If we could reduce the amount of space devoted to parking, we could have lots more green space, more businesses producing income on that space, more urban farming, more businesses located close to neighborhoods, less runoff into our rivers and lakes, fewer carbon emissions, quieter and safer neighborhoods, and a greater sense of community. Economists agree that the opportunity cost of using real estate to provide parking in urban areas is very high. It's unnecessary on a street like Hennepin Avenue with many different public transit options open to the public.
Betty A. Lotterman, St. Paul
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There is much written these days about a problem called electric-car range anxiety. The question is, where does one get an electric car recharged? The answer is, for a daily commute, you charge it in your garage at night. This means, of course, that the range of the electric car must exceed your daily commute. If you have a 100-, 150- or 200-mile daily commute, an electric car may not be for you.
If you have a reasonable daily commute and are a two-car family, then one car could be an all-electric car and the other a gasoline car. But even in that situation, or for a single driver who has a reasonable commute but occasionally likes to take a long trip, the answer is the plug-in hybrid.
This car is like an ordinary hybrid with a battery and motor-generator. The motor ordinarily drives the car but also charges a battery. Additionally, when you are coasting or braking, energy is fed into the battery for additional power for accelerating or hill-climbing. The plug-in hybrid has a larger battery that can be fully charged in your garage at night. Then, the next day it drives the car electrically until the battery is low. Any time the battery gets too low, the engine automatically starts (a seamless transition) and the engine both charges the battery and drives the car.
Another criticism of the electric car is that the range of the battery decreases at lower temperatures, so, yes, you get less range in winter. But less commonly heard is that the life of the battery is temperature dependent. So someone living in a more temperate climate will be able to drive more before replacing the battery than someone in a very hot climate.
We have had a plug-in hybrid for three years now. This past winter, over the months of cold weather — December, January and February — my wife put in three and a half gallons of gasoline despite driving the car almost every day.
Electric cars (and plug-in hybrids) are practical in Minnesota.
Don Stauffer, Coon Rapids
I can't maintain my grief
Some may disagree, some may find it harsh, but it is getting harder and harder to feel much after another mass shooting ("Police ID gunman in FedEx shooting as young male in 20s," StarTribune.com, April 16). I have grown up in the mass shooting generation, born only a few years before Columbine so, needless to say, my generation has seen it all. With that, it is in our blood to follow the routine after another mass shooting. Reacting, posting on social media, calling out politicians, demanding action, watching the news, listening to those affected ... we've all been there.
Unfortunately, I've reached the point where hope has been lost. I've accepted the reality that mass shootings are as American as apple pie. Yes, you still feel for the victims and their families, and that will always exist, but it has become mentally exhausting knowing you'll go through the same routine in weeks. Our politicians act like they care, but in the end they follow the same pattern we all do. They react, demand, then move on.
The reason we move on is due to the lack of political power we hold to make change. But the politicians do the same because they don't want to do anything. In the end, it doesn't matter where you are: Walmart, a FedEx facility, school, church, synagogue, nightclub, movie theater, college campus ... you are putting yourself in danger each day by simply living in America.
Jack Parker, Minneapolis
It's essential until it's not
Vietnam, Afghanistan, Iraq: wars that our commanders in chief told us were critical to national security in regions that had already exhausted the old colonial powers ("Blinken visits Kabul hours after Biden announces pullout," April 16). After 10 to 20 years, hundreds of thousands of deaths and trillions spent, always this: "Never mind."
James Dunn, Edina
Close to the end, and the beginning
As the weather warms and the number of people with COVID-19 vaccinations grows, I can't help but combine the two in my mind. While the earth is awakening from the monthslong winter, we all — we survivors — are awakening from an unnaturally long full year of winter. Not a season of cold, but worse: a season of fear and loss.
It is April now, a time when we bring dormant tools out from the garage and the shed and prepare our yards to return to life. Likewise, when safety permits it, I hope we all make sure to awaken other things that have gone dormant. Rejoin clubs and activities once they resume getting together. Enjoy meals at restaurants. Learn again that watching a movie while surrounded by sometimes-annoying strangers is in fact better than binge-watching at home. But most of all, reconnect with friends and loved ones, in person. Take nothing for granted.
I know my English teacher from so long ago would be thrilled to know that some things stayed with me, for these thoughts bring to mind Alfred Tennyson's lines: "And all we met was fair and good, / And all was good that Time could bring, / And all the secret of the Spring / Moved in the chambers of the blood." Tennyson wrote of youth, but the words could apply to any ideal time.
I will admit that, until now, they were just words. I hope that you, too, understand them now and that we may all enter into an ideal time.
Christopher Jones, Minneapolis
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I have been reading the Star Tribune since the 1950s. (Well, for a while I read the morning Tribune and the evening Star.) After working my way through the first section of the April 16 paper and its headlines of shootings, trials, riots and COVID, I came to the Variety section. What good news: A Minnesotan, William Halverson, has translated 200 songs composed by Edvard Grieg, Norway's revered composer, into English! Plus soprano Melissa Holm-Johansen and pianist Stephen Swanson have recorded the songs, with the help of Norway House ("Norway's voice is singing in English now").
What makes this good news? It makes us aware that there are creative people working behind the scenes, despite all the obstacles, to provide art, music, drama and literature to our hurting world. This continuum of beauty gives me hope, and I hope it will help you, too.
Mavis Amerson Voigt, Minneapolis
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