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I so enjoy visiting Minneapolis. It has much to offer in terms of food and the arts, so I was saddened by the news of the violent crime being up 25% in downtown west ("Downtown Minneapolis is back. So is the violent crime," July 31). Here's an idea:

The U.S. Forest Service did a study in 2012 in Baltimore City and Baltimore County in which they found that for every 10% of new tree canopy planted, there was a 12% decrease in crime! The study was done on both private and public property, urban and rural. When private plantings were taken out of the equation, the urban areas had an even larger benefit (40%) of reducing crime. True, areas like downtown "where there is extensive interface between industrial and residential properties," according to the study, were less likely to see the benefits of the tree canopy, but the authors suggested that some of the lessened benefit maybe because some of the trees growing in these areas were not planned nor cared for.

While many Minneapolis neighborhoods have canopy coverage approaching 50% or more, the tree mapping study of Minneapolis done by the University of Minnesota found that the downtown area is one of the least treed areas of the city. Hmm, least treed, and rising crime.

Here's the idea: Minneapolis is commendably planting thousands of trees this year, but maybe the city should focus increasing canopy in the downtown west neighborhood. If it could slow or reverse the rising crime, wouldn't some trees, which bring many more benefits than crime reduction, be worth a try?

Anthony J. Clouse, La Crosse, Wis.


The article on crime in the July 31 paper shouldn't be a surprise to anyone who is paying attention. Crime is rampant across the board, yes, but I don't mean just the kind described in the article. If you've driven on our freeways, you know that excessive speeding is the norm by almost everyone. You may have also noticed the extraordinary amount of graffiti that we are enduring. Ignoring red lights and stop signs has always been an issue but it is endemic now. People are simply being more aggressive and thoughtless all across the city, state and country. Essentially, almost everyone has decided to be lawless in some way. It obviously has something to do with the past two-and-a-half years of the pandemic where people's lives were turned upside down — and the police were not too eager to enforce a lot of laws for fear of COVID. We've all gone a little crazy.

My point in writing this is not to shame people but to remind us all that we may not wish to acknowledge it, but we were all affected by this experience in many ways, and we all share a bit of the burden of guilt for much that is going on. Try to be a good citizen — again.

D. Roger Pederson, Minneapolis


Far from 'inconsequential'

The lead researcher of the imperiled Alzheimer's research describes doctored images as "non-material, inconsequential and having no bearing on the research findings" ("Tainted U research imperils findings," July 31). I disagree. Doctored images are material, consequential, unnecessary and demand independent review. Hopefully, the Alzheimer's data will withstand scrutiny and the findings will prevail.

In 1974, William T. Summerlin was found to have used a felt-tipped pen to paint mice, fraudulently suggesting successful skin transplantation without immunosuppression, making "painting the mice" synonymous with research fraud, and possibly costing Robert A. Good, famed University of Minnesota immunologist, the Nobel Prize. May history not repeat itself.

Richard D. Lentz, Minneapolis

The writer is a retired physician and former medical researcher.


Climate refugees are coming

I was deeply moved by Leigh Pomeroy's "An apology to my future grandson" (Opinion Exchange, July 31). In a few paragraphs, he captured what the science is telling us about climate changes to come and how those changes, in turn, will change our home, the Earth. What he left out and what haunts me are the social and political consequence of those changes. Nearly 2.2 billion people, 29% of the Earth's current population, live in zones that will flood in the next 100 years. Approximately 40 million Americans live in flood zones.

Those living in flood zones will become refugees seeking more hospitable places to live, but the livable areas on Earth will shrink. Some areas will be abandoned while other areas become even more densely populated. I fear that the social and political pressures created by population migration and increasing density will give rise to more conflict as countries and established populations scramble to protect the resources they have. Given the arsenal of weapons, both in the hands of individuals as well as countries, it is easy to imagine a future where climate change drives more violence. While there are examples of kindness and philanthropy about, we are not a species that has widely practiced being our brother's keeper.

Fred Morris, Minneapolis


The excellent commentary "An apology to my future grandson" was right on the money. The author is correct to say all we can do is keep bailing from our sinking ship.

What I find troubling is that about six months ago, there were 16 Minnesota cities that declared climate emergencies. In Bloomington all we did was enact a "resolution" to state the fact. Yet the Bloomington mayor talked in July with the Bureau International des Expositions in Paris about hosting an expo here in 2027. This is an event that would bring in 13 million people to Bloomington and the Twin Cities. And 90% would be nonresident visitors.

So with all the pollution from plane travel, auto rentals and hotel air conditioning, I have to wonder what they are thinking. The climate emergency resolution must just have been worth the piece of paper it was written on.

It makes no sense to me to do this in 2027 when I can't imagine what the temperature will be. It's time for elected officials to start thinking of new ways to do business.

I hope Bloomington and the 15 other cities with climate emergencies will join with me in saying no to this stupidity.

Just say no to Expo 2027. Not needed or wanted.

Terry Houle, Bloomington


We salute Betsy Graca's example

I was moved to write an open letter to Betsy Graca, whose struggles with advanced cancer were intimately presented in last Sunday's paper ("She's 36, with terminal cancer. And she's taking the internet along for the ride," July 31). Thank you, Ms. Graca. As a retired general surgeon who has been the care provider for patients like you, I am awed and humbled by your dedication to making others' lives better, while you struggle to preserve your own. I might — but only might — have better insight than the average person as to the emotional and physical weight of this struggle, given my professional experience. And yet, I can't begin to appreciate what it is like, and the enormity of your courage. Again, thank you.

At a time when so many persons make the news by promulgating false information about COVID vaccines, or baseless claims about election fraud, or foisting their religious beliefs as though their faith is the only truth in the universe, you quietly offer support in ways that cannot be described by words.

Perhaps some who read your story will have an epiphany of sorts. Maybe they will be inspired to abandon shallow passions that they have chosen with ferocious fervor. Maybe they will follow your path and serve a higher purpose.

Peace be with you.

Richard Masur, Minneapolis