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Among the many great professions out there, I am glad I get to teach.

Who else gets to spend 180 days shaping the character and the mind of another person? And not just one other, but 150 others. Who else gets to know 150 kids so well that you know the instant they walk into your room whether there is something going on in their lives, and whether it's positive or negative?

We get to create a field of play from which they can learn, laugh and grow. We get to change thought patterns and character traits. We get to build constructive habits and productive attitudes.

Who else gets to do this? Who else gets to touch the hearts and minds of tomorrow every today?

We do! No one else does. No other profession, no other industry. Just us. How cool is that? We teach. That's what we do.

And how, exactly, is it we get to do this? It is because of all the other great professions out there. Thank you!

Dave Driver, St. Louis Park

Arrest over refusal to draw blood has larger implications

The Utah nurse arrested for refusing to draw blood at the behest of law enforcement was given an impossible choice: either get arrested, or be fired and face her licensing board. This is yet another example of government/political factions working at cross-purposes and willing to exert power to achieve their purpose without exercising enough patience to talk with one another. Both hospital administration and the police authorities should have spoken directly rather than force employees to act out a confrontation taking place at a higher level. Both employers asked too much of their workers.

Moreover, the lengthy discussion and detention of the nurse took her away from her job, putting hospital patients at risk. She never should have been detained, but at the very least she should have been permitted to report off to another nurse about the status of the patients for whom she was caring so that other staff members, probably already stretched thin, would know whether scheduled medications and treatments had been given, and what further care was needed.

Teresa Ayling, Edina

The writer is an attorney representing nurses in licensing matters before the Minnesota Board of Nursing and employers and employees in employment matters.


Coaxing them to live in the city? Overburdening. Un-American.

Indeed, Minneapolis City Council members, are we caught not thinking again? ("Coaxing officers to live where they serve," Sept. 1). Encouraging Minneapolis cops to live within the city walls seems a good idea on paper. Wouldn't it be nice if cops lived in the city so as to take care of matters on their off-hours? You know, like when there's a neighborhood dispute? Call the cop two doors down?

But cops deserve some off-time, same as the rest of us. May they be allowed to be private citizens and have a life when they're not on duty?

I think we're asking too much of our police force. What the city is looking into is not a mandate, but it is a suggestion. Shame on you, City Council members, for even suggesting this. People should live where they want. Last I looked, this is the United States of America. People are free to come and go as they choose. This does include those who wear the blue.

What is next up? A suggestion to all city employees that they live within the city bounds? Or are police that different?

We want the best to serve our good city. To suggest that, well, y'know you ought to live here is an insult to the thousands who serve this city.

City Council members, really, isn't there something more important that you need to attend to?

Charles Krumrie, Minneapolis

Best focused on policy? Well, specifically, on tax rates.

While closing tax loopholes, like capital-gains taxes, can help make our economic system a bit fairer ("Talk about 'privilege' is best focused on policy," Opinion Exchange, Sept. 4), it will not address the huge problem that very few of us own the bulk of the world's assets. The richest 2 percent of Americans own half our wealth. The gap in wealth grows wider, as they choose to not increase wages, but prefer to increase their own incomes, now obscenely large.

Our current income tax system has not — and will not — overcome this, especially since lobbyists write the codes. We either need to go back to income taxes of 50 percent to 90 percent on the rich, with impressive and collectible taxes on corporations (now expecting the rights of citizens), or we need to shift to taxing only wealth.

With a wealth tax of 2 percent to 3 percent per year, our country can find the resources to prosper. Calculate for yourself the value of what you actually own, and your IRA. For the middle class, such a federal tax will not change your obligation. But for the billionaires and Fortune 500 folk, so adept at stashing their wealth abroad, it would give them a chance to redeem themselves. Plus, we could forget about inheritance taxes, since any heirs would then start paying that same percentage. For true democracy, the rich should share similar levels of tax pain as the rest of us. They could and should discover a real patriotism, and have similar skin in the game of being Americans.

Gary W. King, Fridley

Ship offenders to death-penalty states? Yes, for the savings.

In the Sept. 2 article " 'Family killer' may face death penalty," Michele Garnett McKenzie from the Advocates for Human Rights states that "Minnesota should consider refusing to transfer its prisoners [in this case, Craig Dennis Bjork] — and the taxpayer dollars that go with them — to states where the death penalty remains on the books."

The taxpayer cost to Minnesotans to incarcerate its first-degree murderers is astounding.

As of July 2017, there are 536 offenders in the Minnesota prison system convicted of first-degree murder; 403 of them have the possibility of parole and 133 are serving life sentences without the possibility of parole.

According to the Minnesota Department of Corrections, the daily cost for an offender in the Minnesota prisons is $92.14. In other words, it costs $33,631 for one prisoner each year. If we do the math, the state of Minnesota spends $18 million a year for incarcerating first-degree murderers. The 133 offenders serving life sentences without parole will cost the state about $4.5 million a year. Multiply that amount by a lifetime of years — well, you do the math.

Perhaps Oregon — with its bike-friendly city of Portland, its lack of sales taxes, its progressive-minded citizens, its green-friendly environment, its assisted-suicide death-with-dignity laws and its allowance of the recreational use of marijuana — got it right by retaining (and maybe someday enforcing) its death-penalty law.

Mark D. Luther, Minnetonka

The writer is an attorney.

Space Tower at State Fairgrounds

A great lookout, but seasonal?

During my rides on the University of Minnesota Campus Connector heading to/from the St. Paul campus, I often look at the Space Tower in the distance sitting silently as it awaits the next Great Minnesota Get-Together. I have also thought about the lack of observation areas showing off the Twin Cities region. The Foshay Tower has an observation deck, but it is surrounded by modern skyscrapers. Long ago I visited the highest floor of the IDS Center, but there is no public observation area. As I walked by the Space Tower during the State Fair recently, I thought about how nice it would be if it were open all year. There are no obstructions; it's midway between Minneapolis and St. Paul, and it provides a good view of our Twin Cities. Studies would have to be conducted to see if it is economically viable to keep it operating year-round, or at least most of the year, but I believe it is worth looking into. It would provide another tourist attraction for the region and would provide the public with excellent views that we lack, compared with other major metropolitan areas.

Eric Ecklund, Bloomington