See more of the story

It wasn’t that long ago when America was divided over the mandated use of seat belts. We did not want to be told what to do, and we certainly did not want to lose any freedom of choice. Today we tend to buckle up without hesitation. Yet, the seat belt dilemma has now been replaced with the face mask quandary: “Should I wear one or not?”

Maybe “Click it or ticket” will be replaced with “Mask it or casket.”

Bill King, Minneapolis

• • •

It is amazing to me that our federal government can supply body bags and refrigeration trucks but, six months after the start of this pandemic, there is still a shortage of testing supplies.

Tracie Bosch, Apple Valley

MEDICAL OUTCOMES

Prevent further virus disparities

Recently, the Star Tribune published an article on how federal health officials added pregnancy to the list of conditions that may put a person at higher risk for COVID-19 and the challenges that come with the new isolation and safety precautions that expecting mothers now have to face. However, along with COVID-19, Black mothers are facing a centuries-long challenge that plagues every part of our health care system: racism and racial bias in medicine. A recent article by The Hill highlights how Black women in the United States are three to four times more likely to die of pregnancy-related causes as compared with white women.

These stark disparities are clear determinants of the change needed not just in the medical field, but in the foundation of our societies. As a high school student and aspiring OB-GYN who is living through the current movement, I feel strongly that one way we can positively contribute to this issue is to garner attention and support for the Black Maternal Health Momnibus Act of 2020. A suite of nine individual bills focused on expanding insurance coverage, investing in social determinants of health and other key maternal requisites, the Momnibus is one of the premier ways to guarantee improved Black, veteran and incarcerated women’s maternal health care. Our Black mothers, babies and families deserve better. Let’s give it to them through the Momnibus Act.

Emi Gacaj, Minneapolis

OIL PIPELINE

We’re more than ready for Line 3

Crude oil pipelines like Line 3 deliver the energy we depend on each day — heat for our homes, hospitals and school; gas for our cars, buses and trucks; asphalt for our roads and supplies for electrical plants manufacturer. Other benefits are also important.

Of course, there is the positive impact of construction — more than $2 billion plowed into the economy, including about 6,500 well-paying local jobs and the purchase of goods and services from Minnesota businesses.

What is particularly important to me is the additional revenue generated over the long term for education. Currently, Enbridge pays $30 million each year in property taxes; once the replacement line is operational, Enbridge’s tax bill will increase by $35 million. In the Clearbrook and Bagley area, the money will be vital to local schools. It will help us attract and retain good teachers, strengthen computer literacy, enhance technology systems, maintain facilities and create new learning programs.

For our children, a strong education builds the knowledge that leads to better job opportunities, improved health and long-term quality of life. My hope is that my children will use their education to build their dreams in northern Minnesota. It is a life my family has cherished since 2011 when my family and I returned to this great state of Minnesota.

In June, I was pleased to read that the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission (MPUC) again approved Line 3 — the first time was in 2018. There can be no further delays in this project, specifically any effort by the Walz administration to appeal MPUC’s decision.

My community is ready for construction to begin.

Jamie Grover, Bagley, Minn.

• • •

I respectfully disagree with Dylan Goudge’s depiction of Enbridge’s expanded Line 3 tar sands pipeline proposal (“Keep Line 3 from crumbling,” Readers Write, July 13).

Building Line 3 is synonymous with Minnesota demanding catastrophic climate change.

Line 3 will have the equivalent carbon impact of 50 coal-fired power plants. To put this in perspective, all Minnesota families and industry could swear off fossil fuel use for life, but the climate benefits gained by these rigorous actions would be more than overshadowed by the climate harms caused by the construction and operation of Line 3.

If Line 3 is built, we condemn current and future generations to climate chaos. Line 3 will burden our children, and the world, with more frequent and more intense droughts, tropical storms, heat waves, insect outbreaks and wildfires, as well as increased famine, species extinctions, rising sea-levels, climate-refugee migration and more.

The only sane and responsible thing to do is keep tar sands in the ground, stop the Line 3 expansion and decommission the old Line 3.

I urge all Minnesotans of goodwill to contact Gov. Tim Walz and Lt. Gov. Peggy Flanagan to demand they use their executive power to protect our climate and the health and well-being of our children by stopping Line 3. May we have the courage, wisdom and compassion to act now, while we still can.

Freeman Wicklund, Lakeville

NATIVE NAMES

Indigenous stories should be heard

Driving home to the cities from my job at Lower Sioux, I was struck by the incredible beauty of the rolling green land and brilliant blue sky this July. Even the pandemic could not detract from such gifts of nature. But as I journeyed, I couldn’t help but also notice the forceful overlay of colonial place names and their constant reminder of genocide here in Mni Sota Makoce. It doesn’t have to be that way. Cansayapi, or “where they paint the trees red,” is the original name in southwestern Minnesota of the place the 1,200-plus citizens of Lower Sioux call home. Just last year, the tribe partnered with the Minnesota Department of Transportation to post new entrance signs to the reservation that feature the Dakota name. In Minneapolis, the reclamation of Bde Maka Ska is perhaps more well-known to your readers.

Yet these two examples are the exceptions in our state’s understanding of our geography. The Star Tribune exploration of Oheyawahi is more the rule (“What’s the story behind strange south metro road names?” July 19). This sacred site, like so many across the state, is actively loved and honored by Dakota people who are very much alive here today. However, the writer prioritized the colonial names and stories. In this era of social change and healing, please consider reaching out to your Indigenous neighbors to tell the truest stories of this beautiful land and her first people.

Nora Murphy, Minneapolis

The writer is a tribal planner/grant writer for the Lower Sioux Indian Community.

STAYING HOME

That was fun. Or something.

My husband and I had a pesky fly in the kitchen that we couldn’t catch or shoo for four days because it never alighted on anything. Yesterday my husband stealthily raised the swatter and with one cobra-like strike nailed it. We high-fived and danced before realizing how low the bar for fun has been lowered in these COVID times.

Anne Ellingson, Minneapolis

We want to hear from you. Send us your thoughts here.