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This is a letter of praise and nostalgia contrary, I'm sure, to many letters submitted these days. We were in Wayzata Friday evening in search of ice cream, hoping to gaze at the water. Hadn't been for a couple years and were amazed at the transformation of the waterfront. The added seating, the long boardwalk running all the way to the boatworks, the splash plaza — and the people; I had never seen it this busy. Wonderful. Kudos to whoever planned that reconstruction.

Sitting there that evening, I recalled the early days when Wayzata was a sleepy rural village. (I lived a couple miles west as a teen in the early 1960s.) There was still the Meyer Bros. creamery and a Pure gasoline station right on Main Street. As a teen, I would take my girlfriend to the movie theater there and then, if there was time before it closed, to the Apothecary for a treat. We would stumble across the tracks in the dark and sit on the rocks by the water and look for the submarines. The solitude, the calm, the star-spangled sky (breathtaking in its thousands of lights) were not lost on this callow youth.

So Wayzata isn't what it used to be, busy and no stars. Neither am I. I'm much happier today sitting on a park bench rather than on those rather rough stones. But it's still a favorite place to hang out with my bride of 50 years, recalling those halcyon days.

Harald Eriksen, Brooklyn Park


EDUCATIONAL RACIAL EQUALITY

Lacking specifics on what's working

Hamline University's Prof. David Schultz correctly chastises the state of Minnesota for ranking 49th out of 50 states regarding education racial inequality ("Minnesota is an educational leader in racial inequality," Opinion Exchange, June 17). The survey used to assess our dismal performance — and one that has been dismal for 25 years — is from something called WalletHub. Unless there are two companies with the same exact name, WalletHub is a personal finance institution. How a company like this is qualified to address racial inequality escapes me, but let's say it does have a subdivision populated by knowledgeable experts. What parameters are used to assess? How many parameters are there? When was the last time the survey was done so there is some basis for comparison? I'd even be curious as to which state was No. 1. If we are going to change educational policies for the better, let us know as precisely as possible where we are failing. Just a few more sentences in the opinion piece could have informed everyone a lot more.

Paul Waytz, Minneapolis


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In the past the Star Tribune has run opinion pieces like the one June 17 about education. Yet I don't recall ever seeing one about the top or leading state(s) in racial education equality and what their policies and practices are to produce that outcome.

Diane E. Steen-Hinderlie, St. Louis Park


CRIME DETAILS

Something bad happened somewhere

A news story appeared in the Star Tribune on June 15. The article described a tragic situation regarding a woman who was assaulted at knife point and raped.

These are situations that cause great concern, especially if you live in the area of the crime, which I do. As such, I and many others, I'm sure, would like to know specifics of the location of the assault since the closest location given was in the headline of the article: "Man charged with raping woman on trail near Cedar Lake."

The article starts, "A 31-year-old Minneapolis man is accused of raping a woman at knife point by a Minneapolis lake ... ." Further in the article: "The woman said she was walking on a trail when she was grabbed by a man ... who she said threw her into the brush ... ."

There are many trails around the Cedar Lake area and many areas of dense vegetation. The public needs more context! Burnham Woods (the wild, natural, hidden and secluded park), the Cedar Lake Regional Trail, the trails near Brownie Lake, etc., would meet the "walking on a trail" description.

I have two daughters who walk and bike around this area. I would like to pinpoint a certain area to be cautious around rather than label the entire Cedar Lake area a concern.

Ron Werner, St. Louis Park


STATE OVERSIGHT

What, no blame for Walz?

It is truly stunning that an editorial ("Tighten oversight to prevent fraud," June 18) about the theft of $250 million as a result of gross mismanagement by a state agency could fail to assign any responsibility whatsoever to Gov. Tim Walz, who appoints the commissioner and oversees the agency. It was his duty to review the audit controls when the federal government funded a new program to make certain that needy people were being served instead of providing luxury cars, homes, etc., for the dishonest managers. Where is his apology and where is the accountability? Why was no one fired?

Tom Berkelman, Plymouth

The writer is a retired DFL legislator.


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The Star Tribune Editorial Board is on record as stating that Minnesota state departments need to get the basics down.

As to the Minnesota Department of Education's inadequate oversight of Feeding Our Future, the Office of the Legislator Auditor (OLA) found that "time and time again, MDE missed opportunities to hold Feeding Our Future accountable."

MDE Commissioner Willie Jett was appointed by Gov. Tim Walz and has led the department since 2023. His predecessor was commissioner when the Feeding Our Future fraud was uncovered.

When Minnesota legislators recently gathered at a hearing to discuss the OLA report that said MDE failed to provide proper oversight and created an environment that allowed the $250 million Feeding Our Future fraud scheme to be perpetuated, Jett was asked how many MDE employees received disciplinary action for not providing oversight. He didn't provide a number. But he has stated, "To say we need to come here and place blame or highlight who misstepped, that's not right," "You're not gonna hear me place blame," and, "The responsibility for this flagrant fraud lies with the indicted and convicted fraudsters."

At the gathering of the Minnesota legislators, Sen. Ann Rest, DFL-New Hope, criticized MDE's failure to discover and report fraud, and described the situation: "But what we really do have is the buck is still running down the street, running down the street, and stopping nowhere, and that is unacceptable."

Truer words have never been spoken.

Gene Delaune, New Brighton


RETIREMENT

An inhumane situation for elders

The article "Parents should eye long-term retirement" (June 16) is an example of our nation in decline. The notion that, after a lifetime of devoting oneself to work, your reward is more work proves America doesn't care for its people, unlike other civilized countries. In Europe most nations help with child care, health care, postsecondary education, elder care and retirement income for their citizens. Here, you are on your own. Many Americans reach retirement age without any savings and are left to suffer in their golden years. The ethos of being free to make our own choices and not to be helped by a caring government has left too many people the only choice of working until they die.

David Weinberg, Minnetonka


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A recent article in the AARP newsletter showed Minnesota is one of only 10 states in the United States that taxes Social Security benefits. That number of states will soon be reduced to nine as West Virginia, one of the more economically challenged states in the country, recently passed a law eliminating the tax. If the members of the Minnesota Legislature really wanted to better the lives of their senior-citizen constituents they would follow West Virginia's example.

Jim Wandell, North Oaks