BANNING PLASTIC SACKS

Paper just makes sense

The Jan. 23 article on banning plastic sacks should have told readers that Whole Foods markets in the Minneapolis-St. Paul area will refund 10 cents for each bag a customer brings in and reuses. Supposing you double-bag your grocery bags for strength and longevity, Whole Foods will give you 20 cents per bag reused!

Cooper's Super Value in St. Paul and Kowalski's markets also offer similar bag refunds for reusing grocery bags.

Reusing grocery bags makes economic sense for the customer and grocer. Grocers pay approximately 12 to 20 cents per paper bag used. Grocery stores come out ahead every time a grocery bag is reused -- bag refund program or not.

Get in the habit of reusing your grocery bags now! It's simple and easy. Here's how:

• Empty your grocery bags upon arriving home.

• Double bag any single bags and fold bags flat (double-bagged bags last longer).

• Put the bags in your car where they will be ready and waiting to be reused on your next trip to the grocery store.

• When a grocery bag finally wears out, please remember to recycle it!

You will be amazed at how many times you can use a paper grocery bag!

RACHEL CHINITZ LEWINE, EAGAN

KIDNEY DONATION

One works just fine

While I do not disagree with the conclusion of the author of the Jan. 24 letter "Too many questions," a critical point of his argument must be corrected.

The author asserts that people with a single kidney "tend to have other health problems." This is false. While there are risks in the surgical process of harvesting a kidney, as there is with any surgery, there are no proven long-term health risks to having a single kidney. Studies dating back to World War II where soldiers have required removal of a kidney due to traumatic injury have shown their life expectancy to be statistically equal to those with two kidneys. In fact some people are born with only a single kidney and do not realize it for decades.

ANDY ROTEING, MINNEAPOLIS

Time off a hassle

I am writing regarding the Jan. 13 article on Dr. Arthur Matas' controversial proposal to compensate those willing to donate a kidney to those who need one, "Wanted: Kidney donors (will pay)."

I donated a kidney to a friend in the summer of 2007 at the University of Minnesota. Monetary compensation was not one of my reasons for donating. The decision was complicated by the financial implications of taking up to four weeks off work without pay after surgery to recover.

I understand that federal employees who donate kidneys are automatically allowed to take up to six weeks off with pay. Why can't something like this be done for all people with jobs who want to become living organ donors?

JOYCE HENNES, LINO LAKES

'GREEN' BAY PACKERS

How about the Dome?

When I read the Jan. 23 Letter of the Day, "Little green about the Green Bay Packers," my first thought was, "Geez, Viking fans really have to search to find a negative about the Packers."

Then I thought, "I wonder what the energy consumption is to heat and cool a dome for 365 days a year?"

JAY LARSEN, EDEN PRAIRIE

'PUNK STYLE'

Another name for trash

I read with dismay and incredulity "Punk Style," the celebration of destruction in the Jan. 23 Home+Garden section. The article exuded an endorsement of anarchic, willful demolition of values, laws and other people's property.

In effect, it bought into these late adolescents' claim to "freedom," and that, in order to express their "creativity," they have some right to flout the law and destroy anything in their path.

But the text and photos showed these "punk houses" to be garbage houses; their owners, slumlords. Between owners and "punk" renters, they kill the house and make a good stab at killing the neighborhood.

To call this living in irresponsible and lawless filth a "style" is unbelievable, and to celebrate it represents a stunning low point for Home+Garden.

CONSTANCE A. SULLIVAN, MINNEAPOLIS

ECONOMIC STIMULUS

Solution: More debt?

So let me get this straight: Americans take out mortgages they can't afford, run up credit card bills they can never repay, and the economy begins to sour. That makes sense. It seems to me we have to live with the situation we have created.

But instead, the government decides to borrow more money and hand everyone a check?

How does that make sense? I guess I just don't understand economics, but "don't spend money you don't have" has worked for me.

ANDY MAAS, EAGAN

'WORKINGEST STATE'

Keep it to yourself

As for Rep. Michele Bachmann's recent statement that she is proud Minnesota is "the workingest" state in the country and sentiment that it is somehow good "we have more people that are working longer hours, we have people that are working two jobs" (The Blog House, Jan. 24), she would do well to remember Abraham Lincoln's observation that it is "better to remain silent and be thought a fool, than to speak out and remove all doubt."

JAY HUMSEY, WOODBURY