Lori Sturdevant's analysis of Al Franken's campaign may be true for many, but not for us ("Franken's got their interest, is seeking their loyalty," Feb. 3).

We weren't Saturday Night Live fans (sorry, Al), but we first got to know Franken when he spoke out about his friend, Sen. Paul Wellstone, after the tragic accident.

We have attended many rallies and house parties over the last few years where Franken was there to speak for other candidates. Each time we heard him speak, we wanted Franken to run for office. We wanted his compassion and his intelligence representing us in Washington.

Franken is the last to leave an event because he cares that deeply. We know because he has personally reached out to us in a way no other candidate ever has in all the years we have been supporting DFL candidates. Franni is almost always at his side. It reminds us of Sheila Wellstone who worked alongside Paul in Washington. We always said we got "two for one" with the Wellstones. It will be the same with the Frankens.

We call him a progressive, a visionary, but most of all we want to call him our senator.

RANDI REITAN, EDEN PRAIRIE

Vulnerable in Minneapolis need protection

I want to thank Nick Coleman for the Feb. 3 column that he did on my son's assault/robbery and the lack of police follow-up. The brusqueness of the Minneapolis Police Department representatives makes me realize that he really needed to be a "body in a trunk" to warrant attention from them in this crime.

My son is especially vulnerable due to his autism and needs the protection and safety of a community that values its vulnerable citizens. They are the ones who suffer the most and need to know there are people to protect them.

JULIA ANDERSON, ROCKFORD, ILL.

Reason to be armed

Regarding Nick Coleman's Feb. 3 article "Indifference of police adds to heartache of robbery": It seems to me that living in Minneapolis is dangerous, and with the lack of civility and understaffed police force, maybe the best way to be safe is to carry a weapon and use it to protect your safety.

DALE NELSON, INVER GROVE HEIGHTS

The lieutenant was being honest

In his Feb. 3 column about the 27-year-old autistic man horribly beaten and robbed in the Lowry Hill neighborhood, Nick Coleman illustrates why liberalism continues to be a failed promise. Apparently Coleman feels it is better the Police Department (government) lie to the family and have them believe the police would be able to help them by bringing the perpetrator to justice.

The lieutenant in charge of the robbery division, who Coleman made sure he named, was being quite honest with the family when he suggested the case may likely go unsolved. Police don't have evidence, witnesses or much information to go on. He knows that without it, cases are usually unsolvable no matter how hard they are worked. He spoke truthfully to the family and didn't want to raise hopes and expectations beyond reality.

Evidently Coleman would rather have the police lie about their hopes of solution so family members could feel better. Many of us would actually prefer truth, instead of having smoke blown hither and yon. Unfortunately, government isn't always able to fix everything and fulfill the liberal promise to ultimately make life fair.

KIRBY BECK, COON RAPIDS; RETIRED POLICE OFFICER

Old Scout is right about teaching of reading

I could not believe I was reading a Garrison Keillor column that I agreed with ("And the righteous, it turns out, shall muck up the earth," Feb. 3). I rip the Old Scout all the time. I still feel reading, writing and arithmetic should be the main focus of education, with the emphasis on reading. If you can read you can learn.

Let's put politics aside and make sure all kids have the opportunity to learn to read, regardless of who gets credit for it. Good article, Garrison.

BOB ANDERSON, WOODBURY

Republican or Democratic reading programs? No such thing

Garrison Keillor needs to do his homework before he writes about the teaching of reading. Reading teachers teach students using a balanced approach.

They teach readers to use phonics, sentence structure and meaning cues. They teach guided reading, independent reading, shared reading and use read-alouds. They teach students to write, which impacts their abilities to read. The teaching of reading is a complex process. No one expects a child to learn to read because he/she has been read to. Keillor obviously knows nothing about reading or the teaching of reading. The angels in the classroom are the teachers who do their best, every day, to help children learn to read. They are not evil liberals, and they do not adhere to dogma. There is no such thing as Republican or Democratic reading programs.

Has Keillor ever thought about factors that affect student reading levels? Many students do not speak English. It is extremely difficult to teach children to read English if they don't speak English. Has Keillor considered the fact that many children move from school to school throughout the school year or that they don't show up every day? Did the thought that some children have learning disabilities or speech and language difficulties ever cross Keillor's mind? How about the children with extreme attention difficulties? How does a teacher teach a child to read when that child cannot sit in a chair and focus on the text? Does Keillor know anything about class sizes or the amount of reading materials in classrooms? Despite all of these situations, and criticisms by uninformed people like Keillor, teachers show up every day.

Keillor writes fiction, which was obvious in his vile column. If Keillor wants to write about the teaching of reading, he should enroll in a college program, or at least spend a day in a classroom.

LINDA WAGNER, APPLE VALLEY; SECOND-GRADE TEACHER

Unwelcome changes in the Star Tribune

Last Sunday's article on the Erdrich sisters ("The Three Graces," Feb. 3) alone was worth the price of the newspaper, so you have my sincere thanks. But it certainly is hard to understand where the Star Tribune thinks it's going with its new emphasis on local over national and international news.

The meager information contained in your regional sections is mostly about sports, and relegates its subjects to less honor than if they were featured in the main sports section. The same goes for the few letters to the editor that are separated out from the editorial page-and the calendar listings and occasional news item of truly regional interest are certainly not weighty enough to command a section of their own

Then, to add to the puzzle, I miss your point entirely as you go on to deprive us of the TV guide that had contained local listings not included in similar publications.

SHAWN GILBERT, BLOOMINGTON