Thank you, General Mills ("General Mills against gay marriage ban," June 15). Your courageous leadership in valuing and honoring diversity is outstanding. I moved to Minnesota from Kentucky 25 years ago. After graduation from a small Midwestern liberal arts college, I considered moving to either Boston, Seattle or Minneapolis. As a young gay man, Minneapolis won out for me. I have built a family and career here. My partner and I are professionals and have raised two children. We have been active in our church and community. I chose Minnesota for its tolerance and quality of life. General Mills -- you validate my choice to live here. And I know with hard work, courage and many conversations, Minnesota's voters will do the same in voting "No" on the marriage amendment on Nov. 6.
GERRY TYRRELL, MINNEAPOLIS
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After 35 years in the Twin Cities, we retired to the bluff country of Wabasha about three years ago. Within the last two years, the threat of frac sand mining has increased greatly. I read with great sadness the article "Sand mine spills cause first call for penalties" (June 12). There are citizen groups in towns throughout this region that are working very hard to present information about the aggressive frac sand industry that apparently "snuck into" Wisconsin. As more people get to know this industry as a neighbor, they discover that it is almost impossible to curb it. Industry and jobs are needed almost everywhere today, but this industrial neighbor offers few jobs compared to what it takes out of this region. The process is intrusive to unique geologic formations. And, as the article describes, the mistakes can be of great proportions and go unnoticed. We are not prepared to monitor this industry, and it will not adequately monitor itself.
VICKY JASKIERSKI, WABASHA
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Columnist Gail Rosenblum's June 7 column made me chuckle ("Revolutionary civil rights idea is reignited at Mac reunion"). In 1951, some 11 years before the Macalester/Knoxville college exchanges, Bucknell University in Lewisburg, Pa., and Hampton Institute, a college for African-Americans in Hampton, Va., arranged a student exchange. My Bucknellian classmate Mary Louise Hind and I studied for the first semester of our senior year at Hampton and two Hampton students did the same at Bucknell. At the time, I would not have called this experience "revolutionary" or "radical"; it was an extraordinary, exciting adventure, memories of which I treasure to this day, along with an enduring friendship with a Hampton student that has lasted for 60 years. I would agree, however, that over time little-known encounters like these exchanges have played their part in easing discrimination and promoting mutual understanding and trust.
LUCILE SWETLAND CARMAN, GOLDEN VALLEY
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Catherine Walker's Letter of the Day (June 9) states that Catholic bishops are not "flexing their ecclesiastical muscles" in an attempt at misdirection when protesting the Obama administration's policies regarding the insurance coverage their organizations are required to provide. She states that, "Once freedom of religion is denied to one group, the liberty of everyone is at stake." How then does she feel about their activities promoting the constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriage? They seek to deny both the sacrament and social rite of marriage to one group, despite the support of a number of other religions, Christian and otherwise.
KATHY GRANTHAM, COON RAPIDS
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Most Catholics were born into the religion and learned its teachings during their youth. It's disheartening that there are issues communicated by our pope and bishops that many Catholics don't accept. Splinter groups are openly arguing against leadership on contraception, gay marriage, life issues and women's leadership role in the church. Other members don't follow all the rules or even leave the church. As the church works to win the hearts and minds of its members, recognizing that we are all sinners, every member must sincerely act on what is best for them and those they love, living their faith while knowing they are not alone.
MICHAEL TILLEMANS, MINNEAPOLIS
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The "mutualist" philosophy defined by commentary writer Brad Hewitt is close to what our society was like before the age of greed invaded our land ("A newly christened view of the world and its ways," June 8). Many of our large corporations are controlled by wealthy executives and board members who own most of the stock. The insane compensation taken by many of our CEOs has driven up the cost of goods and services for the average American. This could include business, government and educational facilities. Jim Wallis has written a book, "Rediscovering Values: On Wall Street, Main Street, and Your Street," which should be read by all those in leadership positions in our society. One quote from the book: "We can have democracy in this country or we can have great wealth concentrated in the hands of a few, but we cannot have both."
NORM LEDEBOER, MEDICINE LAKE
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As my wife and I enjoyed sitting on the beach of Lake Harriet recently watching kids jumping, pushing and diving off the floating platform, we talked about how it would be easy for one of those 20-some kids to disappear without anyone noticing. I remember saying how it was hard to believe that the city would have a platform like that in place. On Monday I was shocked to learn that a 16-year-old girl drowned while trying to swim from a platform on Cedar Lake. Although the platforms may be fun and drownings are rare, maybe the city needs to rethink these platforms. One death is one too many.
PAT LIAN, APPLE VALLEY