Readers Write (Aug. 7): Climate change, mental health, Southwest LRT, Heritage Square

  • Updated: August 6, 2013 - 6:47 PM
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CLIMATE CHANGE

State leads the way on renewable energy

Where are our monarch butterflies? The droughts, alternating with heavy rains and pesticide use, have destroyed a lot of their habitat.

In response to the Aug. 6 commentary, “We’re free-market Republicans, but action on climate is urgent,” yes, climate change is real. We can all see it. To expect this Congress to act is hopeless, but luckily with the leadership of former State Sen. Ellen Anderson and Gov. Mark Dayton, Minnesota is on its way to national leadership in renewable energy.

Most important, we can all make a difference by reducing our carbon output by driving less, turning off lights and electronics when not in use, and reducing the chemicals we use. Our monarchs and children are depending on us.

REBECCA WARDELL GAERTNER, Minneapolis

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The Aug. 2 story, “Minnesota Power investing in additional wind power,” provided an excellent example of what many already know: Developing wind power saves consumers money.

That’s consistent with analysis by the U.S. Energy Information Administration that found newly built wind generation is now cost-competitive with all forms of electricity production. Also, by displacing the most expensive, least efficient source of electricity on the utility grid — usually an older fossil-fueled power plant — added wind power directly reduces harmful air emissions.

Finally, by bringing economic development and added tax base to rural communities, American wind power is a significant economic growth opportunity. Already generating 14.3 percent of its electricity from wind power — and with excellent wind resources and a smart state renewable energy policy — Minnesota is quickly becoming a national leader in wind development.

ELIZABETH SALERNO, director of industry data and analysis, American Wind Energy Association

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TREATMENT FOR KIDS

Schools need help with mental health programs

Special education and mental health treatment are two very different disciplines. Mental illness is a health condition that may or may not lead to a child doing poorly in school. If a parent sees signs of mental illness, they should contact their health care provider, who can put them in contact with the proper psychiatric care and clinical services.

We believe in mental health “supports” in the schools, as this enables administration and staff to spot the signs of mental illness in our youth.

As a community-based, open-access program that is independent of other systems, we have created a unique program that integrates three hours of clinical services intermixed with three hours of education services during the child’s day.

We wanted to ensure that the June 21 story (“Costly lessons: The price of special education in Minnesota”) didn’t lead readers to believe that day treatment programs are entirely funded by school districts. Day treatment is a health care-led therapy program. Health insurance pays for the clinical side; typically the school district pays for the child’s education services.

We need more community-based programs so that Minnesota can get back to its leadership roots of serving its community’s needs — including this growing need among our state’s youth.

TRACI HACKMANN

The writer is chief executive officer of Lifespan of Minnesota.

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SOUTHWEST LRT

Don’t feel sorry for backer of flawed plan

Hennepin County Commissioner Gail Dorfman is deeply discouraged about the Southwest light-rail project (“Rail fight poses risk for future of project,” Aug. 5)? Then why did she invest so much time and taxpayer money assuming there would be a freight rail reroute through St. Louis Park that was obviously unsafe and unworkable from an engineering perspective? Anyone who has been paying attention has known years of discouragement as this folly has unfolded. Taxpayers, commuters and residents of the Kenilworth corridor and of St. Louis Park — not Dorfman — deserve sympathy.

JOSEPH LaPray, St. Louis Park

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HERITAGE SQUARE

State Fair will be losing family-friendly venue

It is very apparent the State Fair board is more interested in money than in serving the state’s varied constituents (“Fair’s Heritage Square may really become thing of past,” Aug. 2).

Closing Heritage Square will be a severe blow to those who gravitated to the stage to experience family oriented entertainment, see various amateur contests, and enjoy an out-of-the-way place to sit out of the sun while drinking a cold beverage.

The existing transit center could be modernized without taking away the heart of the fair. Maybe Machinery Hill, the Amusement Center or International Square should be eliminated instead. Oh yeah, that would not serve the interests of fairgoers. Revenue has nothing to do with the decision.

John Walker, Otsego, Minn.

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