Readers Write (Aug. 10): Police chief, St. Peter Hospital, the homeless, Heritage Square, same-sex marriage, toxic plants

  • Updated: August 10, 2013 - 5:47 AM
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MINNEAPOLIS POLICE

Give new police chief a chance to investigate

There has been a lot of discussion about unacceptable behavior of some Minneapolis police officers and the response of our new police chief, Janeé Harteau (“Racial incidents spur call for wider probe of police,” Aug. 8). I’ve had the pleasure of working with the chief over the years and know that she will examine these tough issues with candor and fairness. We must give her the chance to do her challenging job while supporting the many quality police officers in the city.

ED ANDERSON, Minneapolis

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HOMELESS RUNNERS

Story needed more perspective and context

A homeless running club (“Hitting their stride,” Aug. 6)? While I understand the multiple values of a running routine, my first thought is that readers might draw parallels with events such as the Special Olympics and view this story as one profiling how people live with an affliction. This article should have reminded readers that most homelessness can be ended.

CHIP HALBACH, St. Paul

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ST. PETER HOSPITAL

True picture of facility’s leadership not depicted

It appears that the Star Tribune is choosing to only find fault with the leadership at St. Peter Regional Treatment Center (“State dumps sex offender on street,” Aug. 6). While I understand that the facility has had numerous issues related to patient care and administrative oversight, the press has failed to recognize all the positive changes that are underway due to the leadership provided by Dr. Steven Pratt.

I had the fortunate experience to work side by side with Pratt in his previous position at Anoka Metro Regional Treatment Center and observed his professionalism and dedication to quality patient care. He has spearheaded initiatives to ensure trauma-informed practices and respectful/dignified patient interventions. The Minnesota Department of Human Services is fortunate to have such a compassionate, hardworking and highly skilled professional serving in this incredibly difficult role.

PAULA DeSANTO, St. Paul

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HERITAGE SQUARE

Don’t do away with a peaceful State Fair stop

Reworking Heritage Square into a State Fair transit terminal is such a bad idea (“Fair’s Heritage Square may really become thing of past,” Aug. 2). This charming area is one of the last places left where you can escape the mind-numbing crowds. It’s a wonderful place where you can almost always find a place to sit, usually listen to some great music, and have a last beer and food item before heading home. We need more spaces like it at the fair, not fewer.

DON NEMITZ, Circle Pines, Minn.

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SAME-SEX MARRIAGE

Issue is settled: Can’t we just move on now?

Jason Lewis quotes James Madison: “The powers delegated by the proposed Constitution to the federal government are few and defined … [they] will be exercised principally on external objects, as war, peace, negotiation, and foreign commerce” (“Court jilts democracy on marriage,” Aug. 10). Lewis complains that the court overreached itself in striking down a part of the Defense of Marriage Act. But if the federal government is to be restricted as defined by Madison, then how did it ever manage to enact DOMA?

CARA P. KNITTEL, Burnsville

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The legality of gay marriage was accepted by Minnesota lawmakers, the day of enactment arrived, and now Minnesota is home to a very happy gay community. We have been watching the events on every television news channel and reading multiple newspaper stories. The process unfolded with mixed opinions and controversy. It is now over. Can we please put it behind us and return to normalcy?

DON EISENSHENK, Minnetonka

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HUMAN TRAFFICKING

Everyone can do more to help stop problem

Once again, we read about human trafficking running rampant in our state (“Inhuman human trafficking in the news and on the screen,” Aug. 4). We like to think this problem doesn’t affect us here in the land of “Minnesota Nice,” but we are being “Minnesota Naïve.”

John Rash reports that the FBI has identified the Twin Cities among the top 13 places for child prostitution, and in outstate Minnesota, too, vulnerable girls and women are targeted, coerced, forced into lives of abuse and degradation.

It’s time we set aside our blinders and call up our strengths: volunteerism, problem-solving, ingenuity. Seek out and lend support to organizations in your area that provide shelter and assistance to runaways and other homeless people, and to victims of sexual and domestic assault.

Join the ranks of those who help exploited girls and women break free from prostitution, and help change the insidious ways that our culture supports the sex trade. Contact your legislators and civic leaders and urge effective law enforcement and judicial strategies to rescue children and adults from the stranglehold of pimps and “johns.”

Here in Minnesota, we like to champion clean air and water. Let’s clean up our streets and back roads, too. Let’s get known as “Minnesota Safe.”

LISA WERSAL, Vadnais Heights

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TOXIC PLANTS

Beware of day lilies

A word of caution about these popular flowers: Lilies are highly toxic to cats (“Day lilies having their day in the sun” Aug. 7). Just nibbling on a tiny bit of leaf or petal will cause their kidneys to shut down. The effects are fatal if not treated immediately. We lost our much beloved five-year-old cat last summer after cutting some lilies from our garden and putting them in a vase on our dining room table.

KRIS BUTLER, St. Paul

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