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Continued: Readers Write: (Aug. 22): Guns, MNSure, mental health, polar exploration

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  • Last update: August 21, 2013 - 6:31 PM

My point is that you can fall off a tax credit cliff if you exceed the income cutoff. Tax credits should have a phaseout range to prevent this potential shock. Tax planning is now more important than ever. I’m UNsure about MNsure.


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Let’s stop using mental health as a metaphor

When Minnesota personalities as popular as Paul Douglas refer to the weather as “manic” and Mother Nature “needing to be medicated,” “flailing from one crazy extreme to the next,” the stigma attached to mental illness becomes further entrenched.

Douglas would never refer to Mother Nature as a diabetic needing shot of insulin, or as a cancer patient who needs another round of chemotherapy. Somehow, though, it is acceptable for the popular media to continue to use mental illness — a biological/chemical brain disease — as a metaphor for a describing a range of societal ills, and now, even the weather.

It is vital that media personalities and institutions become sensitive to how they can help erase the stigma associated with mental illness, not perpetuate it.


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A review of local polar achievements

I read with interest the Aug. 20 obituary of Dr. Arthur Aufderheide (“Doctor studied ancient cultures”), in particular the brief statement that he “was part of a North Pole expedition in 1968.” Indeed he was, although he did not actually get to the pole.

Another famous adventurer in Minnesota, Ralph Plaisted, was the person behind the expedition after he and Aufderheide discussed the opportunity in a bar in Duluth. Plaisted took it from there, and reached the pole on motorized toboggans in 1968, on his second try, along with three others — Gerald Pitzl, Jean-Luc Bombardier and Walt Pedersen.

Aufderheide and Don Powellek, an electronics engineer, were part of the expedition, but were airlifted from the ice back to the expedition base on Ellesmere Island to manage equipment. Plaisted plus his three team members were confirmed to have reached the pole by an overflying U.S. Air Force aircraft that radioed to say that “every direction from where you are is south.”

Fellow Minnesotans Walt Steger and Ann Bancroft have the distinction of reaching not only the North Pole but also the South Pole.

Plaisted (1927-2008), an insurance agent from St. Paul, was first to set foot on the North Pole, having reached it over the surface. Fans of Robert Peary, who claimed to be first in 1909, and Frederick Cook, who claimed to have reached the pole in 1908, might dispute this, but studies of Peary’s and Cook’s records have shown irregularities.


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