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The question is unsettling, to say the least (“Lack of end-of-life planning drives up health care costs” Aug. 30). But thanks to ongoing advances in medical science, more and more of us are facing that question. Every day, it seems, medical science discovers more ways to keep us “alive,” but the meaning of “alive” keeps changing. I fully expect my 7-year-old grandson to have the potential to live virtually forever, depending on how “living” is defined. He will have to make a conscious, deliberate decision about when to allow his life to end.
This is not an easy decision to make. It is even more challenging to make the decision for another person — a loved parent or spouse, for example. We owe it to those we love to wrestle with this issue before the choice falls upon them, and health care providers can help. These are not “death panels.” The decision remains with us. But we need the information, and the courage, to make it.
JEFF MOSES, Minneapolis
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Another way you can pay to be a victim
Maybe the publication of Paul Olson’s commentary (“St. Paul is a rotten place to be the victim of car theft,” Aug. 28) helped improve things.
In July, I learned that if a vandal slashes your tires while you’re parked in St. Paul, you must pay a $481 fine. This did not involve the expense of towing to an impound lot, as happened with Olson’s stolen car; I had a spare tire and was able to drive away within hours after the crime.
A hearing officer said that he could let me off with less than a $200 fine but that if I took the matter to court I could pay far more than the $481 quoted initially. I scheduled a court appearance in October.
Two days after Olson’s opinion appeared in the Star Tribune, I was notified by phone that the charge against me had been dropped.
MICHAEL HARDY, Minneapolis
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Remember hardships of Native Americans
The commemoration last week of the March on Washington and Martin Luther King’s 1963 speech rightly brought attention to the racial inequalities that continue to remain 50 years later. However, virtually no mention was made of Native Americans.
The poverty level on many reservations is staggering. Schools, health care clinics and other services are shamefully underfunded. Yet, sequestration will cause cuts and even greater hardship for many who are barely getting by now.
King spoke of the shameful hardship suffered by African-Americans. It is time to address the shameful conditions of Native Americans as well.
PRISCILLA ELWELL, Minneapolis
The Opinion section is produced by the Editorial Department to foster discussion about key issues. The Editorial Board represents the institutional voice of the Star Tribune and operates independently of the newsroom.