Readers Write: (July 7): Land mines, rail to Duluth, National Sports Center, Jim Kaat, the St. Cloud airport option, running barefoot

  • Updated: July 3, 2014 - 6:25 PM

This area was a hot spot for both manufacturing of the weapons and protests against them.


A group of protesters in front of the Alliant Tech plant in Hopkin.

Photo: BRIAN PETERSON • Star Tribune file 1996,

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Thank you for the June 28 article on the tiny steps the Obama administration is taking to “reduce and eventually eliminate its stockpile of antipersonnel land mines.” And thanks for citing Stephen Goose and disarmament groups critical of the U.S. position of “being able to use” them. The article had some important omissions, however. As a Twin Cities newspaper, the Star Tribune might have noted that even as the 1997 Nobel Peace Prize was awarded to the Campaign to Ban Landmines, the world’s largest manufacturer of mines was here in river city — Alliant Techsystems. The Minnesota campaign was “the most active group” of the mine-ban effort, according to Marv Davidov (1931-2012); 79 of its members were then (in October 1997) on trial for blocking the doors at Alliant. We won an acquittal after a four-day trial.

Marv was a leader in decadeslong campaigns against indiscriminate weapons, from cluster bombs of Vietnam-era days at Honeywell to depleted uranium weapons at Alliant (a spinoff of Honeywell, an apparently forgotten fact). I salute him and allies for their tireless and dedicated service to humanity.

Carol Masters, Minneapolis


The writer is co-author of “You Can’t Do That: Marv Davidov, Non-Violent Revolutionary.”


We needn’t pull out all the stops for benefits

Years ago, the Star Tribune printed a letter that I wrote about politicians’ obsession with high-speed rail instead of just upgrading the infrastructure we have and making incremental improvements. I pointed out the very successful rail-bus networks in California and Illinois as examples. I support high-speed rail and passenger rail generally. Our current system, especially out of the Northeast and a few other corridors, is a disgrace, thanks to disinterested presidents and incompetent Congresses. But I have the same reaction to the billion-dollar plan for high-speed rail to Duluth (“Plans for rail line to Duluth chugging along,” June 30) as to high-speed rail to Chicago, the point of my earlier letter.

With current track, with signaling improved for 79 miles per hour and improvements to speed trains in and out of the Twin Cities and the Twin Ports, we could have three or four trains a day in about three hours with a significantly smaller investment. It’s not glamorous. But people would ride.

Louis Hoffman, Minneapolis



Include wheelchair sports in expansion

I was excited to learn about the National Sports Center and its new state bond funds. (“Blooming in Blaine,” June 29). In the article, Kara Radeke, senior director of soccer and field sport programs, comments that the organization is “always looking to what is the next big thing.” I’d like to suggest that the next big thing is for the state-owned facility to embrace athletes with disabilities by ensuring that a portion of the newly awarded bond funds is used on wheelchair sports.

Minnesota is home to several teams that offer athletes with physical disabilities competitive amateur sports experiences — track and field, wheelchair basketball, wheelchair rugby, etc. Minnesota athletes compete on U.S. paralympic teams, yet we sadly lack a facility at which local teams can host national tournaments or paralympic qualifying events. Currently, local wheelchair teams have few venues that offer the right combination of accessibility, adequate number of playing courts, and convenient accommodations for family and friends. City parks and schools gamely step in to fill the void, but these athletes deserve the chance to proudly host national tournaments in state-of-the-art facilities.

I hope that the National Sports Center will address the unmet needs of athletes with disabilities as it moves forward with new construction. It is an investment well worth making. If you build it, they will come.

Jennifer Nelson, Minneapolis


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