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Readers Write: (March 16): MNsure, bowling alleys, fragrances, investor relations, downtown parking, parenthood

  • March 14, 2014 - 5:57 PM

MNSURE

Give it another chance? I’ve given it several.

I’d love to sign up for health insurance by the March 31 deadline (“MNsure rebounds from its shaky start,” editorial, March 9). I’ve been trying since September. I went on the website, completed information, was told I might qualify for assistance, and was assigned a case number. And told to wait. So I waited. And waited. And waited. In January, I finally heard from Hennepin County Human Services. I sent income verification information and waited some more.

I am precluded from just going on the MNsure website and buying insurance because I have been assigned a case number; the system knows who I am and will not allow me to buy insurance until everything about my case is verified.

So now it appears I will be fined. And I cannot get insurance until next November. I am sure there are many more like me, stuck in the system. I’d like to find out the answer!

Carrie Egan, Richfield

 

BOWLING ALLEYS

They’ll thrive if they seek out ‘social capital’

The March 9 article on bowling (“In the gutter”) missed two points about why Town Hall Lanes is faring better than other alleys. First, the community it advertises to is one with social capital. In the book “End of Work,” Jeremy Rifkin argued that social capital is what is created when strangers come together and form a community. The more social capital people have, the more connected they are with the community. An example from the book was the decline of bowling leagues, an indication in a decline in social capital.

Town Hall branded itself to a community with a lot of social capital — the fans of microbrew beer. In doing so, it found a reliable source of revenue.

Second, beyond cheap, greasy pizza and cheap beer, Town Hall offers a quality restaurant with large windows, creating a light-filled space. The decor and food appeal to bowlers and nonbowlers alike.

For bowling to remain profitable, it will have to rebrand itself for the parts of the community with the most social capital. These are the same people in the community who enjoy making new friends and being around large groups of people.

T.R. Paulson, St. Paul

 

FRAGRANCES

Not all of us can take them — that’s the story

The article about the fragrance company Thymes, featured in the March 9 Business section (“The birth of a scent”), pushed some buttons for me. I can understand that people in the industry have a passion for creativity in the development of new scents. However, many of us are sensitive to scents and would prefer that people not use them and that we not be exposed to scented products such as perfumes, lotions and soaps in public places.

I would appreciate an article focused on the opposite perspective — those who feel accosted by scented products used by others when in an elevator, a restaurant, a meeting, a movie theater and elsewhere. When I enter a store where there is a fragrance counter, I either need to hold my breath and quickly “run the gantlet” of what to me is a toxic area or find a detour around it.

An article focused on whether these scents are healthy for us to breathe would be appreciated. Additionally, an exposé on other products such as room fresheners, which are filled with chemicals that can be harmful, would be a great service to readers.

Joann Parker, Minneapolis

 

INVESTING

Don’t misinterpret shareholder intention

As a stockholder, I enjoy some income as a reward for the risk I assumed by investing. I am pleased to think my money helped expand the payroll, upgrade the facilities, and improve the product or service. But I am distressed when corporations sink a great deal of money into political campaigns. Typically, they contribute to both parties as insurance of access to policymakers. They want lower taxes and fewer regulations, and argue that such policies advance the interests of stockholders.

They have misinterpreted my interests. Neither employees nor investors are asked to decide whether or to whom such contributions are made. That is the job of the board of directors. Since the Supreme Court ruled that money is speech, no limits apply to the volume of that “speech.” My individual voice does not come close to matching the volume of these major players. Big money grossly distorts our political process, and it adds insult to injury when it happens in my name.

Janet Mitchell, Northfield

 

DOWNTOWN MINNEAPOLIS

With parking fees, unfriendly to visitors

After just more than three hours at a downtown Minneapolis parking ramp (517 Marquette), I was charged $26. When I inquired, I was told there was no mistake. Apparently with the growing numbers of condos and apartments, supply and demand has pushed the fees much higher. I work downtown and have clients visiting regularly, and this sort of excessive fee will undoubtedly reduce the amount of visitors. Probably not the right direction, and obviously a need for more parking ramps.

Roger Norris, Eagan

 

PARENTHOOD

Wait — which one did the real work?

I had to laugh at the item in “know+go” section of the March 9 Travel section: “National Zoo welcomes new cubs.” A mother lion worked seven hours to deliver four cubs, but the accompanying photo was of the father, along with a caption bragging that it was his fifth litter. The mother was probably too tired and busy to pose for pictures. It’s true what they say: “The hen lays the eggs, but it’s the rooster who does the crowing!”

Judie Mather, St. Louis Park

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