It's not supposed to be the American Dream


I am not sure what the purpose was of the article about Lucy Mae Hollman ("Waiting her turn for suit's benefits," July 31). As far as I can see, Hollman and her family have been receiving benefits for 20 years. Not sure how that qualifies as "waiting for benefits."

Public housing wasn't designed for and isn't supposed to be the American Dream. The fact that Lucy hasn't achieved her "housing dream" isn't surprising. It isn't meant to be permanent housing: It's meant to be a stop-gap until one can find and fund their own housing.

The American Dream is about funding and owning one's own house where one can live on their own terms. If it takes a "jump start" in the form of a public grant or loan, that's fine as long as eventually the person is off the public dole.

As far as the article states, she has repeatedly violated her housing agreements with unauthorized long-term guests, pets, loud noise, poor housekeeping, not paying rent and other issues. With a very spotty employment record, she is now "retired" at age 53 with depression and disc problems, and she wants to go back to the housing projects where she started from.

Was the point of this article to make us feel sorry for her or to make us angry? As someone who works more than full time and isn't looking for a permanent handout, I know how I feel about it.


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It's worth finding out if you can help save a life


Reading the commentary, "If you could give a kidney, would you?" (July 27), provoked an immediate and positive response: Yes I would, because I have! In 1966, a younger brother was in desperate need of a kidney transplant. This was 45 years ago, when transplants were rare and success very uncertain.

The easiest decision I ever made was to offer Tom a kidney. On Jan. 4, 1967, Tom's transplant at the University of Minnesota Hospitals offered him a chance at life, led to his marriage to one of his U nurses, the opportunity to have children and grandchildren, and to continue to be a contributing member of society.

Today, kidneys transplanted from living donors give recipients a life expectancy of about 25 years. Tom's record of 45 years and counting helps move that "average" further every day. I'm grateful that I was a perfect match for Tom and that my simple gesture has enabled him to live productively for so many years.

Long-range studies at the U have demonstrated that kidney donors have health outcomes equal to or better than people with two kidneys. A possible reason is that donors are generally in better physical condition when donating than society as a whole. I have never experienced any negative health concerns since I was a donor. Not everyone is lucky enough to be a successful kidney donor, but from personal experience I would offer that one should find out if being a donor is a logical option.


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Did Founding Fathers foresee assault rifles?


The Second Amendment granting the right to own guns was written in 1790. The right granted in 1790 was to own a muzzle-loading, single-shot gun. In most cases, it would have been a rifle: Few people owned pistols. If they did, they were also single shot and muzzle loading.

There are those who insist on going back to "the original intent" of the Founding Fathers. I agree. If we do, then the only guns protected by the Second Amendment would be muzzle-loading, single-shot guns. The Founding Fathers sought to protect those guns, and those alone.

Would those wise men have voted to allow assault rifles, 100-round clips, teflon-coated bullets, and millions of pistols in the hands of just about anybody who wants one?


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Local church leader deserves more support


I am new to the metro area and have been attending New Salem Missionary Baptist Church in Minneapolis -- a huge delight after living in the cold wasteland of Duluth most of my life.

Minneapolis, and more specifically this church, has in the Rev. Jerry McAfee the same qualities exhibited by the late Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. McAfee not only can give profound sermons and sing, but he has the courage to speak out on issues that go against the powers that be.

One instance is his biblical stance against homosexuality. In so doing, he has incurred the wrath of some liberal Methodist organization that sent him a fork-tongued letter, essentially trying to punish and/or blackmail him for saying that same-sex marriage is wrong.

I think it's time we all woke up and admitted that he is right and gave him our support.


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Helping neighbors connect as friends


Hooray for block parties and the face-to-face friendliness they provide ("Rock around the block," July 31). It's refreshing in an age of techno Facebook familiarity. We once lived in a Minneapolis city neighborhood where support from that extended family helped us all navigate the vicissitudes of life.

Over the years, as children grew, we celebrated nearly 25 graduations in eight families at annual neighborhood picnics. Each senior received a silver plate engraved wih the caring words, "Congratulations from your Nokomis Neighborhood." Now retired and ensconced in suburbia, where garage doors face the street more than front porches, we have fond memories of those times.


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Because of incorrect information provided to the city of Minneapolis by a consultant, a July 17 editorial incorrectly stated the number of days Minneapolis Fire Department personnel, including firefighters, were out sick during a three-year period. The correct total figure for firefighters was a three-year average of 87 hours per year, or about 3.6 sick days a year for each firefighter.