To all of the Star Tribune readers who think the newspaper leans to the left: That cannot be further from the truth. There was no mention on Aug. 13 of “National Lefties Day,” in honor of all lefthanded people forced into a righthanded world. So, I challenge all of you righthanded miscreants to live in a lefty world for one month — your computer mouse, scissors, three-ring binders, spiral notebooks, a handheld can-opener, a pull cord on a lawn mower or chain saw (user beware!). Need help? We’ll just tell you to turn everything upside down. How does that make you feel? Can’t imagine you’ll prove me wrong, as you are a lazy bunch.

In all seriousness, give it a try for a month and see what life is like. Game on — should you have the curiosity to be on the other side!

Shelly Kremers, Minneapolis

MARROW TRANSPLANTS

Altruism, not money, motivates donors

I’m a bone-marrow transplant survivor, and will correct some points in Michael Rush’s Aug. 16 commentary (“Let’s put a price tag on marrow donations”). Bone marrow transplants use a renewable cell material, like blood. Many patients don’t have matches in their own family, so they rely on the Be The Match registry. The chance that a patient will find a match varies by ethnic type, but as a Caucasian, my odds were more than 97 percent. The chance of any one registrant being selected to donate is about 1 in 500.

My donor bore no costs and had full support for the time she missed for travel and appointments. She had to travel two hours by train and stay at a hotel — costs that were reimbursed, unlike what Rush implies. I am puzzled that Rush did not contact Be the Match’s donor support team or the donor center to better understand his opportunity to save a life. As my donor says, “I would do it again and again.” I’d be happy to introduce Rush to this amazing German college student so he can hear her perspective.

Lisa G. Korslund, Edina

• • •

It seems that Rush signed up to be a bone marrow donor in order to get some free pizza. I signed up because my youngest brother was diagnosed with leukemia and a marrow transplant was his only hope. We were all tested; none of us matched. We would have ransomed our souls to help Jeff, but thank the Lord for the Red Cross and the University of Minnesota hospitals: They found a nonrelated donor, a man who was caring and giving, one who wasn’t looking to be paid to help a person in need.

If we were to go forward with Rush’s suggestion, the rich could be offered the possibility of a cure while the poor were denied. Rush finishes with the comment that although he wants to move forward with the process, “the incentives just aren’t there.” Apparently not for him, but thankfully there are people in this world who are a bit more altruistic. My brother was only 29 when he died in 1986. I miss him everyday, and I’m waiting for that call that says, “We think you may be a match.”

Linda M. Felix, Minneapolis

 

PRIMARY ELECTION

A September date is better for participation

June? Seriously?

The Star Tribune Editorial Board draws exactly the wrong conclusion about low turnout at last Tuesday’s primary (“After poor turnout, move primary date,” Aug. 16).

After noting correctly that low turnout is damaging to democracy, and that Minnesotans are voting with their absence against August primaries, the Editorial Board wants to move primaries to June? Last time I checked, June was still summer vacation season, and it dumps primary campaigns into the active legislative session — so we could then mix low turnout with extra gridlock. Great!

And while I’m sure a 20-year-old report from politicos of both parties is powerful reading, I’m missing the logic of moving a low turnout primary closer to caucuses attended by a tiny fraction of the tiny fraction that voted last Tuesday.

A better solution ­— though federal law prohibits it — would be to move the primaries back to September. More people participate, and honestly, in an era of modern communications, if you can’t figure out a way to have active military vote over a two-month span, you aren’t trying. Two months are also more than enough time for a general campaign. I’m sure wonks and news media will be disappointed, but their happiness isn’t really why we do elections. Is it?

Patrick Pfundstein, St. Paul

 

HOMICIDE COVERAGE

Let me relay a story — the victim’s story

On Sept. 28, 2013, yet another murder occurred in Minneapolis. Last week, a jury convicted a young man for that murder (“Jury convicts star college athlete in gang-tied shooting,” Aug. 15). Both at the time of the murder and in reports of the conviction, news outlets told us about the outstanding football career of the murderer and gave only the name of the victim. I want to tell you the other side of the story — about the remarkable young man, Willie Smith, whose life was tragically cut short last September.

I was Willie’s seventh-grade math teacher, foster mother, and mentor. From the start, I saw how smart and capable he was. Despite his difficult background, I knew he could succeed. And he did. Willie graduated from Patrick Henry High School and was accepted to Morehouse College on his own merit, not because of athletic skills. After two years at Morehouse, Willie returned home to finish at Augsburg College. Just months before his death, he had fulfilled his dream of starting his own company.

While Willie worked to change the course of his life, he reached out to help others. He worked while in high school and didn’t hesitate to buy food for family members and shoes for his foster “brothers.” He took the risk of hiring troublesome friends to work at his moving company because he believed in giving them a second chance. At Willie’s funeral, people lined up to relay stories of how he had helped them.

Willie wasn’t a remarkable athlete. He was a remarkable young man who put bitterness aside and pushed forward to make his life a success story.

Monica Kocourek, Minneapolis

 

PRIORITIES

School bus fleet is green, but is it safe?

Isn’t it truly amazing how we can find ways to make school buses “environmentally” efficient (“Project Green Fleet passes the school bus test,” Aug. 15), but we’re unable to come up with the funding to increase the safety inside, where millions of children ride each school day? A grandparent without proper car seats can be arrested and fined, but pay no attention to that bus full of children with no safety restraints.

Roger Buck, Bloomington