Why so hard to demand red-light enforcement?

I am stunned, yet again, at the political obstacles put forth to halt the installation, upgrade and implementation of “photo cops” in Minnesota. There is indisputable data supporting their use in both reducing red-light-running violations and, thereby, traffic injuries and deaths.

In eight months in Minneapolis, more than 15,000 tickets were issued for running red lights. That statistic should be chilling to every driver. Each one of those could have resulted in a broadside collision, the collision that puts driver and passenger at their most vulnerable for serious injury or death.

No doubt police unions speak out against a technology that may result in staff reductions. We personally experienced that the red-light technology is accurate in both its timing and its photos. It makes the driver responsible. What a concept.

Vicki Roberts, Eden Prairie

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Give it time before drawing conclusions

It seems a bit premature to suspend the wolf hunting and trapping season, as proposed in a bill sponsored by state Sen. Chris Eaton, DFL-Brooklyn Center. The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources goal of a sustainable wolf population was carefully drawn to assure a strong wolf population and presence in our woods.

We have some of the world’s most-renowned wolf experts monitoring our wolves. Unlike the moose, a truly endangered state animal, the wolf is fairly prolific and likely able to sustain its population.

My understanding is that much is being learned this year about the condition of the species through study of the taken wolves. I think we should be patient and study the effects before rushing to eliminate the trapping and hunting season.

Pete Boelter, North Branch

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Dispute over park use hinges on definitions

For starters, I’m hardly an authority on the English language. However, even with my simple 12th-grade education, I noticed some troubling issues in the article regarding metro-area parks (“ ‘I can’t walk in the woods?’” Feb. 21).

Snowmobiles were described as “big” and “huge” machines which were “roaring,” “ripping” or “churning” through “delicate” habitat. Correct me if I’m wrong, but aren’t those type of words usually associated with opinion?

Yes, I know there is no bias in the media; that is merely conservative paranoia. Where I’m struggling here is that from an objective-minded approach, a reader might get the impression that this story is intended to convince him or her of something. What it is, I don’t know.

Shawn Rieschl, Proctor, Minn.

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What a sad day when citizens are not allowed to walk on nature trails. It was my understanding that our parks were set up to be places where people can enjoy the natural environment, something that is a bit difficult while roaring through on a fossil-fuel-consuming machine with a plastic bucket on your head.

It sounds as if there is also a lot of abuse of the trail system by some riders, which seems to be the case in a lot of places. Were I running the park system, my first priority would be to focus on the “natural” part of the parks.

The Three Rivers Park District needs to either find a way for pedestrians/skiers and snowmobiles to work together, or ban the use of motorized vehicles, which is the case with much of the public park space in our state. Were I a resident of the area, I would defy the walking prohibition and fight a citation tooth-and-nail. Let’s keep our natural areas “natural.”

Jay Lawton, Willmar, Minn.

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Anderson deserves a broad readership

I don’t know the comparable readership between general news and sports, but Dennis Anderson’s conservation columns deserve to be read by every reader. On Feb. 22, he wrote about a new report on wetlands loss in the Upper Midwest.

He notes that we are going the way of Iowa, losing wetlands to crops at an alarming rate. This is bad for sport hunters, conservationists, water users and farmers. Who is at fault?

Our farm bill encourages farmers who otherwise would protect vulnerable land to convert it to row crops. Amazingly high land prices force larger farms that are driven by money. Small and beginning farmers, and those who would raise other crops, are squeezed out.

Anderson noted that hunters can no longer rely only on their organizations to carry the fight. It is time for them and conservation organizations in general to bury their fights on other issues and unite to protect a disappearing resource.

Ray Schmitz, Rochester



Columnist failed to make her point

I disagreed with most everything in Bonnie Blodgett’s Feb. 17 column but the sentence that takes the cake is “we are at core a rogue nation, quite possibly the most irresponsible in world history” (“On pipeline, a betrayal may be delivered”). Does this include Hitler’s Germany, Russia’s Stalin or China’s Mao?


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The Keystone XL pipeline isn’t an environmentally sound project. Saying that the inevitable oil spills would be “readily cleanable” is wishful thinking. Pipelines leak. Underground oil spills can go undetected for long periods and contaminate drinking water. This is preventable. We should stop Keystone XL for going forward and focus on reducing our use of nonrenewable sources of energy.

BETTY TISEL, Minneapolis

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New report sounds promising next door

Congratulations to the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency and the state’s industries for realizing a substantial reduction in mercury emissions (“Minnesota mercury emissions cut in half,” Feb. 19).

As your eastward, downwind neighbor, Wisconsin is grateful for your efforts. It will behoove us to apply ourselves to following your example, reducing this highly problematic toxin and passing on the benefits to our own neighbors.