Legislator does, in fact, see a Vikings parallel


I want to assure a Feb. 7 letter writer that I oppose diverting precious tax dollars for a Vikings stadium every bit as strongly as I am appalled at the University of Minnesota choosing to pay the exorbitant salary to athletics director Joel Maturi.

Education for students of all ages should come first. Unfortunately, with the current choices being made, early childhood is still a future promise; we owe K-12 schools billions, and students pursuing higher-education opportunities graduate laden with debt.

STATE REP. Mindy Greiling, DFL-Roseville

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Much ink has been spilled about Maturi's impending retirement. Most of it centers around his legacy as viewed through the narrow prism of what the public deems as athletic success: contracts, budgets, buyouts, bowl games, AP rankings, "prestige".

(As if the nuances of shepherding a 25-sport Division I program can really be boiled down to the bottom line or a neat list of rankings.)

Yet the voices of student-athletes who competed under his tenure are conspicuously absent. And at the end of the day, shouldn't the student-athletes themselves, the ones for which Maturi's decisions have perhaps the greatest impact, be the ones to judge his performance?

If we're using that metric, one would be hard-pressed to find a negative review. As a student-athlete at the U from 2006 to 2011, I speak for more than just myself when I say that student-athletes had a deep admiration for the work ethic and values that he brought to bear upon the athletics department.

Of course, critics will say that given Maturi's support of nonrevenue sports (I ran track and field), my admiration is biased. But they're missing the bigger point.

The very fact that so many student-athletes in nonrevenue sports left Minnesota with a positive and meaningful athletic experience and, more important, their degree speaks volumes about his ability to lead with perspective and integrity.

Those who can't wrap their minds around that idea don't understand the true purpose of collegiate sports and shouldn't be spilling ink on the subject in the first place.


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Some are already revising history


In his recent column ("A media-driven controversy for Komen foundation," Feb. 7), Ross Douthat tries to blame the media for the situation the Susan G. Komen foundation found itself in last week. I remember it much differently.

On Twitter and Facebook, the public's response was immediate and furious. That's where I, and most of my friends, learned about the controversy.

Like a lot of news developments these days, it was only after the news spread like wildfire over social media -- and the public's anger was already clear -- that the media reported it.

Is it really a surprise that people were upset about this? The Komen foundation's main goal should be reaching as many people as possible to detect and treat breast cancer early, when a woman has the best chance of survival.

This is true of any organization dedicated to preventing, detecting and treating any type of cancer. That's why the public was irate when Komen pulled funding from an organization that serves many women who otherwise might not get regular breast exams.

The foundation made a bad decision, and now it is suffering the consequences. The idea that the media are at fault for this controversy is absurd.


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Writer's point of view was distinctly local


Thank you to a Feb. 4 letter writer for a very suburban point of view about trapping. But before we go and destroy an entire fur industry (no matter how large or small; shouldn't market forces determine that anyway?) perhaps a rural perspective should also be allowed.

Every spring after melt (yes, we have snow) many roads are damaged by beavers damning the culverts.

Not only does it prevent owners and emergency personnel from reaching their homes and businesses, but many cabin owners and vacationers have experienced the hassles and price of washed-out roads.

Beavers cost the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources -- us taxpayers, that is -- quite a chunk of change every year. The state has to hire trappers to eliminate the source of the problem before spending even more money actually repairing the road.

Just thought a small, positive perspective about trapping should be presented, too.


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Good thing freedom isn't in the balance


Every day in the Star Tribune, I see another new player in the stadium issue with a new financing proposal for a new location, holding another hearing or news conference. I also hear from all the already engaged players their ongoing opinions or maybe some new ones.

The thought occurs to me that if all the current players in the stadium game had been involved in planning the D-Day invasion, it wouldn't have taken place yet.