So because state Rep. Paul Torkelson and state Sen. Scott Newman say it is a waste of taxpayer dollars, an environmental study exploring the viability of high-speed passenger rail service has been shut down (“GOP legislators halt study of high-speed rail,” Jan. 9).

Perhaps money should be spent to send the two gentlemen to parts of Asia and Europe, where they could see world-class travel in action. In China, where I have traveled a dozen times, the growth of high-speed rail has been explosive and countrywide. China’s farsighted approach to rail travel, coupled with its relentless approach toward 100 percent electric and hybrid vehicles, demonstrates a deliberate concern for both its populace and the environment.

With more than 24 nonstop daily flights between the Twin Cities and Chicago, plus Greyhound and Megabus, there is no question the demand is there for other options. To shut down even a study of high-speed rail is ridiculous and shortsighted.

As for our “I will build a great wall” president, Donald Trump would be better-served by promoting a grand initiative of countrywide high-speed rail. This is the legacy-maker that he should embrace. Much like President Dwight Eisenhower’s initiative to build interstate highways, high-speed rail would be a phenomenal job creator while promoting environmental benefits. A wall is wasteful and superfluous. High-speed rail should be promoted for the benefit of everyone.

Steve Sitkoff, Minneapolis

• • •

What part of “we don’t want it” doesn’t state Sen. Scott Dibble, DFL-Minneapolis, understand? Based on his response in the Jan. 9 article, he must not believe Wisconsin officials are serious when they say that. Thankfully, there are responsible legislators who recognize a bad idea and are willing to terminate it. It appears that Democrats have no acumen for critical judgment in this area. Granted, mass transit is their panacea, with no regard to economic viability. Exhibit A is the Southwest light-rail proposal, now projected to easily eclipse $2 billion. The action by Torkelson and Newman is an encouraging development, as federal transit dollars should be prioritized for legitimate projects. They must stop comprising a slush fund to prove Democrats’ disdain for the motor vehicle.

Joe Polunc, Cologne


What’s ‘good’ for adults might actually be good for kids

Minnesota-based Life Time Fitness recently decided, in the interest of the “health” of its customers, to ban cable news in all of its clubs across the country (“Life Time Fitness tunes out news channels for workouts,” Jan. 5, with responses in Readers Write, Jan. 6, 8 and 10). Now if only Life Time cared as much about its customers’ children’s health.

I’ve heard from colleagues and friends alike that Life Time’s Kids Academy is often a room where a large screen does most of the babysitting, playing movies and TV shows, not even movement/activity-based programs. This despite ample evidence that excessive screen time is unhealthy for our children’s development. The updated American Academy of Pediatrics screen-use guidelines in 2016 cite evidence that increased screen time leads to decreased unstructured and creative play, interferes with sleep, increases the risk of obesity, is an indicator of poor executive functioning/performance in school, and can lead to language and speech delay. However, when one colleague of mine asked Life Time’s corporate office to take TVs out of her club’s Kids Academy, she was told that those decisions are made on a club-by-club basis.

Yet another alarming sign of the times: We feel compelled to protect adults from what should be a normal part of adulting, engaging in civil discourse, yet don’t want to be bothered to protect our children from a known risk to health and development. On the bright side, at least our children are protected from cable news.

Dr. Nathan Chomilo, Minneapolis

The writer is a pediatrician and internist.

• • •

Life Time’s Highland Park facility now displays A&E and the Discovery Channel, where previously the infamously dangerous news channels were shown. So in place of the biased, anxiety-provoking commentaries, we can see drug-snorting and -injecting by overdosing participants. Then, when this concludes, we are provided “Fulton County Jail,” with its sometimes scantily dressed inmates. Bounty hunters and their shenanigans also sometimes share the airwaves. I sometimes don’t feel I am old enough to watch, even though I am a U.S. Air Force veteran medic from the Vietnam War who saw some very horrific sights. Life Time can do better than this, especially if it is a family-centered organization, as it purports itself to be.

John Ewen, St. Paul


Inspiring speech. And yet, a new day is still ‘on the horizon’?

I am about to do something really scary. I am about to criticize Oprah Winfrey’s speech on Sunday at the Golden Globes (“Why that Golden Globes speech was so effective,” Jan. 10).

Let me first say that I listened to every word. I had tears in my eyes. Then I had tears running down my cheeks. It was powerful and empowering, and I knew that every girl and woman listening would feel that finally it was over. They could freely speak up against men who for generations had used their power to abuse women sexually. They could freely speak up about sexually inappropriate behavior in every area of life. There would be no more curtains for guilty men to hide behind while calling “foul” when accused. It was over. Their time was up. It was done … but wait … then Oprah says, “... a new day is on the horizon. And when that new day finally dawns … .” WHAT? Horizon? My tears dried. WHAT? If ever not now, then when, Oprah? When will the day finally dawn? A lot of pretty words that in the end mean less.

Tina Landeen, Edina


Your product will be shipped with extra cardboard and air

I am sure somebody has written in about a problem I see in the packing process that most of the bigger online retailers. Amazon, maybe No. 1 in shipping, sometimes sends a 5-by-5-inch product in a 2-by-2-foot box. The waste from oversizing shipping boxes is a problem that can be fixed. I guess that it might slow things down, but it shouldn’t. I don’t know what cardboard is made from — I hope it’s not trees.

Mike Wisneski, Edina


Just for the record, many of us have probably never done this

I had to smile when reading the Star Tribune article (reprinted in my local paper) regarding the dangers of eating snow (Variety, Jan. 4). I ate a lot of snow as a child, and have yet to hear of any snow-eating deaths. If anyone had eaten anything but white snow, then had become ill and died a dreadful death, we would have called that “thinning of the herd.”

As to the recommendation for making snow cream, I did some quick nutritional research of the ingredients, and a cup of that would contain 370 calories. A cup of Coke has 128 calories. You must have a lot of very heavy, hyper people up there in Minneapolis if snow cream is your go-to treat. LOL.

Tim Fultz, Fort Wayne, Ind.