Without Lynn Rogers at work, Ely will suffer

On the Friday before the July 4th week, the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources quietly (cowardly?) did something it has been wanting to do for many years. It got even with Lynn Rogers ("DNR yanks research permit for popular Ely bear expert," June 29). Rogers has made the major mistakes of pointing out when DNR logging policies were wrong; of having his followers contact the DNR to suggest that collared, research bears should not be shot, and of doing bear research better than the DNR does. For that, he has been denied permits for doing further bear research.

The worst part of this, for me, is that this action will deny the Ely area of, in my estimation, more than a million dollars worth of tourism and advertising per year. Our county commissioner and I had asked DNR Commissioner Tom Landwehr and Fish and Wildlife Director Ed Boggess for information on the status of these permits for months, but we heard nothing until it was over. I've also asked the commissioner for a written rationale as to why something this detrimental to Ely was done. I'm not expecting a response — primarily because I don't think this decision can stand the light of day. When did state employees become unaccountable to state taxpayers and elected officials?

ROSS PETERSEN, mayor; Ely, Minn.

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I was disappointed to see that the DNR has discontinued Rogers' research halfway through his comparative study of human-habituated bears and wild bears in Minnesota. Granted, the first half of the study, dealing with the habituated bears, was considered the easier part. Perhaps the DNR would see fit to allow Rogers to train wild bears to accept close human observation, feeding, battery changes to radio collars, etc., in order to more quickly conclude the second half of the study.

Excuse me — I seem to have lost track of what the research was about, and so did Rogers.

Larry Sibik, White Bear Lake

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The DNR's Lou Cornicelli says that "bears are breaking into cabins, sticking their heads in cars and behaving in ways wild bears would not otherwise do" and later states that "bears are unpredictable." Huh?

I grew up in Fairbanks, Alaska, in the 1970s and '80s. We had a remote cabin on the Salcha River, and several friends had cabins throughout the state. Bears always broke into cabins, though the cabin owners stored goods properly and removed their trash. Bears breaking into cabins is not new or unique to Minnesota or attributable to Rogers.

As far as bears sticking their heads in cars, ignorant tourists have been driving through national parks (like Denali) for decades, gleefully tossing ham sandwiches out the window to bears or any other wildlife that approaches. This recklessness would seem vastly different from a qualified researcher feeding a bear for the purpose of attaching a radio collar.

Jane Goodall's chimpanzee research stirred controversy as well.



Debating the impact of loan rate increase

It is instructive to compare Congress' treatment of students to that of sugar processors. The interest on student loans is allowed to double to 6.8 percent ("Students fret over loan rate increases," July 1). Meanwhile, large sugar processors in 2012 took out $8.8 billion in loans at rates ranging from 1.125 percent to 1.25 percent, which can now be paid off in sugar that the U.S. Department of Agriculture will have to sell off at a loss.

Apparently cavities and obesity are a higher congressional priority than education.

JOHN SHERMAN, Moorhead, Minn.

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The sunsetting of subsidized student loan rates creates opportunities for higher education. First, the higher borrowing cost will encourage students to accurately assess their preparedness and career outlook for the degree they wish to pursue. Second, an engaged, motivated and driven student will enhance the college experience for all stakeholders. Third, the potential of lower enrollment will push the presidents of colleges and universities to reexamine the breadth of degree options and establish market-driven tuition prices. In the end, America wins, with less taxpayer money being spent, tuition in line with market drivers and students motivated to succeed while pursuing degrees in fields with demand for the knowledge learned.



Conference was serious; coverage of it was not

I was dismayed to read the frothy treatment that the annual conference of the Women's Business Enterprise National Council received in the June 28 paper. Rather than focusing on the real value that the more than 8 million women-owned businesses provide to the economy, you covered photo sessions and the free makeovers that Target (shamefully) offered. According to the National Women's Business Council, more than 16 percent of all U.S. jobs are created or maintained by women-owned businesses. Last week's conference, which my company participated in, allowed businesses to connect with multinational corporations and featured a number of intensive and practical sessions. I run a multimillion-dollar Certified Woman-Owned business, and many of the top companies in Minnesota hire me not because I look good in lipstick (though I do) but because I get them the best results.

NINA HALE, Minneapolis