The divide between rich and poor is clear

The plans of Cargill heir Donald C. MacMillan to tear down a $10 million home on Lake Minnetonka evoked a range of reactions in me that can best be summed up by: “Just because you can, doesn’t mean you should” (“$10M house ready for wrecker,” June 9).

I don’t begrudge people the right to spend their money however they see fit, nor do I have a problem with people who exercise their property rights. However, when I juxtapose this story with the well-documented problem of homelessness in our state and the country, I am struck by the tone-deafness of this action.

Of course, for all I know MacMillan may be a significant supporter of efforts to address homelessness. Still, actions such as this teardown continue to shine a light on the growing chasm between the haves and the have-nots in society.


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I was saddened about the impending teardown of a unique house designed by internationally renowned architect Romaldo Giurgola. This is becoming an all-too-common story in the Twin Cities and nationally. We’re losing irreplaceable structures and neighborhood character at an alarming rate.

This is a problem for all of us to work on, but city councils, planning commissions and boards of adjustment make the key decisions. I can only hope that such wanton and shortsighted destruction spurs civic leaders throughout our community to act boldly to write new plans and laws that protect our historically and architecturally significant resources.

BOB PATTON, Plymouth

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Keep delving into this important story

I read with interest the article regarding the rise in deaths from heroin overdoses (“Heroin fears surge with deaths, ODs,” June 7). The situation is a scourge in northern Minnesota’s rural communities, particularly among young people. A broader story about heroin-related issues is warranted. In the past two days, I have dealt with one heroin-related theft and one heroin-related suicide.

Overdoses are likely the smallest part of the problem, which is an alarming and terribly sad statement. Policies concerning prescription opioids should be revisited. Our young people are being eaten alive by a monster while pharmaceutical companies are making multiple billions in profits. Are prescription opioids really the best answer in general pain treatment?

ANNA FELLEGY, Cloquet, Minn.


The writer is a community college administrator.

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Is Snowden a hero or a delusional traitor?

It occurs to me that Edward Snowden must have an enormous ego (“Left out of the loop on NSA: The public,” June 11). He seems to think that he and he alone can save us Americans from ourselves.


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Those characterizing our government’s efforts to protect us as “Big Brother” ought to reread “1984.” Clearly, our rights to read, think and say what we wish have not been diminished as per George Orwell’s famous fictional predictions. On the other hand, opportunities to pose as minicelebrities and thus reduce our personal privacy abound on Twitter, Facebook and YouTube. Those who long for privacy ought to limit the access they willingly provide rather than railing against Big Brother.


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Voters didn’t want Legislature in control

After reading the June 9 editorial (“Dayton’s misguided Legacy funds veto”), I feel a short rebuttal is in order. If the amendment presented to the voters would have included language that the legislators had complete control of the funds, it never would have passed. Many of us older voters remember that much of the lottery money was supposed to help the state’s environment, but the amount used for that purpose is woefully less than promised. If the Legislature controlled Legacy money, the same thing would happen.

TOM DIEMERT, Lakeshore

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Next-generation reactors offer promise

There are a number of alternative nuclear reactor concepts that are the next generation, and all have advantages in safety, economy and size (“Nuclear: A better way? Here’s why,” June 8). As commentary writer Craig Bowron notes, they are all better than pumping more carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, even from natural gas. New plants now under construction will be able go for long periods of time without active cooling (as when operating normally) because they have newly designed passive cooling systems that permit sudden shutdown — without the kinds of situations that arose in Fukushima. Another attractive reactor system uses thorium-based fuel in a molten salt integrated reactor. Nuclear has a proven record — an average of 90 percent of full power generation every year; wind operates at 30 percent, and solar even lower. The integral fast reactor cited in the commentary is an interesting concept, but not ready for prime time. Right now, we need to evolve into new reactor systems and build today’s best advanced designs.



The writer is a professor emeritus in chemistry at Macalester College.

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I like the way the article sounds, nuclear energy with only 5 percent of the uranium from the fuel rod burned. This is reminiscent of all the promises made about affordable energy, coal, natural gas and ethanol, to name a few. I’m not sure we can believe anyone and their science if they stand to make money from energy.