Texts, bikes and butts

Imagine you are driving to your friend’s house. Then, all of a sudden, your phone vibrates in your lap. You look at it, thinking it is your friend to meet somewhere else. So you open it and soon enough you are driving straight into a truck. That text just took your life.

Even though texting while driving is illegal, thousands of people still do it. In 2011, 23 percent of car collisions involved phones. It may not seem like a lot, but that represents 1.3 million crashes. But not all of these crashes include teenagers. Even though teens are more tempted to text while driving, many young drivers have seen their parents talk on their cells while driving. Parents need to set a better example.

Texting while driving makes a crash 23 times more likely to happen. Doing the right thing while driving has a huge impact on your children because they look up to how you do things. Sending a text takes the driver’s eyes away from the road for the average of five seconds which is, driving 55 miles per hour, like driving the length of a football field without looking. Sending a text can also take you out of your lane for a long time, which can cause a crash very quickly. The solution is to simply put the phone down while driving places. It may not seem like it will affect much, but it can save lives.


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The proliferation of bicycles on our roads and bike paths can be hazardous if safety is not taken seriously. Why aren’t people using good old-fashioned hand signals when making a turn? Here is a little refresher, folks: When turning left, place left arm straight out with a pointed finger before making your turn. When turning right, make an L-shape with your left arm out and fist up in the air before making your turn. Drivers also need reminding about what these hand signals mean. After all, safety is a two-way street.


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Ahhh! Behold the beauty of Minnesota, even in our Twin Cities urban areas. Stop at an intersection with a traffic light. Roll down the window and enjoy the sights and scents of an enticing, lush new summer. Look up at the bright blue sky. But, don’t look down — unless you enjoy staring at a couple hundred cigarette butts strewn on the corner. A recent writer justifiably complained about littering at the lake, but we don’t have to go that far to observe the evidence of so many lazy, inconsiderate and disrespectful slobs. Guilty ones, you know who you are. Pollute your ashtrays, not our environment!

JIM BARTOS, Brooklyn Park

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Stop the referee abuse

Dear soccer moms and dads:

Stop. Just stop. Never before in my seven years of reffing soccer have I had worse parents than this year. And that’s not just me: Reports of referee abuse by parents have come from all over the state.

First off, you all sound like lunatics when you yell at us. Ninety percent of the time you have no idea what you are talking about. Many of you wish you could waltz onto the field and take over for us. Be my guest, but try to do your job well while having multiple people yell and scream at you. Go ahead and do the 16-plus hours of in-class training, while also working your way up the ladder to get better games.

Have you ever thought your children might be embarrassed or ashamed of you? I’ve had some parents that focus so much on the refs and so little on their own team — shameful. Plus, why are these games so important to you? If your 14-year-old child loses a game on Tuesday night, 15 years down the road I doubt that game will have a negative impact on your life. So let it go. Plus, how would you like it if I showed up at your workplace and began telling you how to run your company? So how is yelling at us any different? Many of us are teens just trying to make some money while being apart of a game we love.

JACK PARKER, Eden Prairie

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The few did so much

It was so good to see the welcome home to our returning soldiers on the front page of the Star Tribune on June 19. A comparatively small number of soldiers have had to sacrifice time, health and even their lives for the great number of us at home who often forget the ongoing battle in Afghanistan. Why can’t we welcome them back with jobs or advanced schooling, and with appreciation and gratitude, plus the best possible physical and mental health care? They have offered their all for us!

GRACE WIGGEN, Columbia Heights

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Send a letter and save a job

I find it very troubling that this generation is so self-absorbed that it is robbing future generations of good-paying jobs. Case in point: the U.S. Postal Service. Never did I dream that there would come a day when the Postal Service might not be there. Instead of paying for a stamp, people tend to buy the newest gadget or some other junk, robbing the next generation of jobs. Instead of paying all your bills online, consider your neighbor. You just might save yourself from a huge tax increase or from your own termination, because each job taken creates havoc on other small businesses.

LIZ DAHMS, Le Sueur, Minn.