The Feb. 27 front-page article “Mental health facility debated” addresses the need for a residential psychiatric facility for children age 7 and above. There doesn’t seem to be disagreement on the need, but zoning might present a problem in Forest Lake. I hope that issue can be worked out.
Another issue concerns payment for the treatment and who will make the decisions about the length of treatment. I want to point out that between 1976 and 1981 there was a Children’s Residential Treatment Center at Abbott Northwestern Hospital. It was designed to treat children with the most serious mental illnesses and was very successful. It ended, however, when it was considered to be too costly. Budget concerns overruled treatment concerns. In designing this program, please put the mental health professionals in charge of decisions that impact the quality of care and aftercare.
Carol Koepp, Edina
• • •
Recently in both Golden Valley and Forest Lake, mental health facilities were delayed because of opposition. What happened to our Minnesota values of hospitality and care for others?
People living with mental illness need a place to heal and recover.
If everyone practices NIMBYism, there will be no place for our brothers and sisters but institutions and correctional facilities. We all have a role and burden to bear, so people have a chance to heal and become productive members of society.
We are our brothers’ and sisters’ keeper.
The Rev. Howard Dotson, Maple Grove
There’s a connection, if we’re willing to think about it
I haven’t heard anybody comment yet on the fact that school shooters seem to be overwhelmingly students or ex-students of the schools they shoot up. Columbine, Red Lake, Virginia Tech, Sandy Hook, Stoneman Douglas — all were students or ex-students.
With all the talk of “hardening” schools, it strikes me that those lost boys who become killers already found school unbearably hard. Some of them had learning or impulse-control difficulties; the student who killed at Virginia Tech was quite clearly mentally ill, and was so diagnosed by faculty, but most have not been. They have just been the kids who, academically, socially, in the day-to-day business of living without trouble, could not cut it. We need to remember what, as adults, we’re glad to forget: how complicated it is to be a kid. Those innocent children may have been the people who reject them, the in-crowd when they have no crowd, sometimes the tormentors.
I was a very successful student academically, but I was a social outlier, and I had a lot of misery in my teens. I can’t say I ever wanted to kill people, but if certain people who had said certain things to me had just suddenly disappeared, I would not have minded. Most of us, when young, have had all kinds of antisocial impulses which, fortunately, we never acted upon. As adults we are glad to forget old miseries, but it’s worth remembering the intense emotions of adolescence.
Instead of calling for armed teachers, how about giving the teachers the actual help they ask for — better pay, more respect, smaller class sizes (so they can actually get to know the kids who need it most), appropriate support. Having them armed to shoot the oddball kid who gets lethal is a last desperate remedy. The oddball kid may have needed help for years and gotten none.
Edith Rylander, Grey Eagle, Minn.
TIM PAWLENTY’S POTENTIAL RETURN
Maybe it’s just about service
A Feb. 25 letter writer mentioned Tim Pawlenty’s salary as a CEO and asked “who will reimburse him for his financial loss?” if he were to return to the political arena and seek another term as Minnesota’s governor.
Life doesn’t have to be about money. Maybe he just wants to make Minnesota a better place to live. Many years ago I had a teacher, Ms. Nelson, who taught us seven ways not to be a failure. One that is still very strong in my mind and lifestyle is “to have enough money so you don’t have to worry about money.” Today I live a comfortable life and serve my neighbor, and sometimes I don’t even spend all of my Social Security check.
Carole Holten, McGregor, Minn.
Don’t forget the whistleblower
The Feb. 21 article about 3M’s $850 million settlement for polluting the east-metro waters with PFCs makes no mention of the Iranian-American woman scientist, Fardin Oliaei, who was fired from her position at the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency for reporting 3M’s violations in 2001. In 2006, Oliaei was pressured to drop her whistleblower lawsuit, given $325,000 in exchange for her silence, and Minnesotans went unprotected for another decade.
City Pages covered Oliaei’s case in 2006; the Star Tribune’s article doesn’t even mention her. Readers expect that after learning about the theft of Henrietta Lacks’ cancer cells and their contributions to science, and the many unacknowledged contributions of women-of-color scientists detailed in “Hidden Figures,” that the newspaper would provide more gender and racial justice in reporting.
We can still hope.
Greta Gaard, Minneapolis
BEN SHAPIRO’S SPEECH
And he said what?
I’m old enough to remember when the press coverage of an event (“Dozens protest at Ben Shapiro’s U speech,” Feb. 27) would have made a footnote of protest and featured what the man actually said. Likely I would have disagreed with him, but if the event merited coverage at all, the story should have said something about his message.
Curtis Johnson, Edina
GOOD WRITING AND EDITING
This didn’t happen
In the Feb. 27 article about Hennepin County District Judge Tamara Garcia’s sentencing of Joshua Ezeka in the shooting death of Birdell Beeks, I read: “Handcuffed and wearing an orange jumpsuit, Garcia asked Ezeka if he had anything to say before sentencing.”
I’m accustomed to reading relatively carefully written English in the Star Tribune, and I hope you will apologize to Judge Garcia for handcuffing her and putting her in prisoner’s garb.
Jonathan Lubin, St. Paul
REPORTING AND PRESENTING
Awesome job on the Olympics
Kudos to the Star Tribune for its excellent coverage of the Winter Olympics. Writers Rachel Blount and Chip Scoggins and photographer Carlos Gonzalez went directly from the intensity of the Super Bowl to the Winter Games in Pyeongchang without missing a beat. Their descriptions of the athletes’ dedication, accomplishments and emotions were especially interesting given the success of our Minnesota competitors. The feature on athletes’ families showed parents’ commitment in time, money and personal sacrifices to help their sons and daughters reach the Olympic stage.
The Star Tribune’s coverage of the Winter Olympics rivals that of any major newspaper in the country. Thanks for bringing this amazing international event and the success of our local athletes in print and digital form to our fingertips for more than 14 straight days.
Doug Killian, Lake Elmo