Have you paid at the pump with a credit card, pumped gas and then didn’t receive a receipt? The problem seems to be growing everywhere.

Recently I talked with officials in both Wisconsin and Minnesota, and they have suggestions that could help us all. If there are more complaints, they will be able to do something about it; otherwise, they are unaware of how many times consumers pump gas and end up with no receipt.

Suggestions are:

Leave your vehicle at the pump if you have to go inside to request a receipt, thus tying up that pump. This will give the owners/operators incentive to maintain their receipt mechanisms.

Tell the person you obtain your receipt from that you don’t appreciate having to come inside for it. Perhaps they will tell their manager. The more complains they hear, the better.

Next, call and report the convenience store/station. In Wisconsin: 608-224-4940. In Minnesota: 651-539-1555. You’ll need to provide the location and name of the station, the pump number, the type of gas (regular, midgrade or premium), and the date and time. That’s all there is to it. (In Minnesota, you also can file a complaint at http://mn.gov/commerce/weight-and-measures/consumers/index.isp.)

Put the numbers into your cellphone and call whenever you pay at the pump and do not obtain a receipt. Or call when you get home. With your help, something can be done to combat this annoying problem.

Carolyn Lumsden, Dresser, Wis.


Differing opinions are just that; guidelines were well-developed

I read with some concern Dr. Tim H. Emory’s Oct. 28 commentary “New guidelines confuse the issue of breast cancer screening.” Dr. Emory is entitled to his opinion — even if it is contrary to science-based recommendations, including those of the American Cancer Society, the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force, the American College of Physicians and the American Academy of Family Physicians. These recommendations were developed based on rigorous assessment of the benefits and harms of screening mammography by individuals who provide direct care to women and have expertise in cancer detection, prevention and treatment. They promote informed decisionmaking that balances the small absolute reduction in breast cancer deaths due to screening mammography with the well-documented frequent and potentially serious harms, including overdiagnosis and overtreatment.

Dr. Emory performs mammography as his job. In his opinion, we need to start screening earlier and more often and use more, newer modalities of testing — without showing an analysis of benefits. The science does not support this, and the American Cancer Society is to be applauded for its new recommendations that will improve the health of women.

Dr. George A. Sarosi, Roseville

The writer is a professor of medicine at the University of Minnesota.



Any jobs will be unhelpfully subject to outside forces

The Oct. 29 commentary by Ron Sternal, Alan Thometz and John Gappa (“Bottom line on PolyMet: It’s risky business”) strikes at the heart of the economic policy argument against the PolyMet mining venture. The 350 jobs that PolyMet is promising the Iron Range are always going to be contingent on a factor on which the hard work and dedication of the people on the Range have no impact: world commodity prices for copper, nickel and other precious metals.

The jobs PolyMet promises, but does not guarantee, will evaporate (or be indefinitely delayed, as demonstrated in the financial analysis by Sternal et al.) with fluctuations in commodity prices. No different from the jobs lost to iron ore price declines in state Rep. Tom Anzelc’s district. (In the Oct. 28 article “Pondering PolyMet, Dayton visits S.D.,” Anzelc, DFL-Balsam Township, is quoted as saying: “I think the overwhelming conversation is: Is it the state’s policy to write off this region?”) PolyMet jobs are highly correlated with iron ore employment. Do Minnesota and the Range want to double down on the only thing that the mining business can or will guarantee: destructive boom-and-bust cycles?

We all know the popular definition of insanity. Compounding job insecurity on the Range with another industry that also will be hostage to world commodity prices makes no sense. The Range needs resources from the rest of the state to attract jobs that reasonably can be expected to grow the region’s economy over the long haul and not hold Minnesota’s fragile and unique water resources hostage to the next downturn in commodity prices.

Martin Cooney, Golden Valley

• • •

Regarding “Bottom line on PolyMet: It’s risky business”: If these guys are right, and it would appear they’ve got the analytic experience, then why is Gov. Mark Dayton traveling anywhere to look at other mining outcomes?

Mike Carr, Chanhassen

• • •

For the proposed PolyMet NorthMet mine, the question among experts is not whether adequate treatment technologies are available, but rather are they properly designed, and, just as important, will they be properly applied over the required time frame? Treating hard rock mine waste is a complex proposition, so it is easy to miss the sweet spot, and easy to oversell or misdirect others with a supposed solution. The motivation to do so is that the cost is significant and requires continued diligence over decades. Recently, such treatment has been done properly in Chile and Spain, but its history in the U.S. does not favor a positive long-term outcome.

As someone who, over 40 years, helped develop the technology of reverse osmosis (RO), including its proper use, it is disturbing to see the news releases and accounts that treat it as a simple panacea, as in: “Don’t worry, we plan to use RO.” This technology is a tool, and like any tool must be properly applied, in both the “how” and “when” aspects. As Dayton and his expert staff look at how it is applied at Michigan’s Eagle Mine, they need to assess how RO fits in that particular waste treatment process, on what scale it is used, and when, and see if that all translates properly to the proposed PolyMet mine. Otherwise, their visit will not have been useful and could cause an error in their decisionmaking process.

David Paulson, Minnetonka

The writer is a consultant in water treatment technology development.



Transparency is a tactical illusion

What I don’t understand about the Benghazi hearings is why we suddenly expect the State Department to be open and honest with the American public. And I am not being sarcastic. Withholding and/or manipulating information is a known and accepted tactic used by the military, the State Department, the police, the FBI, the CIA, etc., to help solve problems and find and apprehend criminals. Any information shared with the American public also is shared with the rest of world, so why advertise everything you know to the shady people you are trying to identify?

What’s next? Will we condemn the military for not disclosing to the American public and the rest of the world exactly what the Special Forces did in Syria this morning?

Lynn Maier-Belair, Blaine