Still too many uninsured children

Although it is impressive that the number of uninsured children in Minnesota dropped by 16,000 from 2010 to 2012 ("Fewer state kids are uninsured," Nov. 23), the current number of 68,000 uninsured Minnesota children is unacceptable.

Children without medical insurance are less likely to receive needed medical treatment and care. Research has shown that this significantly contributes to increased medical complications and irreversible health effects. A study by Johns Hopkins Children's Center researchers, published in the Journal of Public Health on Oct. 29, found that a seriously ill, hospitalized child was 60 percent more likely to die if the child didn't possess health insurance. Health insurance affects far more than the health of a child. According to a report issued by the Institute of Medicine in 2009, uninsured children are hospitalized more and miss more school than insured children. Medical insurance is crucial to a child's current and future well-being, so Minnesota must focus on insuring the remaining 68,000 children.

Simple and affordable medical coverage for children through Medicaid, the Children's Health Insurance Program and other programs is necessary for the future of Minnesota children.

KAYLA PETERSON, St. Peter, Minn.


Downtown Minneapolis is an exclusive zone

I applaud the fact that so many new apartment buildings are being built or renovated in downtown Minneapolis. I am saddened by the realization that they are in no way affordable for the average person. When will city leaders begin to take a stand on affordable housing? I am not saying build more "project"-type housing, but to require that a percentage of all new apartments have affordable rents. Of the five buildings I know of, there are none that rent for less than $1,000. How can anyone working at a full-time job for slightly more than the minimum wage afford to spend more than half of their income for housing? Until city leaders take a stand on this issue, the epidemic of homelessness will continue to claim hard working citizens of this city.



We throw away more than we need to

I bought a cup of coffee this morning, and when I was done I tossed it in the trash bin. After a brief moment, I wondered if I could have recycled it, so I decided to search further. The truth is the coffee cups can't be recycled because of a thin plastic lining that makes them waterproof. Luckily, all hope is not lost; there are a few plants around the nation that specialize in recycling these cups into ones that are recyclable. In fact, Starbucks, the godfather of all coffee chains, has used this process and has recycled 6,000 pounds of cups.

Recently the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency released a report showing that 31 percent of what we throw away as garbage is organic material; 18 percent is plastic, and 25 percent is paper. These materials make up more than half of what we consider garbage.

We need to invest in our future by creating cleaner energy and finding innovative solutions. In doing so, we can create a state we would be proud to call home.



Long arm of law is rather indiscriminate

"Legal extortion," one sheriff classified it — the practice of posting arrest mug shots on the Web and forcing people to pay to have them removed, even if they had been later cleared of any crime. But our government engages in a similar legal extortion scheme. This September, my car was towed from a city street because its previous owner had unpaid parking tickets. After several days of scurrying back and forth between the impound lot and the Hennepin County Courthouse, my car finally was released to me, for a fee of $174 covering towing, storage (and tax!). I'll never get my time back, although a refund would be nice. But since the city, county and state are all in this tidy little extortion loop, I don't even know where to start.



At least as worthy as a Vikings stadium

The money needed by the Midtown Global Market ("City may rescue Global Market," Nov. 26) pales in comparison to the financial support given to the Minnesota Vikings, via the Minneapolis City Council. Although we don't live in the metro area, we are there multiple times a year for work or pleasure. We have never been to a Vikings game or Twins game (and will probably never go to one), but we almost always stop at Global Market ... and we weren't even aware of the free parking deal! I encourage the City Council to do what it can to help the market through its growing pains.

CYNTHIA JORSTAD, Thief River Falls, Minn.