Cities want them, even in Canada

Paul Olson (“For model cities, look to Canada,” Oct. 10) seems to think our neighboring country lives without professional sports and new stadiums. Apparently, he did not realize Quebec City is building a new arena to lure a National Hockey League team or that Winnipeg went ecstatic when the NHL returned to the city after 15 years. Or that Edmonton is building a new arena for the Oilers and that the Calgary Flames are demanding one to replace their aging present home. Or that the Toronto Blue Jays baseball team is so popular that Canadians who live closer to Minneapolis than Toronto show up at Target Field every year to see them in action against the Twins. Or that even though the Canadian Football League is much cheaper than the National Football League, Winnipeg just built a new football stadium and Hamilton is doing one presently. Or that Major League Soccer is expanding into Canada and into new soccer stadiums in Toronto and Montreal.

It’s true that Canada does not deal with the expensive National Football League with the exception of one game played in Toronto per year and that Major League Baseball and National Basketball Association teams outside Toronto eventually failed and moved stateside. However, to believe that Canadians survive without professional sports is like believing that it doesn’t snow in Minnesota in the winter.


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Concern over tax is anything but phony

Minnesota’s medical technology community is the envy of the country, for the great jobs we create and the improved patient care we deliver. Our high-tech, innovative industry isn’t just vital for patients, it’s a crucial contributor to the economy. The author of a recent commentary (“That sure is some phony outrage over the medical device tax,” Oct. 10) clearly doesn’t understand just how delicate the medical technology ecosystem is.

For companies like Smiths Medical and others, the tax has grave implications. Its consequences are already being seen in cost reductions — and that can mean reduced employment, the outsourcing of jobs away from Minnesota, and additional pressure on research and development budgets. Do we really want to shortchange investments in the cures of tomorrow?

We should be celebrating bipartisan solutions to improve our economy and patient care, not criticizing them. Minnesota’s congressional delegation has been a shining example of how members from both parties can work together to get things done for our great state.

SRINI SESHADRI, president; Smiths Medical

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Here’s another way to honor veterans

In response to an Oct. 10 letter about the effects of the government shutdown on burial with military honors, my condolences to the family of Chuck Lambert.

There is another option to honor our fallen veterans at their funerals and memorial services: The Bell of Honor. This is provided by a volunteer group based in Rochester, and they will travel just about anywhere to bring the “Bell of Honor: Voice of a Grateful Nation” to be “tolled as a sign of respect and honor for Fallen Heroes.” It is available for active military, veterans, police, firefighters, and EMS or “other special occasions worthy of the honor.” To quote its brochure, “the primary mission is to show the utmost respect and honor to the individual and their family.”

These volunteers work very hard, on their own time and with their own money, to provide this service, and feel honored themselves to be able to do so.

For the full and very interesting story, type in “Bell of Honor Republican Leader 7/25/2012” into a search engine. It should be first on the list. Or go to

JAN MEYER, Lanesboro, Minn.

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An act of kindness on the bike trail

Kindness lives in Stillwater! Last week, a bike ride on the Gateway Trail held a few surprises. First, a flat tire was discovered as I got on my bike to join our group of six eager senior bikers. All attempts to repair the tire failed, and it appeared that my day on the trail was over.

Not quite! A young woman approached me and offered the use of her bike so that I could join my friends. She stated that we all “looked trustworthy” and insisted that I use her bike. We exchanged personal information with the promise of returning the bike to her home. The invigorating ride was completed on one of Minnesota’s most scenic bike trails because of one of Minnesota’s nicest people!

PAT DAVIS, St. Louis Park

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Don’t rush virtuosos like B.B. off the stage

In response to the Oct. 10 Letter of the Day regarding B.B. King’s performance at Mystic Lake, I would like to remind the readers about two great musicians: Vladimir Horowitz and Stéphane Grapelli. Both of these artists played their instruments well into their 80s. And although they struggled with failing health, they still played with the kind of vigor and enthusiasm of younger men.

The same is true of B.B. King. Although the reader may not have been impressed, King is a music legend who can still play as he always has, at the top of his game. In the age of pop stars and auto-tuning, he offers, even at 88 years old, something that is becoming a lost art form — real, personal, live blues.

Instead of complaining about the length of the show, perhaps the reader should have taken in the ambiance of the moment, enjoyed the unique tone of B.B.’s guitar or taken a moment to recognize the significance of the event. We should always remember to enjoy what you have while it lasts, because like the keys under the fingers of Horowitz or the bow in the hands of Grappelli, it’s an amazing thing, a particular opportunity that won't last for long.

MATT LEAVITT, Minneapolis