Halloween has fallen on a Saturday this year. It should always be on the last Saturday in October. Most of the complaints that people have with this community celebration are with the disruptions in normal weekday routines; the distraction in schools the day of and day after. Trick-or-treating during the week also can put young kids in harm’s way during rush-hour traffic.
Halloween on a Saturday would end these conflicts. Also, many more parents, without their work schedules conflicting, would be able to have quality time with their kids for the event.
Baby boomers like me who grew up in suburbia have turned Halloween into an adult celebration, too — so it also creeps into the workplace. Productivity suffers on the day of, and also, for some individuals, on the day after. But there is also a positive economic side to Halloween. Restaurants and entertainment venues love the added boost it brings. Many know that, during the week, business isn’t as good, so some try to accommodate by adding weekend events. Only by falling on a Saturday can Halloween bring the best economic results.
So why isn’t it observed on the last Saturday in October? It isn’t an official holiday, so nothing is set in stone. A slight change in tradition that makes the day safer and more economically sound should be tried.
Robert A. Swart, Mankato
JACOB WETTERLING CASE
A reminder to be grateful for the hard work of many
Regardless of where new information leads, I want to thank all the unsung people who have worked all these years to find Jacob Wetterling (“Feds: Possible link in Wetterling case,” Oct. 30). I was less than three weeks into first-time motherhood as I watched the news of Jacob’s disappearance in 1989. Words were and are inadequate.
Today I am a psychologist with the opportunity to make a healing difference in the lives of hurt children and their families. I interact regularly with child-protection officials, social workers and guardians ad litem — teams and individuals who spend their working lives protecting kids. Thanks to those who do — and to those who investigate and follow up on leads, sometimes again and again, to bring perpetrators to justice. It is not easy work, that which goes on behind the scenes. But they know every child is worth it.
Please, if you suspect a child is being harmed or exploited, let someone know.
Cacy Miranda, Minneapolis
Of course the coach deserved that above-the-fold coverage
The Oct. 30 reader comment that the presidential debate was more deserving of above-the-fold coverage in the Star Tribune than was the resignation of University of Minnesota football coach Jerry Kill almost made me spit out my breakfast. Seriously — a leader of young men who gave “every ounce” of himself in his job every day doesn’t deserve prime newspaper space? Coach Kill exemplified what a true leader is so much more than those self-serving dolts on stage this week at the Republican Party’s debate could ever hope to do.
Tom Intihar, Brooklyn Park
• • •
The Oct. 30 letter writer who “shuddered” because Coach Kill had “given every ounce I had to the game of football” misinterpreted the sentence. Many folks are able to devote 100 percent to their job while working; that does not mean zero percent to their family, community and all others. They are not mutually exclusive events.
As for the front-page placement, newspapers decide what is the most newsworthy item for that day. Sometimes it is the pope; sometimes it could be a coach.
James M. Halvorson, Farmington
• • •
Kill certainly deserves empathy and praise stemming form his poignant retirement for health-related reasons (“Kill’s courage can continue to inspire,” editorial, Oct 29). His departure leaves a bevy of questions hovering over the university’s football program, and one of them is why he is being paid about $800,000 as he steps down.
The sweetheart contract that the U extended to him before the start of this season apparently includes a buyout clause if he retires, resulting in a rather substantial windfall of public funds for not working.
This problematic outcome is hardly novel at the school. In fact, Kill’s two immediate predecessors, Glen Mason and Tim Brewster, were paid large amounts when they were fired in the midst of their contracts. But the pay for not performing does not stop there. The institution also has paid big buyouts to the past two men’s basketball coaches, Dan Monson and Tubby Smith, both discharged mid-contract. The largesse knows no gender boundaries, for the school also paid out a sizable sum when it fired women’s basketball coach Pam Borton last year.
This pattern and practice of paying large amounts of taxpayer money as compensation for coaches not working warrants examining how the university negotiates its hiring or extension agreements with high-profile coaching personnel and seeing if some of these troublesome loopholes can be closed so that more money can be devoted to improving the programs rather than paying for past blunders.
Kill is only the latest of departing coaches benefiting from the university’s laxity, but he ought to be the last.
Marshall H. Tanick, Minneapolis
Quiz: Which Mideast country don’t our soldiers die for?
With President Obama’s announcement that he will be sending a small number of U.S. special operations forces to northern Syria, the circle will now be complete. American soldiers will have fought, and died, in every Middle East country except one. And that country is the one most vilified by much of the mainstream media, as well as by President Obama himself, and by Secretary of State John Kerry. That country is the State of Israel, which, although having had to defend itself in numerous wars and attacks since its inception, has never asked for nor even allowed an American soldier to lay down his or her life in its defense.
Ronald Haskvitz, St. Louis Park
Editorial’s ‘dig deeper’ reference wasn’t just rhetorical, was it?
The headline on the Oct. 30 editorial — “Debates leave voters needing to dig deeper” — caught my attention. Indeed, just to have watched the third Republican debate would have required many viewers to “dig deeper” quite literally. Unlike the last Democratic debate, which was carried by CNN (and was simultaneously streamed at no charge), the Republican debate was on CNBC, owned by Comcast. My Comcast cable service, “Limited Basic,” doesn’t include CNBC. To go up one tier to get CNBC would cost me an extra $37.77 per month. Alternatively, I could subscribe directly to CNBC’s premium service for $29.99 per month, or $299.99 per year. It seems to me that watching political debates should be more affordable than this.
Bill Steinbicker, Minnetonka