As a fan of pickleball, I was pleased to learn that new outdoor pickleball-specific courts are planned to accommodate increasing demand (“Flurry of new courts feeds pickleball frenzy,” front page, May 28). However, the article shortchanges the reader when addressing the sport. It states that it is played with a Wiffle ball (not so; it is a ball designed for the sport, with different versions for indoors and out); is inaccurate regarding how it got started and got its name; and omits the main reason for its great popularity. To enlighten present and future pickleball players, I refer them to a commentary of mine that appeared in the Star Tribune in 2014 when the sport was beginning to explode nationwide (“Pickleball continues to gain fans as a year-round sport for all ages in the south metro area”). Read it at tinyurl.com/pickleball-sport.
Jerome Charles Goodrich, Prior Lake
What children can learn from curiosity and interaction
My oldest daughter, Allison, has the darker complexion of her father. They both have just enough melanin to tan instead of burn in the summer. At the end of her first kindergarten party, the students stood in line. Behind my daughter was her locker mate, an African-American girl wearing a hijab. She reached out and ran her fingers down one of Allison’s long, blonde braids. Being touched made her uncomfortable. She shrugged her shoulders a little and pulled her head away.
I smiled to myself. I had seen a similar exchange before. One of my co-workers stopped relaxing her hair. It was starting to get the curl back when a white co-worker insisted on reaching out to feel it. She had shrugged her shoulders in a similar way.
A few weeks later at a school event, Allison was in line behind a girl possibly a grade or two older than her. This girl’s black, tight curls were pulled up into several braids around her head. Allison reached out and felt her hair. The girl shrugged her shoulders uncomfortably. “No, no, honey. That’s not your hair,” I said.
Some have quietly expressed concern about the racial diversity of our neighborhood school. I hope that our girls’ experience in this school will help us to teach them that such comments are hurtful and ignorant. I want her to learn these lessons in the innocent curiosity of youth, so that racial difference becomes as comfortable to her as two plus two is four.
Tiffany Bierbaum, Eden Prairie
What once was, what is now — and it’s amazing it’s not worse
Past: Boys roamed free; mothers were home for noon lunch; children walked or biked to school, were given chores by parents and were punished for disrespect; there were family restaurants and men-only bars; Sunday school was common; you rarely heard God’s name in vain. You worked out your destiny (salvation) in fear and trembling.
Present: The home and the well-being of our children are no longer our national priority. We are moving toward a survival mode. Did 9/11 cause that? Each individual seeks to meet their needs as best he or she can under the circumstances in which he or she finds himself or herself.
Result: White boys act out with guns on school property. Black boys get “the talk,” fear police, may get killed. Teen girls commit suicide.
Miracle: More children not using, seeking inappropriate behavior.
The world as I saw it on Memorial Day 2018.
Louise Matson, Minneapolis
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As a retired senior citizen who has always respected the rule of law, I have never experienced such a feeling of hopelessness regarding what is happening to our beloved democracy. We are having to deal with a new “norm” that is disregarding and disrespecting the truth. The president demonstrates an inability to tell the truth on most subjects. (He lies.) Apparently, a majority of his followers don’t care that he is lying. And Republicans in Congress appear to place politics before country. It is almost impossible to find any optimism in such a toxic environment. Heaven help us.
Dwaine Glasenapp, St. Paul
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I watched on a recent evening as a man stopped traffic while he helped a duck and her chick walk down the center of the road to get to Lake Nokomis. No one honked or tried to get by. All is not bad in this world.
Editor’s note: We typically don’t accept letters without a signature, for obvious reasons. But this one seemed harmless and, at this particular juncture in the Readers Write compilation process, soothing.
Green in color; not necessarily green in principle, all considered
Not so fast (“This grass is always greener,” May 31). Artificial grass is green, but not always greener. Before homeowners decide to replace natural turf grass with artificial turf, they should pause to consider the ecological functions and benefits of real grass.
The first step in installing artificial grass is to excavate down 6 inches. That means removing 6 inches of soil. Soil is a nonrenewable resource that provides a habitat for beneficial microbes. Soil should be protected, not discarded. Grasses, like all living plants, remove carbon dioxide, a greenhouse gas, from the atmosphere and deposit it into the soil as organic matter. Grass makes the air cleaner and the soil healthier, especially when clippings are mulched and left on the lawn, increasing both soil carbon and nitrogen. In the process of photosynthesis, grasses, like all living plants, also release oxygen and moisture into the air. That helps to moderate the urban heat island effect, whereas artificial turf makes it worse. Finally, a real lawn on real soil slows the volume and velocity of storm runoff, filters out pollutants and absorbs water.
Ray Lamovec, Edina
The writer is sales and marketing director at IrriGreen, a lawn irrigation company.
Birth centers, defined
The May 25 article “A mix of collaborators team for medical building designs” presented misinformation to readers by calling new maternity units “birth centers” and using data from the American Association of Birth Centers on free-standing birth centers in reference to these labor and delivery units.
Birth centers, by definition, are not a hospital. This is evidenced in Minnesota statute, federal regulations and national standards.
Minnesota is home to eight state licensed and nationally accredited birth centers. These birth centers, integrated in the health care system, provide care in the midwifery and wellness model. They are guided by principles of prevention, sensitivity, safety, appropriate medical intervention and cost-effectiveness.
I applaud the efforts of the architects featured in the article to improve the experience of providers and patients in hospital labor and delivery units, but the Star Tribune should not have misled its readers by using the data on free-standing birth centers.
Kate Bauer, Perkiomenville, Pa.
The writer is executive director of the American Association of Birth Centers.