The July 15 article “Our trash now no one’s treasure” quotes Dem-Con Cos. President Bill Keegan as saying: “The recycling industry has to adapt. I think we need to make cleaner product. That’s going to cost money. And I think that cost is borne by — and must be borne by — the generator: the consumer.” There’s another player that could make a big difference: manufacturers, who could package less and package better so there is less to recycle and so that which is recyclable is not connected to nonrecyclable materials. They must also come to the table to rethink and redesign to better manage our waste.
Dorette Kerian, Bloomington
ST. PAUL’S WORKFORCE
Expand diversity goals to include those with autism, ADHD, etc.
St. Paul Mayor Melvin Carter recently said: “Building a city workforce that reflects the diversity of our city has to be a priority.” (“Diversity push lags at St. Paul City Hall,” July 14.) With that as the goal, I would strongly encourage Carter and city officials to put a greater emphasis on neurodiversity, a term used to describe people whose brains work differently due to the autism spectrum, dyslexia, attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder, etc.
As a dad of two neurodivergent sons — one with Asperger’s and another with ADHD — I know firsthand the value of neurodiversity. Many neurodivergent individuals are very high-functioning; they just think a little differently. Yet too often at businesses and schools, neurodiversity is relegated to the office of disabilities, if it’s given any attention at all.
In rare instances, progress is being made. Companies like EY, Ford and Microsoft have begun to actively recruit workforces of neurodiversity through the Autism at Work Employer Roundtable. Colleges and universities should follow this example and place a greater emphasis on neurodiversity in the admissions process.
Mayor Carter and the city of St. Paul have a great opportunity to address the challenge of hiring and keeping diverse individuals. But that effort needs to expand to include neurodiversity, something that will benefit the city’s workforce and its citizens.
Rob Hahn, St. Paul
Accountability, transparency prevail in organizations here
The July 18 article “Nonprofits will be able to veil donors” painted a disappointing narrative of what is actually a rather complicated and diverse nonprofit sector. Importantly, nonprofits are essential to strong, thriving communities across Minnesota.
Missing from the story is that the majority of nonprofits will continue to carry out their vital work to improve the quality of life for all Minnesotans, without changing their donor reporting. Nothing changes for these 501(c)(3) organizations.
In other words, food shelves, animal shelters, youth camps and thousands of other nonprofits will continue to do their work with accountability and transparency. These 501(c)(3) nonprofits will continue to serve as problem solvers in partnership with government and community stakeholders with shared values and a common vision for a strong Minnesota.
I write with concern that this article works against the strong culture of community giving that sustains the lifeblood of nonprofit organizations. I encourage community members to continue to support 501(c)(3) organizations in order to build a more prosperous and equitable tomorrow.
Rebecca Lucero, St. Paul
The writer is public-policy director of the Minnesota Council of Nonprofits.
Smart justice would mean serial sex offender would never go free
Regarding “Release of serial rapist upheld” (July 17): An earlier article about this case says that the state “faces legal pressure to show that it provides genuine therapy and a pathway for release from a treatment program that has long been criticized for detaining too many offenders for too long.” That pressure is nothing compared to the pressure the state will feel if Duvall reoffends while on conditional discharge. A serial rapist, sexual sadist with a psychopathic personality should be kept apart from society forever.
A three-judge panel of the Minnesota Court of Appeals is willing to gamble that Duvall, who admits to more than 60 victims, will not reoffend if given a chance at freedom. What a message to send to those 60-plus victims, judges. It is easy to gamble with someone else’s money. The Huffington Post published rape statistics, and here’s just one: $241,600 is the estimated lifetime income that a survivor of sexual violence who was abused as an adolescent loses. If those 60-plus victims could send a bill, it would be for nearly $13 million. I know justice is blind, but is it stupid, too?
Patricia Hellings, Coon Rapids
UNIVERSITY OF MINNESOTA
Incorporate football, basketball and license the school’s name
The major revenue sports programs in our colleges have become part of the sports entertainment industry with a never-ending athletic arms race, ridiculous compensation for coaches and athletic administrators, and countless scandals. The next president of the University of Minnesota does not have to “either make the commitment or get left behind” in sports (“Athletics must be vital part of search,” Chip Scoggins column, July 17).
There is a solution that would enable the university to disentangle itself from the big business of the major revenue sports while allowing the games to continue. The football and basketball teams should be organized as separate corporations with a license to use the university name for the teams.
The license fee would be a percentage of the revenue generated from ticket sales, broadcasting rights, advertising, etc. The license fee would be used to support the nonrevenue sports the university retains, such as track and swimming and gymnastics.
This is a solution that would enable the sports fans to continue to enjoy the games. Of much greater significance, it would enable the university to focus on education, research and public service — the reasons for its existence.
Michael W. McNabb, Lakeville
More voices than you might think based on who’s reviewed
Minnesota is not only the land of 10,000 lakes, it is also the land of 10,000 choral groups. I wonder why the Star Tribune has chosen to repeatedly give free advertising to Cantus, with gushing praise (“Individual singers shine in Cantus’ folky summer concert,” Variety, July 19), when there are so many equally, if not more, deserving groups struggling to get even a tiny mention in the events listings. Of the many, one is Sonomento, directed by someone whose credentials include singing leading roles in opera houses throughout the world. Another is the South Metro Chorale, formed 20 years ago by one of Minnesota’s most outstanding chorale directors. Performing programs of classical and popular music, the SMC has few equals.
Enough already. The free ride should be over. Cantus commands very good ticket prices due substantially to freelance classical music critic Terry Blain’s over-the-top support. It should now pay for its own advertising.
I challenge Blain and the Star Tribune to expand their horizons and give support to some other worthy groups — such as those mentioned above.
Jerome Charles Goodrich, Prior Lake