Bonnie Blodgett is the typical smug elitist thinking she has all the answers for us — the regular folk. Her June 30 commentary about St. Paul’s trash system (“St. Paul’s waste-bin blues”) comes off as uninformed and uncaring. She claims that residents’ complaints against the new trash system are undemocratic. Her reason? St. Paul residents don’t agree with a decision our elected officials made behind closed doors with a handful of trash haulers while city residents had no say. The end result is that the city will not allow neighbors to share containers, residents have been forced to take multiple containers they don’t need or want, and the prices have gone up. Ms. Blodgett’s idea of democracy borders on totalitarianism.

She ignorantly asserts that people who are no longer able to share bins are the “shrillest” critics and states that they don’t care that the new system is reducing the city’s carbon footprint.

The reason most people share bins is because they are on fixed incomes, including many senior citizens, and they can’t afford individual trash bills. If Blodgett followed through on her own logic, she would realize that every resident who has shared a bin with a neighbor has been years’ ahead in reducing the city’s carbon footprint for the simple reason that they were sharing bins!

She fails to address that multifamily dwellings are forced to take a container for each unit in their building. My sister owns and lives in a triplex on a street with many duplexes. We recycle and we compost. We have a part-time renter. We generate one bag of trash per container each week. We would never generate enough trash to fill all the containers we are forced to take. Indeed, none of the containers at the multifamily dwellings on our street are full. Now, due to the rigid system set up by the city, the trash truck has to needlessly idle far longer on our block emptying containers that have barely any trash.

If Blodgett would like to help keep things civil in the city of St. Paul, I would suggest two things: First, she should pay for all the bins for residents on fixed incomes who once had the freedom to share containers. Two, she should make room at her house for all the containers owners of multifamily dwellings are forced to take. Those of us who own multifamily dwellings will gladly bring our trash to her house. All she has to do is pay for the containers we don’t need and have the trash trucks idle on her block emptying all those bins instead of ours.

Sue Rohland, St. Paul


Those coming here have a duty, too: Embrace American values

The lead front-page article June 30 (“Campaign against hate targets rural Minnesota”) was about inclusiveness, which nobody denies is a good thing. However, inclusiveness sidetracks and whitewashes the real issue. That issue quite simply is not acceptance of immigrants and others, but rather about the beliefs and convictions that many of those new to our country bring with them. Beliefs that are diametrically opposed to our Constitution and to many of our religious followings. There are numerous other citizens who share this understanding, yet nothing gets printed to balance out this topic.

Errol Bluhm, Willmar, Minn.


In hiring, nonprofits could also think creatively about older workers

In response to the June 30 article “Nonprofits are tapping unusual benefits to attract and retain employees,” here’s a creative idea — hire workers over age 50. We older workers have abundant talent and experience, but we’re shut out of the job market because we aren’t millennials. I would give my right teeth to work for a nonprofit — and you wouldn’t have to worry about my maternity leave or day-care issues, or my jumping ship to the next better-paying job. We older workers use social media, too, and offer so much more.

Esther Benenson, Minneapolis


The Rorschach test that is the presidency of Donald Trump

I basically agree with a June 30 letter about U.S. Rep. Ilhan Omar, but I suggest a few changes as well. I have reproduced the letter here and follow each paragraph with suggested edits:

The Star Tribune article clearly lays out the deceitful acts of Omar, and she should be held accountable for them. My greater concern is with the DFL Party and its handling — or non-handling — of the matter.

Star Tribune articles clearly lay out the deceitful acts of President Donald Trump, and he should be held accountable for them. My greater concern is with the GOP and its handling — or non-handling — of the matter.

It is certainly interesting that the DFL has not uttered one word about the allegations against its candidate. Should it have done a background check on their candidate? Yes. Did it? If not, it is a major failing. If it did check her background and ignored her actions, it is much worse.

It is certainly interesting that the GOP has not uttered one word about the allegations against its candidate. Should it have done a background check on the candidate? Yes. Did it? If not, it is a major failing. If it did check his background and ignored his actions, it is much worse.

How can the DFL believe anything she says or support anything she does? Has it even looked into the allegations of wrongdoing by Omar? If not, why not? Will it support her in the next election?

How can the GOP believe anything he says or support anything he does? Has it even looked into the allegations of wrongdoing by Trump? If not, why not? Will it support him in the next election?

Come on, DFL — what do you say?


Come on, GOP — what do you say?


Richard D. Olmsted, Vadnais Heights


50 years ago this month, an effort to make a ‘giant leap’ was culminated

For those of us who remember the summer of 1969, the flight of Apollo 11 shall forever remain etched in our memories. Three Americans set out on a voyage to do what no one had ever done before — to land on the moon, which they achieved on July 20 of that year.

In May 1961, Alan Shepard had become the first American launched into space. His flight lasted all of 15 minutes. In the intervening eight years, all of the technology needed to achieve a moon landing was developed. Projects Mercury, Gemini and Apollo all were built from scratch, each mission more complex than the previous one. The evolution in new technologies needed to accomplish the moon landing boggles the mind. It wasn’t easy, but we did it. In eight years!

In his outstanding book “Rocket Men,” author Craig Nelson dedicated his book to the 400,000 men and women who “made the dream come true.” It is a fitting tribute, because without them, the landing at Tranquility Base would never have happened.

No doubt Apollo 11 was indeed “one giant leap for mankind.” In 1969, like today, our county was in much turmoil. But for one brief eight-day stretch, astronauts Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin and Michael Collins brought us all together as a nation. It was a defining moment in American history. My hope is that, somehow, we can rekindle that spirit, that pride, that drive toward excellence. That, I believe, was the essence of Project Apollo, and the flight of Apollo 11.

Kim Gau, Sauk Rapids, Minn.



Frequent contributor Peter M. Leschak reconsiders the Apollo 11 mission as the 50th anniversary of the moon landing approaches. His conclusion, a reversal of President John Kennedy’s memorable phrase: We did it not because it was hard, but because it was easy.