Editor’s note: For a special edition of Readers Write focused on the action in Syria, see here.


In response to “Dogs menace more mail carriers” (April 8): My neighbors Riley, Riley, Albert, JimBob and I cannot wait to “menace” our beloved mail carrier, Lee. I can’t control my waggly tail once I spot his little white USPS truck parked across the street. Does he really have to deliver the mail to the other side of the street before he stops at my front door? I yelp with delight as he walks up our sidewalk, and love the taste of his aftershave, which he generously lets me sample. Sometimes I have to piddle a little, I’m so happy to see him.

When I go for walks, I’m almost as thrilled to see Bev and Mark, my other letter carrier friends, who, like Lee, always give me a friendly pat, and sometimes a treat!

I’m sorry about my fellow canines’ behavior on the other side of the river. [Minneapolis ranked 10th with 43 attacks on mail carriers in 2016.] I’d like to invite those mail people to my Mac-Groveland neighborhood and show them why they call us man’s best friends.

Maddie Schuett-Wendt, border collie, via TERSENIA SCHUETT, St. Paul

WATER USE

White Bear Lake level is not only example of overloved lawns

If a municipality really cares about “the health, safety and welfare of its residents” by providing its citizens with an “adequate drinking water supply” (“White Bear case pits lawns vs. lakes,” April 10), it ought to be cracking down on lawn sprinklers.

Businesses and residents seem to think it’s necessary to irrigate their lawns every other day instead of watering when the lawn needs it, thus wasting untold gallons of water. Even worse are sprinkler heads that water parking lots, sidewalks and roads. When visiting the Twin Cities area, I have seen so much water running down the sewers, and it makes me wonder why people are so oblivious to the problems they are causing. It’s past time for people to realize green, weed-free lawns are far less important than our water supply.

Imagine the water that would be saved if lawns were watered once a week, or only when they need it, and if sprinkler heads watered only lawns and gardens rather than pavement. Water is necessary for life, and green lawns are not. Give White Bear its lake back.

Diane Hiniker, Grand Marais, Minn.

LIVING WAGE

What will you sacrifice, shoppers?

Want to create millions of jobs that pay a living wage? Answer these questions to see if you are really serious about jobs.

1) What is more important to you, low prices or other people working?

2) Are you willing to pay more at a local independent store than you do at a big-box store?

3) Are you willing to pay more for locally grown produce rather than the cheaper agribusiness products?

4) Are you willing to live in a less-efficient world where agribusiness is broken up in order to favor hundreds of thousands of small, family-owned farms?

The bottom line is that efficiency and automation are killing more jobs than those shipped offshore.

Final question:

5) Are you willing to live with less cheap stuff so that our family, friends, neighbors and fellow Americans can have jobs?

These are the questions that I’m struggling with right now. How much am I willing to change my life so that my fellow Americans can work?

How about you?

Les Phillips, Minneapolis

ORAL HEALTH

As always, prevention

As a practicing dentist for the past 30 years in Minneapolis and a former board member of Apple Tree Dental, I applaud the April 8 report on the lack of access to proper dental treatment for Medical Assistance patients (“Despite insurance, dental patients hurting”). The simple reality is that no dental practice can survive getting paid at 25 percent of the cost of treatment.

But there is a proven strategy beyond increasing payments: prevention. Although dental decay is the most common chronic childhood disease, it is 100 percent preventable. My practice has taken this mission to the next level by founding a school-based dental nonprofit called Ready Set Smile (readysetsmile.org). Our data show that 1 out of 2 children in the schools we serve have untreated decay. Untreated decay can progress to require extractions and other expensive procedures. Our program provides a classroom curriculum, and access to sealants and fluoride treatment. We employ allied dental professionals and community health workers to bring these services to the school community. Oral health becomes part of the schools’ culture in a nonjudgmental, atraumatic and culturally sensitive manner.

Our three-year data show we are dramatically reducing the number of children with untreated decay. Yes, the state needs to increase the abysmal insurance payments that our profession receives from Medical Assistance, but the oral health community also needs to think outside the box to solve the inequity in oral health care, because we will never drill and fill our way out of this crisis.

Adele Della Torre, Minneapolis

AMERICAN INCLUSIVITY

It’s mixed, to say the least

Regarding the April 9 article about the 75th Anniversary of the Bataan Death March (“I am not going to die”): I am a second-generation Filipino-American — I was born and raised here. During World War II, my father fought alongside Americans as a 15-year-old guerrilla resistance fighter in the Philippines. Later he joined the U.S. Navy and served for more than 30 years. I find it ironic that on the same weekend that the world was honoring Filipino World War II veterans like my father, a woman I had never met before looked at my face and told me, “You don’t have enough of a family history here to understand what it’s like to be an American.”

Eileen Matro, Minneapolis

ENERGY SUBSIDIES

It’s complicated to compare the costs of coal vs. solar

An April 6 letter on the topic of energy subsidies referred to a report by Lazard and stated several facts from that report.

What the letter writer stated was correct, but he left out key points regarding the cost and viability of renewable energy.

While I am not opposed to the use of renewable energy, it’s like all forms of energy — not perfect.

He stated that wind was between $32 and $62 and Appalachian coal was $60 to $143. These costs are for new plants and, for coal, include carbon capture, which has not been commercially proven and is extremely expensive. This would be similar to increasing the cost of wind generation by assuming the application of some technology to reduce the noise pollution from the blades. Using current operating coal plants that meet current environmental regulations as a comparative point would show the results differently.

He stated that the wind costs shown were unsubsidized. That is not totally true. The report notes the removal of the Solar Investment Credit but not the Production Tax Credit.

For solar, he fails to mention that the majority of current solar power is from residential rooftop units, for which the study shows the cost is between $138 and $222. For utility-scale solar, the costs are between $36 and $61 and use of acres of land.

Finally, solar does not work at night, and wind only when the wind speed is just right. If these sources are not available, fossil plants like coal and natural gas plants come to the rescue.

Dale Probasco, Backus, Minn.