I have to laugh at the Aug. 3 letter writer (“The ‘me’ generation on wheels”) who responded to “The baby boomer RVolution: (July 29). When I was young, my uncle took me up to the Boundary Waters Canoe Area. The experiences I had with him in this wilderness had a profound effect on my belief that such areas must be preserved for all generations. I have camped in the BWCA in the winter (in a tent, on the snow) many times, and have marveled at the peace and quiet I have experienced in this environment. I am now 63 and have decided to continue my travels to wilderness areas with a camper. Sleeping on the ground is no longer an option for me. My 6-year-old grandson has accompanied me on several trips this summer. He loves going out with me in my canoe and is always asking about the wildfowl and animals we see. I hope his experiences with his grandpa will forever affect the way he sees the wilderness and that he will carry on my passion for the preservation of wilderness areas in our country. As far as the writer’s wishes to slow the pace of climate change, I suggest that he start at his place of voting and prevent the naysayers from being elected. As far as walking or biking to our communes with nature, I find it a bit ridiculous to expect me to bicycle with my grandson to Yellowstone National Park from here.

Tim McGee, Minneapolis

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Does the Aug. 3 letter writer, who is from Grand Marais, Minn., realize that the main income in Cook County comes from tourism? There’s negativity toward copper-nickel mining. There’s some logging, but most of the land is owned by the federal or state government. Where are the jobs going to come from?

Jon Mathisrud, Mendota Heights

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As part of the “me” generation, I want to push back at the Aug. 3 letter writer, who scolds us for blithely passing off climate change to the next generation. He recommends biking or walking to curb carbon emissions. However, individual efforts, while commendable, cannot solve such a severe and immediate global problem. To create a clean-energy future, government leaders must enact sane climate policy such as “fee and dividend.” The fee is on fossil fuels, and the proceeds are equally divided among U.S. citizens, not government or corporations. Out of concern for their children and grandkids, many boomers have joined Citizens’ Climate Lobby to promote this policy in Washington and all over the country. Now that’s taking responsibility.

Laurel Regan, Apple Valley

 

SEXUAL ETHICS

An excellent idea that is, to use Boy Scouts influence

The two most important institutions in my life (78 years) have been the Lutheran Church (ELCA) and the Boy Scouts of America. An Aug. 5 article in Opinion Exchange (“How about a merit badge in sexual ethics”) is one of the best ideas that has been suggested to the Boy Scouts organization. The only thing I would add is that one of the 21 badges necessary to become an Eagle Scout should be the one in sexual ethics.

Harry Forse, North Oaks

 

SOCIAL WORK

The efforts profiled in recent column are just what we wish for

As I lay in bed late on a recent evening reading the Star Tribune, I was truly touched by Jon Tevlin’s column about a veteran social worker and how she treats incredibly difficult situations as opportunities to make a difference (“Veteran social worker has seen it all — and then some,” Aug. 5). You see, I am the father of a special-needs son (cerebral palsy) who will eventually become a vulnerable adult. Rarely a day goes by without the thought of my not being around for my son and of him falling prey to people with bad intent creeping into my head. I can assure you that I would want someone who advocates for his best interests and who has passion for making a positive difference, instead of just viewing it as a job.

In fact, my wife and I have regularly hoped and prayed that if we pass away, our son will be overseen by someone with the passion, caring and can-do spirit that Carmen Castaneda and likely many in her role embody. I am an avid sports fan, but I know who true heroes are. I just read about one.

Jim O’Neill, Delano

 

A ‘BROKEN’ ARMY

Soldiers want to train, but current policy is not about that

I am a retired senior noncommissioned officer from the U.S. Army Reserve, and I have some insight into why the Army is “broken” (Opinion Exchange, Aug. 4).

This breaking happened after Desert Storm, as well, as the budget shrank. My units then were barely allowed to go to the field and train, and soldiers “fleeing” the active Army complained of the same. Competent officers left en masse. Noncommissioned officers expressed frustration. Soldiers became bored.

Our current drawdown is similar — I was happy, recently, to retire as I became frustrated over the lack of training being conducted. “Combat-readiness” has turned into “is every soldier current on online Anti-Terrorism Level 1, Cyber Awareness training, and is that soldier’s dental health good?” — it is all about “the numbers looking good on paper.”

Our soldiers want to train. They want to be ready to survive in combat.

Our national leaders are failing them and guaranteeing that more body bags should be ordered.

Mike Palmer, Eden Prairie

 

FRONT-PAGE DECISIONS

Think deeper, dear editors, and think more about juxtaposition

The Aug. 6 article on the best climate in the U.S. being San Diego and the worst being Minneapolis, based on the total number of heating and cooling degree days, is not an accurate measure of the climate, even if that measure is only limited to average temperature. The article (“Minneapolis can take cold comfort in its climate ranking”) assumes that people are always uncomfortably cool if the temperature is below 65 degrees and always uncomfortably warm if it is above 65. They will only be comfortable at exactly 65 degrees. This is, of course, absurd. Temperatures up to about 72 are comfortable even if it is humid and are comfortable up to 80 or even 85 degrees if it is dry. Similarly, temperatures down to 60 or even the upper 50s are comfortable if it is a sunny day. This summer in Eden Prairie I felt uncomfortable enough to turn on my air conditioner only during our few warm humid days.

The Star Tribune staff should vet articles like this that make the front page so that editors don’t come out looking ignorant. It looks like they wanted to give credit to the young person who came up with this information even at the expense of accuracy, which is the first principle of journalism.

Dean DeHarpporte, Eden Prairie

• • •

Dear front-page editors: Please lay the Aug. 4 paper out and carefully study. You framed a story about a little boy’s death at the hands of his father, and another about the church abuse topping 400 cases, around a story about a fishing outing with large text that reads: “It’s been an emotional day. It’s just a tragedy.” The tragedy is not found in a fishing trip on Lake Mille Lacs, but in the loss of life and innocence. You can do better. Our children and community deserve better.

Julie Carver, Minnetonka