10. You divide your year into more than six months to the fair and less than six months to the fair.

9. Not only can you list every Pronto Pup, cheese curds, Mini Donuts and foot-long stand, but you have definite opinions on which one is the best.

8. You’re glad when it rains on a day you’re going to the fair, because it will keep the lightweights out.

7. You scoff at using a map, and have no idea of the names of the streets. Instead, you navigate by instinct.

6. You return home with bags full of free stuff worth much more than your admission ticket.

5. You have trouble grasping how someone can say they’ve “done the fair” when they’re just going for a few hours once a year.

4. You have to go several days each year in order to eat all your favorite foods.

3. You know where all the bathrooms are, and you can direct someone to the closest good bathroom (that is, one that’s clean and has hot water).

2. When playing Whac-A-Mole, your children can beat the large men in muscle shirts.

1. You always go at least one of the first two days, because the grease is fresh!

Lynn Strauss, Plymouth

 

PRESCRIPTION DRUGS

To address painkiller addiction, open up medical pot program

I applaud Human Services Commissioner Lucinda Jesson, U.S. Attorney Andrew Luger and the Star Tribune Editorial Board for highlighting the need to address the alarming rates of addiction to and fatal overdose of prescription painkillers and heroin (“Minnesota needs state strategy to fight pain pill, heroin addiction,” Aug. 24, and “Pain pill abuses are aired at conference,” Aug. 26). While it will not be a panacea, emerging data suggest that modifying Minnesota’s medical cannabis program to allow intractable pain patients to legally use medical cannabis can help (“State weighs medical cannabis for chronic pain,” Aug. 26).

Medical cannabis is far less addictive and much safer for the patient than opiate-based painkillers, having resulted in zero fatal overdoes. Studies out of the University of California found that medical marijuana was effective at treating neuropathic pain, which is notoriously unresponsive to commonly prescribed painkillers Finally, research published in the Journal of the American Medical Association last October suggests that medical cannabis reduces the rate of opiate overdoses. Researchers found that states with “[m]edical cannabis laws …[have] … significantly lower state-level opioid overdose mortality rates” than states without medical marijuana laws.

The Department of Health should recommend that doctors be allowed to treat intractable pain with medical cannabis. Minnesota should not be criminalizing pain patients for using a safer treatment option.

Robert J. Capecchi, Washington, D.C.

 

The writer is deputy director of state policies at the Marijuana Policy Project

 

GMOs

Two ways of looking at the use of genetically modified organisms

Phyllis Kahn wants us to believe that anyone in the agriculture business is on the take and will ignore the obvious dangers of genetically modified organism (GMO) products because of financial interest. It seems a bit of a broad brush or rather a smear of a lot of good people. Also, using Mother Jones as a source seems a stretch. Some politicians are crooks, therefore, all politicians are crooks.

Joseph Williams, Minneapolis

• • •

Brava, Phyllis Kahn, for giving us a broader view of the consequences of using GMOs in animals and plants. As in prescription medications, these side effects should be made clear. Consumers need to know how their decisions might hurt animals and add chemicals to our landscape. GMO labeling is a good first step.

Clara Ueland, Long Lake

 

WATER

Take a lesson from Waukesha, and guard our lakes and rivers

Thank you for running the front-page story (“Great Lakes water spigot tightening,” Aug. 26) about Waukesha, a town in Wisconsin “once famous for its bubbling natural springs.” Alas, no longer. Now Waukesha is known as the town that let its God-given clean aquifers become contaminated and didn’t clean up its act. Instead it went into wishful thinking: The city could take water from the Great Lakes.

Let’s make “Waukeshaing” a verb, meaning “to let your state’s or city’s clean aquifers become contaminated and hope a new clean water source bails you out.”

Are we Waukeshaing in Minnesota — famous for our 10,000 lakes, famous as the keeper of the headwaters of the Mississippi River and Lake Superior — when we allow oil pipelines and oil trains to run through our 10,000 lakes and over the Mississippi to refineries located at the head of Lake Superior?

Are we Waukeshaing when we allow large-scale agricultural runoff to contaminate our lakes and streams?

We, the keepers of the Great Lakes watershed.

Barbara Draper, Minneapolis

 

BACK-TO-SCHOOL SPENDING

As you buy classroom supplies, don’t forget to use this tax credit

The article on the rising cost of school supplies (“Back to school with a very long wish list,” Aug. 24) is a stark reminder of the financial burden working parents carry during back-to-school time.

Missing from the coverage is the K-12 Education Credit and Subtraction — invaluable and overlooked Minnesota programs designed to help parents pay for school supplies.

Parents who save their receipts from school and educational expenses throughout the year can see a 75 percent reimbursement of up to $1,000 per child on their tax refund or can lower the tax they owe. Common expenses include notebooks, musical instrument rentals, computer hardware, tutoring, educational summer camps and more.

Tax credits enable parents to save money and invest in their children’s future. Prepare + Prosper partners with schools and community organizations to ensure more parents save their receipts for tax time. Given the rising cost of school supplies, parents cannot afford to let the K-12 Education Credit and Subtraction go unnoticed.

Tracy Fischman, St. Paul

 

The writer is executive director of Prepare + Prosper.

 

VIOLENCE

Another day, another tragedy in our gun-happy United States

Yesterday it was a hostage situation in a high school in Virginia where a gun-wielding child kept staff and students. Today I see that two news people were fatally shot on the air. What will it be tomorrow? You can bet there will be gun violence all across the nation. Enough! This is not a normal way for people to live!

Jennifer E. Kunze, Minneapolis