I was deeply concerned by the news on the cover of the Aug. 21 local section. If you are like me and are a proud resident of the land of 10,000 lakes, you, too, should be concerned. A four-person household in the Twin Cities metro area uses 100,000 gallons of water per year. As a result, we threaten our state's most essential and beloved assets, our waterways. We must change the status quo with regard to lawn maintenance. It's a fact: Aquifer levels will plummet in the coming years if we continue overwatering our lawns. If this happens, you can count on our water recreation being considerably affected for the worse.

I value the quality of our lakes, rivers and streams above the quality of my lawn. I challenge readers (especially those who live in neighborhoods where pristine and lush grass is the norm) to take initiative and explore alternatives. Consider a garden with native plants. Consider a different grass species that requires less water. If you simply prefer a manicured lawn, water it much less. According to a University of Minnesota professor and turf-grass expert who was quoted in the Aug. 21 article, "You really need to water very little in Minnesota." So take the lead in your communities. Talk to your friends, families and neighbors about protecting that which makes our state so great.

Gary Lussier Jr., Minneapolis

Opposed? Know that there really are people who would benefit

Can our elected officials please get serious about funding Southwest light rail? Lori Sturdevant's Aug. 21 column ("Not even business support delivers light rail") was unfortunately as aggravating as it was enlightening.

I work at a school downtown, where we have students who are often trying to coordinate very complicated lives combining school, work and family. They need high-quality transit. My parents are over 65 and live very near the proposed line. They find driving both aggravating and daunting, especially in the winter and during rush hour. They need high-quality transit. These are not unique people with unique needs.

So much of the existing bus service we have in that area is underfunded and works only if you can use a rush-hour express. This may work for people who have a strict 9-to-5 schedule, but it is almost insulting to think that accounts for everyone's schedule, all the time. Those working any time outside of express hours (or even regular 9-to-5 employees who need to stay late at work) simply cannot use transit in the suburbs. Southwest light rail will provide a reliable, high-quality alternative to the traffic jams on Hwys. 100 and 169 and Interstate 494 for thousands and thousands of commuters. In addition, there are also real economic benefits to making the city more accessible and attractive to those who would use this service. Transit can improve quality of life for all of us, so can we please get serious and make this happen?

Brian Heller, Minneapolis

An excellent two-part series that leaves a lot to ponder

A two-part series published Aug. 21 and 22 was very well-written, highlighting the plight and difficult work of the courts, social services and foster care in trying to protect the children of American Indian families. The series shared tragic statistics and unbroken cycles of poor behavior, choices, along with addiction issues. It gave few answers, but left a lot of questions to ponder in terms of what is best.

Early on, the article refers to "the question that weighs heavily on [Judge Luis] Bartolomei: By saving the child, is he destroying a culture?" After reading the series, what culture is being destroyed, or what culture should be destroyed?

Richard Naaktgeboren, Maple Lake, Minn.

It's character that counts, not medals, or … taxes?

While the chase for medals appears to be overemphasized at Olympics, other factors may play an even greater role. The Olympic Creed states that "it is not so much winning as taking part" in such Games that is important, and I might add that it is how you participate.

Yes, the U.S. won more medals in Rio (including gold) than any other nation, but we do not top the medal tally when adjustments are made for population, GDP and/or medals per athlete. Indeed, our country ranked 43rd in medals per capita. That said, gymnast Simone Biles was one of the most exemplary members of the U.S. Olympic team, and not just because of her winning gold medals.

In the article "More than gold, athletes shine" (Aug. 22), several snippets suggested what was and should be the essence of sports events, including the Olympics. Sportsmanship, camaraderie, cross-cultural friendships and character-building, some if not all of which may be traced back to the original Olympic Games in Greece, are quintessential elements.

In this context, the intermingling of entertainers, athletes and spectators after the official closing ceremony provided a special, informal touch to these Olympics.

Richard Laybourn, Bloomington

• • •

According to an Aug. 25 article, state Rep. Pat Garofalo wants to let Minnesota's Olympic winners keep their winnings tax-free. The article further stated that the winnings for gold, silver and bronze are $25,000, $15,000 and $10,000 respectively, with the value of the metals being $600, $300 and $4. The article quotes Rep. Garofalo as saying "We don't want Olympians from Minnesota to have to pawn their medals to pay the tax bill." While I don't have an opinion on whether their winnings should be taxed, I do have an opinion on Garofalo's logic: It is idiotic, and if that is typical of his reasoning, he should be voted out of office.

Charles Snyder, Apple Valley

EpiPen episode should remind us why regulation matters

With a nod to "Casablanca," I'm shocked, shocked, that there's price gouging going on in the U.S. drug industry ("EpiPen price gouging shouldn't surprise," editorial, Aug. 26). But not so shocked at the outcry against any government regulation of the drug industry. U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota hasn't been able to get a hearing for her two drug price abatement bills, and the fact that Medicare cannot negotiate drug prices is absurd.

So what happens? The government doesn't regulate; prices rise beyond what can be justified by research-recovery dollars or a reasonable profit for a drug company, and, finally, the public demands action. A brave senator gets involved, the drug company cuts its price significantly, or a little, and, as the editorial points out, the cycle starts again with a new drug.

So we prefer arbitrary outcries when things get bad enough to government regulation that has to undergo hearings, legislation, rule writing and enforcement. Even our state high school hockey regulations are written with more logic than arbitrary outcries. Regulation is not the enemy; it's a way of insuring a rational life.

Elaine Frankowski, Minneapolis