Due to my work, I pass the 35W Bridge Memorial almost every day. I have noticed that the water feature on the memorial wall has not been functioning all year. It was suggested to me that perhaps it wouldn’t be turned on until Aug. 1, the anniversary of the tragedy. Made sense to me — but that day as I went past, still no water.

As much as I would like to attribute this to budget constraints in Minneapolis, I meanwhile observe the many cranes adorning the skyline at the site of the new Vikings stadium just two blocks away. I would think that the cost to either operate, or repair, the water feature would be minuscule compared with the state’s and city’s portions of the stadium. By the way, I also noticed that many of our beautiful fountains in and around downtown were also not working until about a week before baseball’s All-Star Game. It just seemed odd to me, I guess.

Maybe our 35W memorial will be turned on in time for the 2018 Super Bowl … oops — I guess it will be too cold. Never mind.

Greg Pizzolato, Minneapolis


Focus on hearing aid costs, as with contacts

Reading that U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar is questioning the policies of contact lens makers in setting prices (Aug. 4) led me to thinking about another major need people have. I have worn hearing aids for several years now, following a traumatic car crash that took away much of my hearing. The pair I am now wearing cost $6,800, but I had to buy them (with a credit card!) if I wanted to continue teaching.

The price of hearing aids is much more obscene than that of eye care, and many people have to go without, leaving them with a lower quality of life. Insurance does not help those of us who yearn to hear better. (If people cannot afford contacts, they can turn to glasses.)

Please, Amy, look into the price policies for hearing aids also. Those of us who struggle to hear, in many venues, need a voice like yours in government investigations.

Rita Speltz, Minneapolis



Don’t like sanctions? Pray tell: Alternatives?

Not surprisingly, someone has written to criticize sanctions against Russia (“U.S., E.U. actions do more harm than good,” Readers Write, Aug. 2) and, not surprisingly, offered not one scintilla of an alternative.

Do nothing and Vladimir Putin (and anyone else with imperialist ambitions) will believe they can act with impunity, including shooting down civilian airliners.

Military actions are out of the question, other than non-troop assistance to Putin’s victim countries, in this case Ukraine. Military reprisals, most likely against those same victims, would increase tenfold.

Yes, Putin’s support ostensibly went up after the first round of sanctions, but whose poll results are those? And if sanctions are increased, how long will that putative support last? Already, we read that Russian businessmen are deserting Putin because the sanctions are being leveled at them. Russia’s economy is already stagnant, and sanctions will only intensify that.

No question, sanctions are the most effective weapon against would-be superpowers and the best deterrent against minor adventurists in smaller nations.

Kevin Driscoll, St. Paul

• • •

As a former American soldier who was stationed in Germany for three years during the Cold War, I was part of a proud legacy of soldiers who maintained stability and peace in Europe while honoring the many thousands of American soldiers who gave their lives for that peace and stability.

As President Obama recklessly pulls our troops from both Iraq and Afghanistan, we can already see the emergence of instability, death and destruction left in that wake. More disturbing, his action shows a complete lack of respect for the American soldiers who gave their lives in those missions.

Shame on President Obama and shame on America for the slap in the face that this message sends to all who served.

Corby Pelto, Plymouth



Here are a couple of down-to-earth issues

The Aug. 3 profile of the GOP gubernatorial candidates (“If they were governor”) touched on the issues that the Star Tribune likes to print: taxes, transportation, health care, etc. Notably absent are the candidates’ positions on two topics that come up time and again but fail to move forward. Those are the questions of Sunday liquor sales and Sunday car sales. I would venture a guess that a majority of the state’s residents are in favor of these, so why not tell us how they candidates would address the two issues?

Roger Berkowitz, Plymouth

• • •

We’ve lived in St. Paul for 37 years; we believe that a small-business man from southwestern Minnesota — Marty Seifert — is the best candidate for governor (as opposed to the Star Tribune’s Aug. 4 endorsement of Jeff Johnson in the Republican primary).

Seifert bridges urban and rural voters. He works across party lines and socioeconomic differences. His broad experience in education, business and government makes him the most qualified contender to lead our state.

Paul and Diane Ebert, St. Paul



Why I support the newcomer in this case

Endorsing a relative newcomer can be difficult, especially when the incumbent has been in office for 42 years. However, I am honored to support Mohamud Noor in the DFL race for Minnesota House in District 60B. Noor brings a rare combination of serious policy credibility and a fresh perspective.

Like the incumbent, Noor is not a native Minnesotan, but he has built a solid reputation as being hardworking and thoughtful, with a passion for education. He was appointed to the Minneapolis school board to replace the late Hussein Samatar because he understood key issues and could hit the ground running.

Noor and I met five years ago during my run for the Minneapolis Board of Estimate and Taxation, and in my conversations with him, he has shown a deep knowledge of the state budget and the lives of ordinary people, plus the ability to bring together a diverse community. A strong supporter of marriage equality — a stance that took courage — Noor is not afraid to work for what is right.

The incumbent has contributed much to our state, but the time has come to let another newcomer with a fresh and progressive agenda represent House District 60B. Noor’s dedication to representing everyone in a growing and changing district is admirable.

Please cast you vote for Noor in the Aug. 12 primary election.

David Wheeler, Minneapolis


The writer is president of the Minneapolis Board of Estimate and Taxation.