My name is Elliot, and I am in fifth grade. I am going to tell you about why we are learning about bees. Bees are important because one-third of the things we eat are pollinated by bees. A few of the things that we like the most that are pollinated by bees include: almonds, corn, apples.

One way to save bees is to not use pesticides. Pesticides can kill us, so why would we think they would not hurt bees as well? Monoculture is another way bees can be at risk. Monoculture is when there is one type of crop and bees are released together to pollinate it. But bees should be fed many types of pollen. It is a lose-lose if the bees die, because we don’t get a lot of the food that we need!

Please consider helping bees by planting bee-friendly flowers, by not using pesticides and even making farms that only have bees and many types of crops. It will save us and bees! I want my city to become the first registered Bee City in the state of Minnesota. Please help us!

Elliot Thompson, Maple Grove


If you truly care about women, you’re in the wrong political party

It would be easier to empathize with former Republican state Senate Majority Leader Amy Koch’s unfair treatment (“Few know the public shame of private scandal,” Opinion Exchange, Oct. 31) if her deeply conservative behavior as a senator were not so hypocritical to her personal life. She and the party she represents have demonstrated that they are much more interested in corporate rights than the rights of the LGBTQ community, voter rights, social equality, climate justice or women’s rights.

According to a recent poll by, less than a third of Republican voters say they are “very ready” for a woman to be president. More than 70% of Democratic voters are in this category. I suggest she look at membership in the alternative party, if she is truly interested in women being allowed to rise on their merits, no different than men.

Mark Andersen, Wayzata


Don’t let the past tar the future

Here we go again with the relentless negative press about the Boy Scouts of America, which is raising rates to pay for sex-abuse lawsuits (“Boy Scouts to boost annual youth fees by over 80%,” Nov. 1). Yes, it’s true that some of the leaders abused kids in the ’60s, ’70s and ’80s, as in schools, churches, sports, theater, etc. What you never hear about is what the BSA has done to prevent this from happening since at least 1989.

As a former Scout and current leader, I can attest that the BSA has one of the most comprehensive and effective youth protection programs in existence. All adult leaders are required to take youth-protection training every two years and no adult is allowed to be alone with a Scout unless it is their child. Also, each unit does yearly education for all Scouts and parents on issues such as sexual abuse, cyberbullying, etc. These are difficult and uncomfortable topics to discuss, but the BSA tackles them head-on. I applaud the BSA’s commitment to youth safety and wholeheartedly recommend the program to appropriate-aged youths, regardless of gender, ethnicity, religious beliefs or sexual orientation. All are welcome!

Jeff Hickstein, St. Louis Park


Most exposure comes from homes

If you really want to help families avoid lead exposure for their children (“Get serious about this poison,” Readers Write, Nov. 1), I suggest you read a report the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency published in 1987 titled, “Soil Lead Report to the Minnesota State Legislature.” It was a joint effort by the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency and the Minnesota Health Department. It was driven by legislation in 1985 directing both agencies to determine if there was a lead issue in the state and if so to recommend corrective actions. I was one of the principle authors for the MPCA and Dr. Mark Schmitt did most of the statistical analysis. We concluded that lead-based paint was by far the largest factor in causing lead toxicity in children. Home interiors were the greatest factor, with lead-contaminated soil around the base of houses painted with lead-based paint next.

The MPCA tried to get the DNR to phase out lead shot, sinkers and other recreational lead, but we had little success.

Dale Trippler, Blaine


Guess what? Driving means traffic

Last week, I read a letter by a man who was frustrated by the commute time from his home in the suburbs to a Vikings game downtown (“It’s scaring away longtime residents,” Oct. 28). I’ve spent several days stewing in my annoyance about this man’s preposterous idea that driving to a Vikings game should be the most convenient way to get there.

It led me to this thought: Downtown does not exist for you to drive to.

Downtown Minneapolis has seen explosive growth over the past 10 years, which has huge benefits to our regional economy and our personal enjoyment. But downtowns are inherently not intended to be auto-centric. They’re intended to be places where multimodal commuting is most easily accessible and convenient.

The city has shown this with the investment into two light-rail lines, dozens of buses and dedicated bike lanes. Thousands of people use these every day to commute in and out of the city efficiently and comfortably.

If you choose to drive in and out of downtown Minneapolis, then you should expect that traffic and congestion is the rule and not the exception. The city provides innumerable options for visiting a Vikings game or any other event other than by car. So when you enter Minneapolis by vehicle, you should be prepared to wait, to sit and to cede your importance to pedestrians, bikers, buses and trains.

PeggySue Imihy, Minneapolis


We want Yang for the Sixth Ward

In these political times, our local democracy matters more than ever. Minnesotans are hungry for good government that is of, by and for the people. When a candidate like Nelsie Yang steps up to run, we should get behind her.

Nelsie, a racial equity organizer, was the first person to enter the Sixth Ward race in St. Paul and declare that East Side residents deserved a bigger vision. Her combination of new energy, clear ideas, a willingness to learn from others and a promising record of organizing and policy successes so far is a winning recipe for the ward. She would also be only the second renter on the council in a city that’s 50% renters, bringing greatly needed perspective in a rapidly growing, younger and more diverse St. Paul.

Since announcing her bid for office over a year ago, Nelsie has built an impressive grassroots campaign around people living dignified lives. On track to break fundraising records, her message is clearly resonating, showing a proven ability to engage residents too often left out of local decisionmaking. As a young leader she has still led the pack, surging ahead of other candidates for five straight ballots at her DFL Ward convention.

When there are multiple strong candidates on the ballot, we should look to the ones who are organizing and working to center the people. How a candidate will govern is based on her history of fighting in the front line alongside residents, business owners, unions and students. Look at the diversity of her campaign, because campaigns reflect how candidates will govern. Nelsie brings everyone to the table. She has our confidence and support because she will fight for everyone.

We encourage everyone in St. Paul to get to the polls and vote, and if you live on the East Side, vote for Nelsie Yang as your first choice.

Mitra Jalali Nelson and Dai Thao, St. Paul

Thao is a St. Paul City Council member from the First Ward, and Nelson is from the Fourth. Both are running for re-election and both won the Star Tribune Editorial Board’s endorsement.

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