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A Jan. 19 Star Tribune article inspired our foster daughter to find the best cheeseburger in Apple Valley ("Siblings set out to find the best cheeseburger in Wayzata," StarTribune.com). She was new to our family when we read this article together, and it gave us a fantastic way to bond. Imagine how it would be as a 9-year-old to be in a strange new town. New family, new house, new bedroom, new toys, new neighbors, new school, new friends. The Star Tribune article, and the quest it brought her, made the situation a little less scary.

Sampling all the places in Apple Valley that serve cheeseburgers (there are 27) gave her a safe way to explore her new town. We went each Friday almost every week from January through September. She came up with 12 criteria to rate, including overall taste, meltiness of cheese and even quality of ketchup. The structured routine of Burger Fridays started a tradition in a situation where new traditions could be a much-needed start to her feeling safe and loved.

On a recent weekend, she presented a "Best Burger Certificate" to the Valley Diner, her top-rated burger. We think it made that manager's day, and it definitely made our foster daughter's. She's been talking about it ever since, and now wants to find the best pizza in Apple Valley.

Heartfelt thanks from our family. Teddy and Alison Spencer, featured in the Star Tribune article, inspired a little girl in Apple Valley on a path to happiness. Thanks for bringing this into our lives.

Michael Callero, Apple Valley


Glad someone's finally addressing it

I read in "Mpls. sets plan to curb violent crime" (Sept. 23) that Mayor Jacob Frey now considers safety the "paramount" issue for our city. That's great news for Minneapolitans, especially those who live here in the Third Precinct. But it does raise questions:

Why wasn't our safety a priority in late May of 2020, when our mayor told the Minneapolis Police Department to abandon the Third Precinct police building? And why will the new effort focus first on downtown, later (we hope) to trickle out to where I live? Surely not because of the downtown business community's support for Frey's re-election?

It is good to hear the mayor say that "this is not a halfhearted approach." Yet the details are missing. Will the new approach include safety for folks like George Floyd and Amir Locke?

John K. Trepp, Minneapolis


Wilson will protect our tax dollars

As taxpayers watch their budgets by searching grocery stores for substitute food items and the best prices and consuming less, it really hits home to me that our elected leaders in state government should do the same, too. That's what Ryan Wilson will do as our next state auditor.

People know the state auditor is responsible for making sure our tax dollars are being spent wisely, that the money goes to the programs and services for which it is intended, and that those dedicated dollars aren't wasted or subject to fraud. People want accountability in the state auditor.

I'm voting for Wilson for state auditor in November. Wilson is an experienced leader who ran a large medical-device auditing company. He's honest and will protect our local tax dollars by fighting waste, fraud and abuse. I want to know that cities, counties and school districts are being good stewards of the resources they receive from taxpayers.

Wilson has the leadership qualities people want in a state auditor — someone to set the tone for local government administrators and elected leaders to be good stewards of our tax dollars.

Linda Stanton, Woodbury


Scott Jensen for governor

People have asked me why I'm voting for Scott Jensen for governor. Please let me explain. I spent 13 years in the Minnesota National Guard, including a two-year deployment to Iraq from 2005-2007. When I returned from Iraq, I earned my degree in occupational therapy and began working in nursing homes providing rehab services. This was where I was working when COVID came to Minnesota. I was privy to many personal conversations with those most at risk of dying from COVID.

Gov. Tim Walz and Minnesota Department of Health Commissioner Jan Malcolm used the media to stoke the fear of death into healthy people, of all ages, in order to sell us out to Big Pharma. While pharmaceuticals are certainly a part of health care, health care is not only about pharmaceuticals. For a virus with around a 99% average survival rate, why couldn't we have a conversation about what it means to live a healthy lifestyle? We closed gyms and denied children in-person learning, yet kept liquor stores open? Come on, people! Imagine the outcome had the conversation shifted from fearing death to aging well with sound policies from the state Health Department to support this.

Scott Jensen recognized the urgency in fighting medical tyranny straight away and got to work. I appreciated this. He provided studies to back up what he was saying and would not be swayed by mere public opinion. He recognizes science is slow, methodical and it does not come with fancy slogans. Jensen has stamina and is steadfast — a real leader.

Margret Kallstrom, Anoka


Two Sept. 28 letters to the editor ("Walz is ahead because he's better") give solid, fact-based reasons to vote for Tim Walz and against Jensen for Minnesota governor. Here's another big reason, one that hasn't gotten nearly enough attention:

Jensen has proposed ending Minnesota's income tax, yet he's provided no plausible explanation of how he'd replace the lost revenue, which makes up about 50% of the state's state general fund revenue. The obvious question for Jensen, the question he and his fellow Republicans haven't answered and don't want to be asked, is: How would the state pay for schools, health care, public safety, human services, roads and bridges without the income tax? Please make your answer specific so we know exactly what you have in mind.

Steven Schild, Winona, Minn.


Work on the basics, please

Congratulations to Twins President Dave St. Peter and the rest of the brain trust of the Minnesota Twins in determining that the most urgent needs to move the Twins to the next level in 2023 are a 76% larger scoreboard and, more important, new uniforms ("Twins will make new fashion statement in 2023," Sept. 27). In 2021 the Twins sported six different primary uniforms, and I am sure the 2022 team had a similar number.

The results for both seasons were dismal but maybe if they had a wider selection of attire the outcome may have been better. On second thought the 1965, 1987 and 1991 Twins had only a home and an away uniform. Call me old-fashioned but as someone who's been a fan since 1961, I thought that pitching, hitting and fielding — the player inside the uniforms — is where the emphasis should be placed.

Bruce Lemke, Orono