I have been an avid gardener in the Twin Cities for 47 years. Growing vegetables, and eating what I've grown from seed, gives me great pleasure. My "signature" crop is lettuce. I plant seeds in a cold frame as soon as possible in March. This year I grew nine varieties, all with different color and crunch profiles. Our family, and friends and neighbors, start eating it in early May. It lasts until late June or early July, when it starts to bolt and get bitter from the heat. On Friday I picked it all, something I've never had to do before. Lettuce simply can't withstand this way-too-early two weeks of temps from the high 80s to near 100. From melting glaciers to West Coast drought, climate change is happening now, and it's all around us. But we just sit here, watching the catastrophe come closer and closer. Now it's reached my backyard.
Lane Ayres, Edina
As reported in the June 7 article "Manchin spurns Dems on voter bill" (front page), U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin's refusal to weaken or eliminate the filibuster threatens the passage of a bill to combat voter suppression. Because the filibuster can be invoked to block any "purely policy-oriented" legislation, Manchin's obduracy hinders legislation pertaining to climate change as well. It may be years before 60 senators can be persuaded to address the climate crisis.
We can't wait years. Climate scientists have concluded that if average world temperatures rise more than 2 degrees Celsius above preindustrial levels, our planet will suffer irreversible damage. An article published on June 8 ("CO2 in the atmosphere is rising faster than ever"), reveals that we are now halfway there. Manchin may consider himself to be a defender of institutional prerogative; I view him as a modern-day Nero who fiddles as the world burns.
Roger B. Day, Duluth
St. Paul needs its own Greenway
At the same time St. Paul and neighboring cities are busy trying to shoehorn bike paths onto city streets, they seem to be ignoring extraordinary opportunities for much safer bike and pedestrian trails along several old rail lines that are laced through our urban area. One important opportunity is the unused CP Rail Spur from the site of the old Ford Plant to Grace Street. From that area it could connect to the Shepard Road path and reach downtown St. Paul very safely. According to a St. Paul study, there is enough room on this right of way for both trails and transit.
There are many examples of the conversion of rails to trails around the country, but we only have to look at the Midtown Greenway in Minneapolis for one of the best. The presence of just the trails has spurred enormous private investment along the Greenway. Most important, it has provided a safe route for both pedestrians and bikers to quickly reach employers, services, stores and friends without the risk of a fatal collision with a motor vehicle.
Minnesota Department of Transportation Commissioner Margaret Anderson Kelliher has asserted that: "Creating safe places for people to walk is essential to improving equity and mobility, addressing climate change, and ultimately providing a better quality of life for everyone." The CP Rail Spur is a perfect opportunity for St. Paul to acquire this property and make her statement come true. With a parallel rail transit route in the spur right of way, there should be federal and state funds available. With many opportunities for substantial trail and transit-oriented development, all city residents would benefit from the growing tax base these developments would provide. Minneapolis showed us it can get done. Let's get busy, St. Paul!
James Schoettler, St. Paul
Shooting is not the solution
The headlines on Monday announced that Woodbury had joined other cities where the violence of gun shots has taken a life and left the tragedy of loss behind ("Boy, 14, was bystander at graduation party," front page). We'll learn more about this event as the investigation develops, but those details are less important than the impertinence of those who choose to settle issues of perceived disrespect with guns, regardless of the consequence. The pleasures and difficulties of life come and go, but the inhumanity of those who imagine the resolution of disagreement is in the recreation of shooting someone else is reprehensible and deserving not only the justice of law, but disdain from the rest of us. There are no happy survivors of violence, just pain and the lasting cruelty of loss. Together, with discernment and a commitment to each other, we need to stop this.
Steve Sandell, Woodbury
The writer is a member of the Minnesota House, District 53B.
Assumptions aren't helping
With the recent shooting of Winston Smith by members of a U.S. Marshals Service fugitive task force, I'm confused that when there's any shooting of a Black man these days, there is rioting and assumptions made of gross overreaction by law enforcement ("For a third night, protests in Uptown," June 6). If Smith indeed pulled a gun in an effort to evade arrest, then this case appears to be totally different than other recent shootings by law enforcement. There's got to be some way to differentiate justified and non-justified shootings by police. If the guy pulls a gun, then they'll shoot.
The rioting and looting aftermath around the area is outrageous, and here's a case where the police should've been aggressive in controlling the situation. I hope the police will be better trained to the point where any future shootings will be understandable and reasonable, and that the rioters and looters will be stopped before the majority of the damage occurs.
Barry Margolis, Minneapolis
GEORGE FLOYD SQUARE
Where was the communication?
The city of Minneapolis missed opportunities to communicate the plans to reopen George Floyd Square ("Crews clear barriers to George Floyd Square for second time," June 8). Neglecting to communicate the plan caused a lot of confusion and upset many people who have tended to the square for over a year.
I wondered immediately why stakeholders were seemingly not aware of these plans. Had they not been invited to the table? Did they decline to come? It seems the city of Minneapolis is leaning into community-led solutions, and I applaud it for that, but the city must take responsibility for communication of all the plans as the city is the entity that will be held accountable.
The squabble that followed the initial removal of barriers at George Floyd Square is an unfortunate distraction from the goals of all the parties involved. I suspect all parties can agree on most of the essential end results they are hoping for. I hope they all will decide there is much more power in working toward the right outcomes together, and not against each other.
Kathy McGinley, Minneapolis
There is something ironic about protesters insisting on the barriers at the 38th Street and Chicago Avenue intersection. Wouldn't it be more symbolic to remove those barriers reflecting the hope of removal of barriers to equal opportunity, equal rights and Black Lives Matter?
Kathryn Burow, Minneapolis