In "Decision close on next priority groups" (front page, Feb. 24), Gov. Tim Walz said, "There's 65-year-olds that are healthy and are simply not standing in line yet." And: "We want them to get it, but we can't hold up giving it to others while we are waiting for somebody to decide whether they're going to take it."
I've got news for Gov. Walz: My wife and I, 66 and 67, want to get the vaccine, but we can't find a line to stand in. We've been trying for weeks with no luck. Using the state's vaccine locations website we can't find any site taking appointments. And our health care clinic is only taking appointments for people age 75 and older.
Please find us a line to stand in, and we will gladly take a spot.
Michael Prieve, Lino Lakes
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Wednesday's top front-page story informed us of the good news that COVID drugmakers told Congress to expect a big increase in vaccine doses in the coming month ("Vaccine makers vow supply surge"). By the end of March, Pfizer and Moderna said that they expect to have supplied 220 million doses, up from the 75 million so far. The article next to this headline talked about Gov. Walz and the Minnesota Department of Health's plan to expand coverage to people under age 65 with underlying health conditions and workers in essential service jobs. With greatly increased doses coming in about five weeks, this seems prudent. State Senate Republican leadership's criticism of such a plan seems unwarranted. Sen. Karin Housley doesn't see a need for a plan to expand to other groups until we get seniors vaccinated first. Getting seniors vaccinated first is the plan. Around 42% of us senior citizens so far have received at least one dose, and it's increasing each day. A couple of weeks ago, I knew of no one who was vaccinated. That has changed quickly. So, thanks, guv and MDH, for thinking about something so novel as a plan.
Gregory Sater, Shoreview
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So far I have seen the COVID shot being administered at locations run by the state, the county, local health providers, drugstores and grocery stores, among others. I do not wish to second-guess the approach to delivering the shot to the public. I hope and assume that due consideration is being given to the capacities of the facilities to accomplish the task, along with case mapping and dose availability as the driving forces in the decisionmaking process.
With that statement out of the way, let's get into my beef. I was fortunate to be one of the shot lottery winners about a month ago and will receive my second dose next week. I am thankful that I was that fortunate. My wife is slightly older than I am and has poorer health. She has, so far, not been picked in the lottery. I also go through the ritual of checking each of the avenues in the system to find her a shot. So far I have not managed to be in the right place at the right time.
At this time, since she has not received the shot, we are not able to make any changes to our lives yet. Her, for the obvious reasons. Me, because even though I am 95% protected, I can still carry it back to her. Gradually more of our friends are joining us with that situation — an over-65, two-person household, one with the shot and one without.
Why does this matter? If both people in the over-65 household had the shot, it would free us up to get out there and start spending money again. Get back to shopping for the grandkids, restaurants, travel, help at church or charities. Get our money flowing again. Remember the high percentage of wealth the over-65s control! Possibly even some decrease in the COVID unemployment could happen — there are some of us who need to, or sometimes like to, work part time.
Get this right and get us back out there spending our children's inheritance.
David selbo, Prior Lake
ENBRIDGE LINE 3
No one thought to talk to workers?
The Feb. 24 front-page piece titled "Their line in the sand," about Enbridge Line 3 protests, reads less like journalism and more like a news release for radical lawbreakers. Two specific concerns:
First, its sources are one-sided. The story is apparently trying to convey the viewpoint of young Minnesotans. Did no one at the Star Tribune — from the reporter up through the masthead of editors — think to solicit the input of the many young Minnesotans working to build the pipeline? Did you intentionally exclude that viewpoint because it didn't fit your predetermined narrative? Or did it not even occur to you to ask people who use equipment to build things for a living because you don't deign to run in those circles?
Those workers are worth hearing from. When I've met unionized pipeline workers over the years, I've heard them describe their pride in having family-sustaining jobs building safe infrastructure that Minnesotans use every day. (Someone may want to tell the protesters that the propane in the heaters "keep[ing] them warm at night" likely was refined from the oil flowing through the existing Line 3.)
Second, your coverage romanticizes the protesters' illegal actions. The law sets forth a process for evaluating projects. Project opponents had six years' worth of days in court to make their case. Now, the Line 3 project has cleared every legal hurdle — but people dissatisfied with the outcome are physically obstructing construction.
If the journalist or editors had any experience working in a setting where people build infrastructure for a living, they would know how spectacularly dangerous to human life those actions are. Yet the story waxed poetic about the precise methods the protesters use to stop construction and the protesters' self-justification for doing so.
A thought experiment: I would love to have a Corvette. If I broke into a Chevy dealership and stole one, would you lend me the Star Tribune's megaphone to trumpet my precise methods of breaking in and my rationale for doing so? Likely not. So, why is the Star Tribune indulging and broadcasting protesters' lawless fantasies here?
In conclusion and in full disclosure: Previously in my career, I worked in a paid capacity with companies directly involved in the issue of Line 3, but I no longer do so. I'm left, though, with the knowledge that the underlying policy issues of energy and the environment are complex. Our society will need to focus on facts and evenhanded analysis as we navigate our way forward.
As a subscriber, I hope the Star Tribune will strive to provide those facts and evenhanded analysis in its coverage. It fell short here.
Cam Winton, Minneapolis
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It was disappointing to see the recent article about Enbridge jobs that viewed the project in such a negative light ("Majority of Enbridge workers are not from Minnesota," Feb. 19). To start, we, as Minnesotans and Americans, should be applauding any project that is moving forward and creating jobs at this time.
The last year has been a year of challenges and uncertainty. Families across the state and country have been out of work and struggling.
But now, because of the construction of the Enbridge Line 3 replacement project, there are 5,000 individuals working again. There are thousands of families who are bringing home a paycheck once again.
Not only should we be grateful for these thousands of direct pipeline jobs, but we need to look at the bigger picture here. This means 5,000 people driving to and from work on this project. They are stopping at gas stations and staying at hotels in rural Minnesota that have been hit by the lack of tourism and travel. They are shopping at our local hardware stores and small Main Street businesses, which have been hurting due to recent shutdowns.
This project is a good project, and it has led to millions of dollars of employment, taxes and ripple-effect spending across our state when we really need it. I can speak for many of us in northern Minnesota when I say we are extremely grateful for this pipeline project and all the benefits it's bringing to Northern Minnesota.
Kurt Sawyer, Backus, Minn.
The writer is the mayor of Backus.
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