It does not go unnoticed that the unfortunate deaths at Minnehaha Academy were those of a clerical and a custodial staff member. The dedication of such employees every day is the unsung backbone of our schools, along with the food-service and other support positions. Without them, our schools fail to function. When you take your children back to school this fall, remember that these people are often the first face they see in their day, the first line of defense in a crisis and the last to leave the building each and every day.

Teach your children to respect them as equals in every way to every other adult in the building and thank them for their services, please.

Laurie Stammer, Buffalo, Minn.

• • •

I am an alum of Minnehaha Academy. I taught there and coached there, and my child is a student. I have been glued to coverage of what has happened at my beloved school, and I appreciate it so much, but there is a trend developing in reporting I feel a need to rectify:

The Star Tribune (along with other outlets) has reported the cost of tuition for attending Minnehaha. This seems to imply that Minnehaha is a privileged enclave for the wealthy. I will not deny that there are many affluent families who attend and donate to Minnehaha, but they do so for the likes of me.

Minnehaha rarely charges families what its posted tuition states. It works privately with families to truly charge only what that family can afford. I believe that when we put our money forth, we work harder for that thing, and I have no problem paying for the amazing education and community that my son (he will be entering fourth grade) receives. I don’t expect it for free, but Minnehaha charges me next to nothing. And I think your readers should know that.

Let me tell you, Minnehaha is the best. It is a community that is like no other, and I would hope and pray more that young people — more people — would get to be a part of it and see it right now. It is not perfect. It is as complicated as any in the world of humans, but the love and support that supersedes all else is unlike most places I’ve ever been.

I appreciate the coverage of the tragedy that has befallen my beloved alma mater, but you need to know that side of the school. It’s only fair.

Becka Thompson Linder, Minneapolis


Mayoral candidate Frey flouts a precedent on campaign finance

Almost daily, we see our democracy degraded by the violation of ethical norms that used to govern our leaders’ behavior. It seems the only standard of conduct still remaining is breaking, or not breaking, the law.

I wish we were immune in Minnesota, but we’re not. The Aug. 2 article “Mayoral race off to a spendy start” noted that one candidate, City Council Member Jacob Frey, had a $177,000 advantage over his opponents using funds “he raised as a council member.”

The article failed to even note that this is a huge break from decades of precedent. Before Frey kept his existing committee while changing the office he was running for, every previous candidate set aside their current bank accounts and filed a new committee to run for mayor. They all followed this practice whether they were first-timers like R.T. Rybak in 2001 or current officeholders like Council Members Sharon Sayles Belton in 1993, Lisa McDonald in 2001, or Betsy Hodges, Gary Schiff and Don Samuels in 2013.

If Frey followed the precedent, he would be limited to transferring only $1,000 to his mayoral run. Because he was willing to defy these norms, he gets a $176,000 head start over the competition. This is bad for democracy. Are we so jaded that we are not even going to take notice?

Carla Kjellberg, Minneapolis

• • •

Frey’s use of $177,000 of his City Council campaign dollars to run for a different office, that of mayor, is an affront to transparency in elections. Have the people who donated to Frey’s City Council campaign been informed that their contributions are now being redirected to a totally different purpose? Shouldn’t they have been informed at the time they signed their checks that this was the plan?

Larry Weiss, Minneapolis


Even without Trump-backed legislation, we’ve gone astray

President Donald Trump’s move to curtail legal immigration might not become law, but it already has become practice (“Trump supports bill to cut legal immigration by half,” Aug. 3). We have a long-standing sister church relationship with Second Baptist Church of Leon, Nicaragua. Since 2003, we have enjoyed consistent visits with the members of our respective churches. Since 2008, we have welcomed a handful of visitors from Leon every three years. Each needs to get a visa from the U.S. Embassy in Managua. We had very little problem with getting visas until this year.

In March, all six members of our sister church were denied visas. They all had good paperwork and were selected by their church to represent them (quite an honor). They licked their wounds and worked up the courage to reapply in July. Three were granted visas the second time around, but three others were denied, two of them for a second time.

Each application costs $160, plus travel to Managua. The denials feel usurious, unjust and just plain mean. Visiting people from other countries hold up a mirror to us and make us more caring citizens. We can and ought to be better than this.

The Rev. Doug Donley, Mounds View

The writer is pastor of University Baptist Church in Minneapolis.

• • •

My maternal grandfather migrated from Belgium in 1862. Grandfather spoke not a word of English and had a third-grade-equivalent education. In 1862, he enlisted in the 26th Wisconsin Volunteer Infantry and was wounded at the Battle of Gettysburg. After receiving his honorable discharge in 1865, he came to Minnesota and became a successful farmer. His 1908 obituary described him as devoted to his church and family and as an outstanding citizen. Under the legislation backed by President Trump, this honorable man, and many like him, would not have been allowed to enter. Very sad. Under these proposed laws, it is unlikely that Trump’s German-speaking paternal grandfather would have been allowed to enter. No President Trump! Sad.

Richard Raser, Savage

• • •

Recently, while my wife and I were dining at an ethnic restaurant where all of the employees spoke to each other in their native language, undecipherable to the customers, something apparently quite funny was said by one waitress, since the others effusively laughed.

No matter how varied humanity’s representatives may be, we all laugh alike. News footage of countless tragedies, including war, makes clear that we cry the same as well.

Since our joys and sorrows are common to the entire species, shouldn’t we want to maximize the former and minimize the latter, by being kinder to those we’ve wrongly been conditioned to view with often hateful bias?

Progress toward that goal is seen in a beautiful sign that some good folks have on their lawns. In Spanish, English and Arabic, it reads: “No matter where you are from, we’re glad you’re our neighbor.”

Dennis Rahkonen, Superior, Wis.


Another destructive act. When will our lenient laws catch up?

A driver who struck a road construction worker told police she had been looking at her phone (Star Tribune, Aug. 3), and now that road worker — a mother, future wife, friend and daughter — is fighting for her life. The last paragraph of the article reports that the case will be reviewed by the Anoka County attorney’s office, which will decide if charges are warranted.

We need laws changed now. This is no different from drinking and driving.

Caroline Johnson, Fridley