After reading "Scant hope in moose count" (Feb. 17) and recalling other recent coverage, I have some questions for the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR). Undoubtedly, the DNR is interested in reversing the trend, but how far can it go in using all of the tools of big game management? There has been virtually no mention of the two most important methods of habitat management: controlled fire and logging. Both methods reduce old-growth forests and provide for renewed growth of vegetation, which greatly increases the nutritional content of food. While forests containing climax species have value as winter cover, they are void of any meaningful nutritional value. A patchwork of both would greatly improve overall habitat. A healthy moose is able to ward off mortality factors that nature subjects it to. Now that the wolf is back under federal protection, this efficient predator is able to expand its range and population at the expense of the moose. The latest figures I have show that the Minnesota wolf population has far exceeded its goal of 1,600 and is now more than 2,400. How far out of balance will we get before the wolf population crashes on its own?
The Yellowstone wolf population has expanded so much that a sustainable elk population is in jeopardy. As a result, elk hunting in Montana and Wyoming is closed. Federal protection is limiting state officials' options. Look at the wolf predation Wisconsin is experiencing as it attempts to introduce an elk hunt in Jackson County. Yet there are no wolf control options. When the prey-predator interaction is out of balance, nature eventually will find symbiosis. However, the journey to finding that balance will not always match the original management intent.
JOSEPH POLUNC, Cologne
Editorial Board — and Sack — need a reality check on SCOTUS
Your Feb. 16 editorial ("Both Obama, Senate must do their duty") and Steve Sack's cartoon, both charging the Republicans with judicial obstructionism, fail to see the irony of the situation, because you are as blinded by partisanship as the senators you criticize. Where were your cries of obstructionism when then-Sen. Barack Obama voted against Supreme Court nominees Samuel Alito and John Roberts?
While I disagree with Obama's vote and seriously doubt he would have voted for any person nominated by President George W. Bush, he exercised his right as a U.S. senator. Them's the rules! The Star Tribune Editorial Board may not like the fact that the American people decided that the Senate has a Republican majority but, as Obama once said, elections have consequences. For those wanting a more progressive Supreme Court, quit whining about Republicans exercising their right and go earn it in the voting booth.
JIM TRIGGS, Edina
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In a statement released just hours after the confirmation of Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia's death, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said: "The American people should have a voice in the selection of their next Supreme Court justice. Therefore, this vacancy should not be filled until we have a new president." The American people do have a voice in this selection. The majority of people who voted in the last two presidential elections chose Barack Obama to make that selection. McConnell might not like who they chose, but it is very disrespectful to those voters to suggest that the person they elected to be president shouldn't be allowed to fulfill his constitutional duties.
KARL PALAZZOLO, Minneapolis
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Republicans in Congress have vowed to block confirmation of any Supreme Court nominee of President Obama. The president now has the perfect opportunity to make them eat crow. He simply needs to honor the legacy of the late Antonin Scalia by nominating a conservative to replace him. The Republicans would have little choice but to confirm the nomination, making them look like fools for supporting a major decision made by a president they so widely despise.
JAY GABBERT, Plymouth
Now kids need someone to do their laundry? Give me a break.
Is anyone else concerned that we seem to have a generation of college students who are too precious to do their own laundry ("Service lets St. Thomas students wash hands of dirty duds," Feb. 17)? They have free access to washers and dryers through prepaid fees, and yet they pay extra for someone else to do their dirty laundry! This is so they can "use their time more wisely." Can't they study while doing this task?
When I was in college and living in an "approved" off-campus house, I was thrilled when our landlady offered free use of her washing machine (no dryer available). The only catch was that it was an old-fashioned wringer washer. I was the only girl in that house who knew how to use one. Not only was I able to do my own wash, I often carried 18 credits a term, was on the dean's list, had a part-time job and had a great social life. It's all about balance and responsibility. These helicopter parents need to ease off and let the little darlings grow up. No wonder there are so many kids pushing 30 ensconced in Mom and Dad's cul-de-sac.
Linda Benzinger, Minneapolis
We were lost, and officers helped
On Feb. 15, my wife and I could not find Willow Street in Minneapolis. We had left Massachusetts on Sunday, taking Amtrak to Chicago and then renting a car to drive to Minneapolis. It was past 11 p.m., and we were tired. We made a wrong turn and — being senior citizens — we did not have a device to tell us where to turn. We are techno-savvy enough to have a cellphone and called our son, but he had just moved here three days before and was not able to figure out how to guide us. We had pulled to the side of the road on Lyndale and Hennepin with our flashers on, when a police car pulled alongside with its emergency lights on.
I explained that we were lost, but as it turned out, we were just past where we needed to turn. The two officers were most helpful. They described how we needed to proceed, but then they also led us through the complicated turns we needed to make to find our location. I did not get either one of the officer's names, but we would like to publicly thank them for their helpfulness. It gave us a very good first impression of Minneapolis, which will be frequented in the future, since we now have a grandchild to visit.
PAUL E. PEELLE, Amherst, Mass.