Pope Francis has now come out and spoken about climate change, saying "it represents one of the principal challenges facing humanity in our day." The Environmental Protection Agency has come out with the report "Climate Change in the United States — Benefits of Global Action," highlighting the significant advantages of preventing climate change. At the same time, the Minnesota Department of Transportation has made a change that appears to ignore the potential consequences of climate change. It has recently increased the speed limit on the 9-mile stretch of Interstate 94 from I-694/I-494 to the Wisconsin border from 65 mph to 70 mph. On average, this change will reduce the fuel efficiency of vehicles by a significant amount — 9 percent. The amount of time saved to travel this route is insignificant — 36 seconds. Having thousands of vehicles every day sending more global-warming emissions into the air is an extremely poor and unwise trade-off.
Even though there are differing opinions on the issue of climate change, I would hope most of us would be willing to occasionally give up 36 seconds of our time to prevent the potential catastrophic effects. I encourage concerned individuals to leave a comment on the MnDOT website.
Pat Hinderscheid, Mendota Heights
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In mid-July, the Metropolitan Council will consider Dakota County's plan to insert a 6-mile, 8-foot-wide, multiuse, flat asphalt trail through the interior of Lebanon Hills Regional Park. Survey after survey clearly demonstrated that the residents of the county do not want such a trail. Yet five out of the seven county commissioners sent this proposal to the Met Council, requesting millions of dollars.
The federal government wants an 1,800-mile corridor from Duluth to Dallas for the preservation of the monarch butterfly; the state of Minnesota wants 50-foot grass buffers on all streams and lakes for the express purpose of clean water and habitat restoration. Yet five Dakota County commissioners want hills leveled, mature stands of oak savanna turned to sawdust and much of the cleared land turned into an asphalt trail.
Additionally, they want Legacy money to build it. The aim and intent of the 2008 Legacy Amendment do not provide for degrading natural areas. If you are tired of this arrogant, blind behavior and you don't want to take it any more (see the ruination of Spring Lake Park), please send your comments and ask the Met Council to stop this proposal: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Mike Stinson, Apple Valley
WHAT'S IN A NAME?
About that well-known lake in southwest Minneapolis
A June 23 letter writer says about John C. Calhoun that "[c]ertainly he was wrong on slavery," but it was a trifle when compared to Calhoun's other accomplishments, apparently.
The letter writer also says: "Like Jefferson, Jackson and Washington, Calhoun died before the Civil War commenced, so we have no idea where he'd stand on secession." That's absurd. Calhoun whipped up sentiment in South Carolina against the 1832 federal Tariff Act, which resulted in South Carolina's Nullification Act: secession lite. President Jackson told Calhoun that he was "standing on the brink of insurrection and treason."
John C. Calhoun is the father of American sedition and treason on behalf of the cause of slaveholding. He is utterly unfit to be the namesake of a lake in the state that raised so many Civil War heroes, including those of the Minnesota First Regiment, which, on the second day of the Battle of Gettysburg, plunged into a hole in the Union line and held, virtually sacrificing itself, saving the day, the battle and maybe the Union.
I recommend changing the name to Lake (Col. William) Colvill.
Steve Timmer, Edina
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We should all sign the petition to change the name of Lake Calhoun, but let's face it: A new name for such a venerable landmark can't simply be decreed into existence. It wouldn't stick in the public mind until every Twin Citian now alive is dead and then some.
I propose a solution that will dissociate Calhoun, the bitter-end racist, from Calhoun, the lake we know and love — a solution that sidesteps the need for everyone to pretend they're getting used to a change they'll never get used to. Let's just rename the lake in honor of some other Calhoun. Perhaps William "Haystack" Calhoun, the great professional wrestler. Or Alice Calhoun, the venerable silent film star. These are just Wikipedia suggestions. I'm sure if we put our heads together, we would find a suitable Calhoun to honor. Perhaps a nice Minnesotan. Then we can all go back to not thinking about John C., as we stroll around a lake that, frankly, has long since been named for only itself, anyway.
John Diepholz, Minneapolis
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I have a suggestion: We rename Lake Calhoun to be called Lake 1, and while we're at it, we can rename Lake Harriet to be called Lake 2.
Mike McLean, Richfield
It took a massacre to make contributions undesirable?
So they're returning the money ("Republicans returning money from supremacist," June 23). That's nice. As a white "liberal," my question is: Why now? Sadly, the obvious answer is the horrific shootings in Charleston, S.C. So would these elected officials have kept the money if the shootings had not occurred?
The cost of being a liberal is having faith in government. That entails having expectations — perhaps naively — that our elected officials are stand-up kind of people. I suppose it's feasible that these elected leaders didn't know that they were holding "dirty money." A public explanation to that effect would be welcome. On the other hand, if they knew the source of this funding, a public apology would go a long way.
Richard Masur, Minneapolis
It's still too difficult to know what to do with what items
Reading about money-losing recycling companies ("Recycling stalling nationwide," June 22) was distressing. In our family, we are dedicated recyclers. Sometimes it is difficult to know what is and what is not recyclable in the big blue bin. It would be helpful if product makers would print the contents of their packages or products. As an example, we get soy milk in a cardboard carton lined with either aluminum foil or silver-colored paper; hard to know. Also hard to know if it should be recycled or composted or sent to the landfill.
With knowledge of contents and clear and comprehensive directions on the recycling web page, we could make a more informed decision.
John Ramsey, Minneapolis
What's in a rummage sale? Nothing less than a better world.
During times like these, we need good news about good people doing good things. A big rummage sale at a parish on the outskirts of Osseo presents a great example. Again this year it was a huge success — due largely to the 400-plus volunteers who put in about 2,500 hours to make it work. The proceeds go to southern Nigeria to get poor and exploited children off the streets and into school.
Everybody, no matter where they live, no matter if we know them personally or not, has immeasurable value. That certainly includes African children. Another point is that the education dollar goes a lot further over there than it does here, so those kids will gain almost more than we can imagine — and not just financially. Maybe one of them will even be president of Nigeria someday, with all the good that can do.
Then there are all the people living here who found incredible bargains. Many people contributed items for the sale. Many of those people undoubtedly realized they could have sold certain items for their own profit elsewhere. The volunteers benefited too, not just because they can feel good about doing good, but also because they developed a bond with each other. There is no price for that.
No wonder the sale is very appropriately called "Bargains and Beyond."
Jim Bartos, Brooklyn Park