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My dearest Minneapolis,

It'd hard to believe it's been 43 years since I first fell in love with you. Our relationship has seen more ups than downs, but you have to admit that the last few years have been the "downiest." You know. COVID. George Floyd. Riots. Crime. Ugh. You kind of let yourself go during all that, like you just didn't care about "us."

Maybe it's just the spring weather when love is in the air anyway, but I think I'm falling for you all over again. You get gussied up more often, just like the old days when you wanted to keep the spark alive. My must-try new restaurant list gets longer and longer. You're warmly welcoming back the sports team fans and the conventioneers. My calendar is full of theater performances. There is a big-name-artist concert announcement almost daily. When I'm in the North Loop or Northeast, I feel like I'm in the coolest of cool cities. I know it's not all you're doing, but the St. Anthony Falls are just breathtaking right now.

So what do you say we use that spark to rekindle our relationship? Dinner and a show this Saturday?

Steve Millikan, Minneapolis


Prioritizing one use over others

Regarding the Summit Avenue bike trail debacle: Summit is a historical, cultural, environmental, residential, recreational and tourist attraction, a 4-mile street that feeds the souls of St. Paulites and beyond. Yet a bold but narrow idea to make it a regional bike trail by parks and recreation enthusiasts has created havoc deeper than the potholes that sprouted over our long-suffering winter. Those who use Summit include car drivers enjoying a historical and cultural drive down a beautiful residential street and pedestrians who walk in pairs with dogs and children, or are on the run or just going for a stroll, taking in the grand homes. Tourists come to St. Paul and include a trip to Summit to connect to its rich history. Bicyclists use the street as a safe route with a designated path, sharing the road with other vehicles who share the same rights and responsibilities as drivers. Churches welcome their congregations, residents enjoy living on a beautiful road and businesses benefit from their Summit Avenue address.

That is the heart of Summit. Elevating its status as a regional bike trail is an idea that is shortsighted and tragic. Too many trees will suffer damage and removal with an elevated bike path next to the narrowed road. The essence of the street will dramatically change for residents, churches, businesses and tourists who contribute to the well-being of our fine city. Since the inclusion of a separate bike path on Summit, traffic speeds have decreased, bicyclists have used the street for recreational and commuting choices, and pedestrians have had wide sidewalks to stroll or run on.

Putting an elevated bike path on Summit will not eliminate or reduce car parking or street usage. Apartments without off-street parking need street access for their cars. Churches and businesses need parking to accommodate their patrons. Carbon emissions will not be significantly reduced with just this path. It will take a larger effort to meet these environmental needs. And bike commuters who travel more than 10 miles an hour will continue to use the street as the safest way to get to their destinations.

We are expecting or asking too much of Summit with this proposed regional bike trail. Summit is just a street with multiple types of users who share the beauty and value of its essence. There is no need for a regional bike trail.

There is a need to fix Summit's roadway. There is a way to keep its current use and value with better signage, good signs and traffic speed limits. The future of Summit Avenue should include all that it has been to its users and an opportunity to be a safer place for recreational use within its current design.

Cynthia L. McArthur, St. Paul


Safe now, but later?

The wolf is an icon of Minnesota. In the early 19th and 20th centuries, misguided predator extermination campaigns eliminated wolves from the Lower 48 states aside from Minnesota. In other words, our wolves have lived in the area that is now Minnesota since long before European colonization. This knowledge imposes a duty on us as Minnesotans to protect and preserve this species.

Minnesota is headed in the right direction with respect to its attitude toward wolves. According to a study by the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, two-thirds of the surveyed Minnesota residents agree that it is important to maintain a wolf population. These views are supported by science, which time and time again show that wolves are essential to balanced ecosystems. For example, a 2017 DNR study found that at least 40% of moose killed by wolves had significant health problems, such as tick infestations or brain infections. By targeting the weak and diseased, wolves keep prey populations healthy. And contrary to popular myths, most deer deaths in Minnesota are not caused by wolves — they are caused by hunter harvest and severe winter conditions. For example, Minnesotans harvested 170,550 deer in 2022, according to the DNR.

Despite the gains in attitudes toward wolves, work still remains. Some Minnesotans are pushing to trophy hunt and trap wolves if wolves lose protections under the federal Endangered Species Act. However, Minnesota should not sell out a unique part of its heritage by implementing unnecessary trophy hunting and trapping of wolves for sport. Instead, Minnesota should ban trophy hunting and trapping of wolves and step forward as a pioneer of responsible wolf conservation based on science and ethics.

Steven Pope, St. Paul


Bill won't do what proponents want

Concerning the April 29 commentary "More gambling will make more harm a sure thing": I applaud the efforts of Citizens Against Gambling Expansion, but HF 1938 does not advance their purpose of addressing problem gambling. The purpose of the bill is to advance the Minnesota Indian Gaming Association's ability to gain more control over legal gambling conducted with Minnesota.

Some history: The MIGA stated in a September 2016 Star Tribune article that it generates $1.8 billion of economic benefit in various ways to Minnesota and draw millions of visitors each year. The article further states their numbers cannot be verified because tribes don't publicly share financial information.

The issue at hand within HF 1938 House omnibus tax bill is the "open-all" feature of e-tabs.

The MIGA has aggressively lobbied within the capital for several years with the purpose of monopolizing gambling. Its current efforts will eventually yield it the licensing of sports betting. Despite this, it continues to flex its muscles to limit pulltab play within bar locations who co-partner with charitable organizations to generate revenue that ultimately are reinvested within their local communities.

Should MIGA be successful in getting HF 1938, it will only result in a modification of how e-tabs are played. In my opinion, the "open-all" feature will simply be replaced by a person tapping all spots on a game in play, and payouts will go unchanged. It's a technicality fight by MIGA, and I see it as a form of bullying. E-tabs will continue to exist.

Charitable gambling, like most all commerce, has evolved by incorporating new technology. For example, many people now choose to get their information electronically vs. paper print. People young and old have become more proficient and are transitioning to the use of electronic devices. The reality is that paper pulltabs will no longer exist someday, and many trees will be spared.

Kurt Cavalier, Champlin

The writer is a former charitable gambling manager.