Shedding light on the plight of our neighbors

I’m grateful for Virgil Wiebe’s enlightened commentary on immigration policy (“For immigration policy, a timely prod,” March 9). I work with immigrants on a daily basis and see families torn apart because the father was deported for not having a driver’s license. The poorest of the poor are expected to come up with $10,000 (no bond — cash only). Many of these immigrants have been here for more than 20 years. They would gladly do whatever is needed to obtain documentation, but there is no path for them. Many thanks to Wiebe for exposing the truth about this desperate situation.


The writer is a Catholic Dominican nun who serves Holy Rosary Church.

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U made mistakes, but so did Star Tribune

The University of Minnesota is committed to being transparent and accountable. When we fall short, we correct it. Recent Star Tribune news and editorial coverage of Gopher women’s basketball coach Pam Borton’s contract extension did not report all of the facts and made an unfair insinuation (“Borton deal puts U on the defensive,” March 1, and “A contract blunder for U athletics,” March 5 editorial).

Last summer, the university negotiated a two-year contract extension with coach Borton. Did the university publicize Borton’s extension with a news release or press conference? No. And for that, shame on us. Borton’s extension received final approval just before the July 4 holiday, after Joel Maturi stepped down, and during the athletics department leadership transition. Publicity was simply overlooked.

As further evidence that the university did not intend to hide Borton’s contract, as implied by the Star Tribune, we also did not issue a news release about six other contract renewals last summer, including for wrestling coach of the year J Robinson and national champion women’s hockey coach Brad Frost. Holding us accountable for our mistake in not publicizing the contracts is fair game. But it is simply not fair, especially given evidence to the contrary, to imply the university intentionally tried to mislead the public or conceal information in this matter.

In its coverage, the Star Tribune also failed to report that under the state’s Data Practices Act it requested and received Borton’s original contract and the extension in October 2012. However, the Star Tribune did not report the extension until now — five months after the information was provided.

The bottom line: The Star Tribune should hold itself to the same standards it is expecting from us.

Eric W. Kaler

The writer is president of the University of Minnesota.

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Tell lawmakers moratorium is needed

The Minnesota wolf population has been steady since 1998 without a recreational hunt (“Wolf survey should guide lawmakers,” March 2). This tells us that the wolves are controlling their population without any “management” by the state. Wolves rely on their pack mates to survive. What happens to the packs when key members are killed? I’m no biologist, but when you kill more than 700 wolves, you are creating serious problems for the surviving wolves. Let your legislators know that you support reinstating the five-year moratorium on recreational hunting and trapping of wolves.

Mike Chutich, St. Paul

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Political parties must come together

Anyone who thinks opposition to nuclear energy is “antiscientific” and “Luddite” needs to recall that Dixie Lee Ray assured us the same thing (“Science denial is the province of the right wing. Right? Wrong,” Feb. 27). A former head of the Atomic Energy Commission, she served as governor of the state of Washington from 1977 to 1981. During her time as governor, she refused to close the nuclear waste dump at Hanford, Wash. It’s the most contaminated nuclear site in the United States. After decades of extremely expensive attempts to consolidate the waste from this one site, several tanks are leaking again. Long-term storage doesn’t exist, and our existing technology doesn’t provide a way to remediate leaks when they occur.

Walter Steinkraus, Maple Plain

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Consider alternatives in Minnesota debate

What options are there to calling a gay union a “marriage?” Many of the objections to legalizing gay unions in Minnesota would be gone if you called it a different name. Why call an opposite-sex union the same thing as a same-sex union? They just aren’t the same thing. There are options being discussed in other states. Why not discuss them here?

Mary Claassen, West St. Paul

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The recent Minnesota Poll indicated that only 38 percent of Minnesotans favor same-sex marriage (“A majority doesn’t want gay marriages,” March 6). This should halt any pending legislation at the State Capitol that would redefine marriage. The Minnesota court system has pending cases that could allow activist judges to subvert the majority of the people. Last year’s failed constitutional amendment would have prevented this. In our democracy, the majority would still have ruled.

Jonathan Stiegler, Burnsville

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Let’s get control of government spending

I understand the need for government to collect taxes. The cost of living has gone up. Just look at your grocery and gas expenses. However, it seems that every time I turn around, the government wants more. Every aspect of our lives is seemingly being taxed and regulated. Being a political moderate, I wonder if the politicians will ever stop the spending? Is there ever any talk of eliminating a program that isn’t working or curtailing some expansion of government? Is the answer to everything simply to tax and spend more? Is this the best we can do?

Joe Polunc, Cologne, Minn.