Minnesota's rollout of vaccinations got way more complicated Thursday when the state Health Department rolled out the chart to tell us when we can expect to get vaccinated ("New vaccine timetable lays out who's next," front page, Feb. 26).
I applaud the state's effort to prioritize health care workers, teachers, front-line workers, and those with cancer, transplants and immune-suppressed treatments, as well as the elderly. But in its effort to prioritize risk, it is creating a complicated set of competing communities.
How the state delivers vaccines is crucial, and this plan guarantees confusion and stress for those waiting. As one reporter said yesterday following the governor's rollout of a timeline, "The devil is in the details." When the state allows vaccinations for multigenerational families, does that include those of us doing day care for our grandchildren so our children can keep working? One third of Minnesotans qualify as obese; who will determine who is obese enough? Over 340,000 Minnesotans have been diagnosed with diabetes; who will determine if their diabetes is serious enough?
Those of us in the 55-to-64 age group are more likely than those younger to be hospitalized due to COVID, based on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention chart, and many of us from all communities — Black, white, Hispanic, Asian, Somali — are providing infrastructure to our families, supporting parents in their 80s and 90s and taking care of grandchildren so our children can continue to work. Nevertheless, we are third to last in the chain of risk, depending on whether we have one risk factor that qualifies.
And which underlying illnesses qualify? Asthma? A missing spleen? Graves' disease? Is a neurological illness a risk factor?
In Connecticut, the governor just declared he would continue giving vaccinations according to age group because simplicity will expedite the vaccinations, and given the state's record so far, it is proving true. Complexity isn't reassuring; it's anxiety-producing. The new chart does little to appease anxiety; it actually makes me wonder how such a complicated process can possibly achieve its goals.
Carol Dines, Minneapolis
U.S. STRIKE IN SYRIA
Another president, another abuse of war powers
A month into his administration, President Joe Biden has returned us to hot war with an aerial attack in Syria ("U.S. hits Syrian sites tied to Iran militias," Feb. 26). Congress has not authorized war in Syria. It's hard to argue against defending our troops. It's also well past time to ask what our troops are doing in Iraq. President Donald Trump's "America First" motto did not make U.S. goals clear. Trump declared we were only there to defeat ISIS, but now U.S. troops are not directly involved in that fighting. Iranian-backed militias played a large role in taking back territory from ISIS. Most U.S. troops have left Iraq. After the U.S. air attack killed Iranian Gen. Qassem Soleimani and nine others on a Baghdad airport road in January 2020, the Iraqi assembly passed a resolution that all U.S. troops should leave. The resolution was "nonbinding," because the Iraqi presence of U.S. troops is based on an agreement with the Iraqi prime minister.
The U.S. Congress has ceded authority over war to the president through the open-ended Authorizations for Use of Military Force of 2001 and 2002. It is time for Congress, including both liberals and conservatives, to take back that authority and tell us why our troops continue to serve in harm's way.
James Haefemeyer, Minneapolis
Involvement in the resistance spans the generations
It is not just young activists who are intent on stopping Enbridge's Line 3 ("Their line in the sand," Feb. 24). A few weeks ago, seven of us from Mayflower Church, ages 30 to 80, spent half a day protesting and praying at the spot where Line 3 is intended to cross under the Mississippi River. Churches and other religious groups are adopting a day to support the water protectors at the site near Palisade, and are bringing a meal to those at the encampment. The movement demanding clean-energy jobs for Minnesotans and keeping fossil fuels in the ground is growing.
Personally, I intend to go to that place near Palisade whenever I can, in honor of my father (who is dying now at Episcopal Homes in St. Paul after a lifetime as a Congregational minister) and in honor of his second great-grandchild who is gestating in his granddaughter's womb. As he dies, I want him to be assured that there will be a viable Earth for future generations.
The Rev. Sarah Campbell, Minneapolis
The writer is team lead minister at Mayflower UCC.
My school doesn't censor student reporting. Others shouldn't, either.
As my school began the transition into hybrid learning back in October, my co-editor-in-chief and I reported on teachers not feeling ready to return. The story included quotes from teachers saying they felt the administration wasn't hearing them. We were able to write a story like this because the newspaper at my school isn't censored.
Not every student journalist would be able to publish a story like that without the fear of censorship or prior review, but I do it all the time. These are the stories student journalists must cover. We have an essential role as the voice for the students and staff.
Censorship or prior review is not a concern of mine. When pitching a story, I'm not worried about what my school's administration will say if we publish it. Instead, I'm thinking about what students, staff and community members should know. Attending a school that is not subject to censorship allows me to start creating good journalism practices for myself.
Student media having the right to cover their school freely should not be as rare of an occurrence as it is. New Voices legislation — which has already passed in 14 states — needs to be introduced and passed in Minnesota. This legislation protects student press rights and gives other student journalists the ability to report like me and my fellow staffers do.
Every student should have the opportunity to freely cover the students and staff of their school without being subject to censorship or prior review.
Talia Lissauer, Minneapolis
The writer is co-editor-in-chief at Echo at St. Louis Park High School.
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In response to the article about the Chicago Tribune being acquired by the Alden hedge fund, I would like to express my thanks to Glen Taylor for his dedication as owner of the Star Tribune ("Tribune agrees to be sold to Alden," Feb. 17). We truly have one of the last of a dying breed of newspapers here in the Twin Cities, a paper that has excellent local reporting, a great sports team, a Variety section covering the arts, theater, food and birds, as well as coverage of our local businesses, be they Fortune 500 companies or the latest startup by a newly arrived immigrant to our city on Lake Street. The photographers are top-notch as well, bringing us scenes from around our great state. We also have a great editorial staff that fosters discussion in the community and holds our elected officials accountable. When I used to travel (pre-COVID!), I'd read the local paper and always compare it to the Strib. In almost all cases, I found the Strib did a much better job of covering the news that matters to Minnesotans. Thank you for all you cover, and thank you, Mr. Taylor, for your continued support. We have it lucky to have the Star Tribune as our local newspaper.
Jonathan Beck, Minneapolis
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