I am so glad a professional truck driver wrote to the paper with lessons for the road while wishing us all a safe summer (Opinion Exchange, May 23). Until driverless cars and trucks take over our highways, I have one more suggestion to get us safely through the summer months. Purchase a blind spot mirror; they're cheap. The mirror should be installed so that it provides a view of the blind spots to your right and left when sitting in the driver's seat. This tiny piece of equipment has proved to be invaluable to so many drivers out on the road. Being aware of where other vehicles are located while traveling 60 or 70 miles an hour is absolutely crucial. When seconds count, a simple glance at the blind-spot mirror to see if anyone is hanging behind your vehicle sure beats guessing if someone is there. Typically, people strain their head and neck around to see what's behind their bumper. Not a good idea. Pay attention. Blind-spot mirrors save lives.

Sharon E. Carlson, Andover

• • •

Thank you, Bill Krouse, a professional truck driver, for sharing what it takes to make our lives easier and safer!

I would add that keeping your distance behind a rig is so important. If you cannot see their rearview mirrors, they cannot see you. Please honor these wonderful men and women as we travel together on our highways.

P.S. I have no family member who is involved in trucking, but I respect them greatly.

Billene Olson, Minneapolis

Administration's proposed cuts to AmeriCorps need rethinking

Earlier this week, the Trump administration's fiscal 2018 budget was released, including significant cuts to AmeriCorps. AmeriCorps is a public-private partnership that engages individuals in public service, strengthens communities and develops leaders. More than 80,000 young people choose to put service above self by joining AmeriCorps every year, and these individuals should be treasured and supported.

I am extremely proud of my two children for their dedicated service as AmeriCorps members. My daughter served in the AmeriCorps VISTA program, working in a women's shelter in Colorado. My son did his first year of service with AmeriCorps National Civilian Community Corps in Baltimore, and he is now serving with City Year in Seattle, assisting in a fourth-grade classroom. Their time serving in these programs has had a profound impact on their lives and has helped them become engaged, passionate citizens.

It is my sincerest hope that Congress rejects the president's budget and fully funds National Service programs like AmeriCorps so we all benefit from this cost-effective investment. AmeriCorps benefits our country and its citizens by empowering the young generation to become the leaders we want for our state and country. America is a better place to live because of the multitude of people, like my children, who have chosen to serve their country and community.

Jeanne E. Morris, St. Paul

The worst scenarios can't be allowed to outweigh the best

There is no doubt that Hennepin County Sheriff Richard W. Stanek and his department see the worst of opioids ("Everyone — everyone — must battle this crisis," May 24). He makes several important points, such as the use of naloxone and properly disposing of our unused prescriptions. Our law enforcement officers are important in curbing abuse of all drugs.

We in the health care professions, however, usually see the best of opioids. To suggest that we don't take them, prescribe them or fill them is unrealistic. Thousands of Minnesotans need opioids. Patients who are post-operative, post-trauma, or in excruciating pain need them to heal, or to live an acceptable and productive life.

Addiction is a rare and unpredicted result of opioid administration. People who need opioids must discuss their use with their prescriber or dispenser. The onus is then on them to take them responsibly so they do not become dependent, addicted or overdosed. If an educated user of opioids "follows the rules," they will hopefully not come in contact with Sheriff Stanek's officers.

Opium has been on the planet since 3700 B.C., and we have seen problems ever since. Instead of shaming the medical professionals, let's look at some of the reasons people look to opioids or other substances, hang from the Golden Gate Bridge to take selfies, or perform other life-threatening feats. Something is going on, and we need to open a dialogue to find out why.

Pamela S. Haase, Rochester

The writer is a pharmacist.


No, it's not correct to link this faith to terrorism

Like most American Muslims, I think this is so obvious that there should be no need for us to even mention it, but maybe there is room for stating the obvious, in light of criminal and murderous actions under the name of Islam ("Call it what it is: Islamic," Readers Write, May 25): Death cults like ISIS no more represent Islam, or 1.7 billion Muslims worldwide, than the KKK or other death cults represent Christians around the world.

It would not be an exaggeration to say the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria has killed easily 100 (if not 1,000) times more Muslims than non-Muslims. Its criminal and sinful actions are condemned by the religion, scholars and believers worldwide.

So next time if ISIS makes you think of Islam, please remember that ISIS is to Islam what KKK is to Christianity — cults that abuse the holy books to justify their evil ideologies, but do not represent the majority or the mainstream believers.

Tamim Saidi, Plymouth

The writer is president of the Northwest Islamic Community Center.


Are we at risk or not as Trump tries to win in the courts?

The temporary travel ban is still stuck in the courts. The premise is to give the federal government time to work out new methods of extreme vetting for the safety of America. If this is the aim, why not implement this extreme vetting right now? Months have passed since first proposed, so where is this blueprint for extreme vetting? Certainly the president can set the parameters for these screenings. Perhaps this whole travel ban is more a campaign promise Trump needs to check off his list than a need for national security. An argument could be made that we are all at risk while Trump tries to win this one. We either need enhanced screening or we do not.

Michael Mummah, Brooklyn Park

Here's my Trump story

The May 21 commentary by Tony Schwartz, Donald Trump's ghost writer for "The Art of the Deal," brings to mind my one encounter with Trump. Like Schwartz, I, too, have been a ghost writer. One of the common marketing ploys that publishers engage in is to send out manuscript copies of their upcoming books to numerous celebrities in hopes of getting them to respond with comments they can use as jacket blurbs on their books. The publisher of the book I had worked on sent out manuscripts to a list that included Trump. We got back some good responses, but the most memorable one came written on stationary on which "Donald J. Trump" was embossed in letters so high you could have cleaned your fingernails on them. Trump wrote that he had received our book and he was sending us a copy of a "better" book, "The Art of the Deal." Needless to say, we didn't use his comment on ours. The irony is that his book, like ours, was ghostwritten. So what he really was saying was that his ghostwriter was better than ours, who happened to be me.

Dan Cohen, Minneapolis