On Nov. 15, the Star Tribune ran an article depicting students who had their hot lunches thrown in the trash at Richfield High School due to their families falling behind on meal payments (“Let the kids eat while we sort this out”). Not only were these students humiliated by the procedure, but they were also sent away with cold, cheap lunches. According to the article, this isn’t the first time a situation like this has occurred. Five years ago, a similar lunch-shaming incident took place when students who were behind on their lunch bills were given butter sandwiches and a stamp on their hands, which let everyone know they were behind on their payments.
This situation is an outrage. Students need food during the school day; proper nutrition is important for academic success as it improves brain function, decreases inappropriate behaviors and improves school outcomes. Research from the Center for Science in the Public Interest suggests that students who eat healthy meals at regular intervals will be less tired, more attentive in class and retain more of what they’ve learned.
Not only should school lunches be healthy and free to all students, but legislators need to pass a policy requiring schools to provide healthy and free snacks to all students. This policy will improve academic success, create long-term healthy eating habits and decrease negative behaviors in students. It will also fulfill our jobs, as adults, to meet the needs of children, so they feel respected, safe and cared for.
Leigha Rudd, Minneapolis
What on earth is he doing there?
Former President Bill Clinton had lied once (maybe more?) when he was impeached. President Donald Trump has documented lies in the thousands. For heaven’s sake, people, get off your “one issue, one party” horse and look at the big picture. Why is this person still our president? This is not political — it’s common sense for our country.
LeRoy Horn, Prior Lake
What the department calls ‘improper,’ I might call ‘fraud’
I see the Star Tribune has moved the comics and games section to the front page. I did not come to that conclusion after reading a Dilbert panel there, but rather the laughable fluff piece about the ever-expanding Department of Human Services’ “revelations of financial mismanagement” (“DHS’ costly errors hit counties,” Nov. 19).
Some of the more humorous phrases used in this article were: “embarrassing revelations,” “improperly spent,” “improper payments,” “compliance issues,” “financial management errors,” and “kept using federal money improperly.” Nowhere in the article did it say who spent the money improperly, why there were compliance issues, which managers allowed financial errors to slip by, and, after realizing in February that there were problems, why it took another three months to shut the spigot off and save that next $13 million of overpayments resulting in “embarrassing financial mismanagement.”
In a lot of places around the world, the events taking place at DHS would fit almost perfectly under the definition of fraud and theft, and prosecuted as such. It would appear that, much like the MNLARS debacle still playing out, and still being paid for, this next multimillion-dollar government fiasco will get scant attention because someone has assured us that they will “fix the gaps in oversight.” Ha ha. Good one, Dilbert.
John Hoffer, Prior Lake
We need homes, not concert venues
The approach to the Upper Harbor Terminal project in Minneapolis, where state lawmakers toured last week, is mind-boggling. We don’t need a 10,000-seat amphitheater. We need access to our river, not a backdrop for a Beyoncé concert. Mayor Jacob Frey, I think you should come live on the North Side for a while. Then maybe you can understand what we need is not what you think we should have. We need help with creating homeownership programs, not more rental units.
Let us have our river. Help us to clean up our neighborhoods and give the people who live here safety, home affordability, neighborhood revitalization and better schools, not concerts and more traffic.
Daina Deprez, Minneapolis
College chose the unexamined life
I attended Macalester College as a freshman before transferring, but I continue to care about what happens there. The recent renaming of Neill Hall brings up several other possible renamings on other buildings and related concerns (“Macalester removing Neill’s name,” Nov. 19).
I wish the board of trustees had decided instead to leave Neill Hall’s name as it is and added a plaque explaining the history of the naming and more deplorable history subsequently brought to light. If we bury these events, they are virtually lost to us, and history is thereby whitewashed. However, if we highlight this evolving knowledge, we preserve and learn from it.
That’s the point, isn’t it? This is a college campus, an institution of learning. The students have brought some important knowledge to light, and kudos to them. But stifling the conversation by rapidly giving in to demands is not making full use of this teachable moment. It was a time for listening to history, and taking its lessons to heart, sharing that knowledge with the world — permanently — and reaching a resolution that all would learn from. Board members would learn some of the true history of Mac, and students would learn something about creative problem resolution. And the plaque should acknowledge the students’ important role in this endeavor.
My hope is that other campuses and institutions will learn from this exercise and that future issues will be resolved in a more enlightening manner.
Mary McLeod, St. Paul
Winter runs are truly Minnesotan
Regarding the Star Tribune’s article about the upcoming in-line skating and running opportunities in U.S. Bank Stadium, I would like to add some historical perspective (“Stadium opens to runners, skaters,” Nov. 19). In 1982, through the efforts of then-Minneapolis City Council Member Mark Kaplan and the Minnesota Distance Running Association, a winter running program began at the Metrodome. That program continued for 31 years until the old stadium was demolished. Distinguished local runner Rick Recker, aided by many volunteers, managed the program all that time. Upon the opening of U.S. Bank Stadium, Recker and his team operated the MDRA stadium running program for three more years. Those of us who have enjoyed the indoor running experience in the stadiums owe a heartfelt thank you to Recker.
Oh, and by the way, the cost at the Metrodome stayed at $1 throughout the 31 years. As I’ve often said, it was either overpriced at the beginning or at the end was the best deal in Minnesota.
Michael Warden, Eden Prairie