I was disappointed but not surprised to read that the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board has again delayed the reopening of a heavily traveled section of West River Parkway, which was closed by a mudslide in June 2014. (“West River Parkway reopening put off until at least December,” Sept. 26). As residents along West River Parkway, we are used to missed deadlines and general Park Board project management incompetence.

For example, a simple renovation of a short stretch of the Wenchel trail along the Mississippi River near our home took nearly two years to complete. Years later, construction debris is still present along the trail.

As a former project manager myself, I know that contracts with vendors must be drawn tightly, monitored carefully and continuously, and enforced rigorously. Park Board project managers apparently have yet to learn about this.

When the already-delayed schedule for reopening West River Parkway was announced several months ago, I told neighbors that we would be lucky if it happened in less than 12 months after the then-announced timetable. I stand by my prediction.

Jeffrey Loesch, Minneapolis

YUSUF DAYUR

That was an earnest sentiment; now, an earnest response

To Yusuf Dayur, the 12-year-old boy whose online video responded to presidential candidate Ben Carson’s comments about Islam (“Muslim Eden Prairie boy’s message for Ben Carson goes viral,” Sept. 25):

I applaud your desire to become president of the United States. I could see myself voting for you; but I have reservations. You would need to accurately observe current events. Ben Carson did not say a Muslim could not become president. He said he personally would not support anyone who put religious tenets above the Constitution and that most Muslims appear to have sincere beliefs that are not supportive of traditional American values. Carson’s vote will not prevent you from becoming president of the United States. However, some might vote against you if you do not clearly state that you do not place Sharia Law above the Constitution and that you believe a Muslim apostate is entitled to become president. By the way, are you suggesting that Carson’s religious values should prevent him from becoming president?

Dan Decker, Golden Valley

 

HEALTH INSURANCE

Some sort of high-risk pool still seems to be in order

I was a member of the individual health insurance market from age 55 to 65 and did all I could to minimize health care costs (“Some health premiums set to jump,” Sept. 28). I had a $10,000 deductible and basically avoided all health care except for emergency care. Preventative care was out of the question.

Unfortunately, individual care is not a money maker for health care insurers, and like PreferredOne, all those markets could soon disappear. The elimination of underwriting selection puts insurers at a disadvantage for such a relatively small group. Of course, we don’t see much hope for any reduction of costs from doctors, hospitals and drug companies, as those costs only continue to skyrocket. We maintain our position as the most costly medical provider in the world.

In the past, there was a special Minnesota high-risk program for individuals excluded from mainstream coverage due to diabetes, heart conditions and other severe pre-existing conditions. Perhaps a new group program for individuals will need to be established, subsidized by all health providers and insurers in the state. The medical industry and health insurers must develop a reasonable solution or face the repercussions of further advancement toward exclusive national health care eliminating their dominance.

Michael Tillemans, Minneapolis

 

LAKE NAMES

How about no name at all? Or, how about a balancing act?

As the debate around the name for Lake Calhoun continues unabated with no consensus in sight (“New Calhoun debate: Which Dakota name?” Sept. 27), might park officials consider a friendly suggestion? Since we cannot agree on a name that would honor our ancestors or serve as a guide for our descendants, how about relying on an artistic technique that is employed when no name is readily evident for a work of art or poem? The work is simply “Untitled.” In this case, would “No Name Lake” suffice to capture the current ethos?

Lisa Wersal, Vadnais Heights

• • •

Forget about renaming Lake Calhoun. By the time all of the legalities and sundry GPS tweaks are sorted out, we may have forgotten why we are changing it.

Instead, pass a binding resolution simply stating that Lake Harriet is so named in honor of Harriet Tubman.

How lovely would that be?

A landmark brain-foolishly named for that irredeemable old racist reprobate and son of the Confederacy, the less-than-honorable John Calhoun, would have to coexist — hand-in-hand and bound at the hip, as it were — for all eternity next to a landmark dedicated to the woman to whom he surely would least choose to be next to, a famous African-American abolitionist, humanitarian and, during the American Civil War, a Union spy.

Sweet!

Bruce Downing, St. Cloud

 

HOMELESSNESS

Subjects of a Sunday photo were conspicuously well-supplied

Regarding “Hope spreads for homeless youth[s]” (Sept. 27): The subjects of the accompanying photo all have a smartphone, and it looks like the one guy has cigarettes on his lap. I work. I have a home. And I don’t have a smartphone! Maybe if they get rid of the “unnecessary” things in life they can afford a place to live.

Joann Nelson, Brandon, Minn.

 

OUTDOORS SECTION

Good reads to be had, even for a nonparticipant

I’m not sure why I eagerly peel off the Outdoors section of the Star Tribune each Friday. I don’t bike, canoe or climb. I’m neither a hunter nor an extreme anything. I’ve never spent as much as an hour in a tent and certainly wouldn’t consider hauling one around on my back for months at a time. Still, in my dreams, I am these strong, intrepid forces of nature — people such as Susan Ketel, who so beautifully wrote of her Appalachian Trail hike, “Hog, Saint, Robo and a trail of memories” (Sept. 25). Her amazing accomplishment was, in her words, as easy as “putting one foot in front of the other.” I was right there with her as her feet throbbed, as she yearned for clean clothes and a shower on the same day, and learned how to hike at night, rattlesnakes notwithstanding. Oh, to be on the inside of that quirky cadre of hikers and angels like Hog, Saint and Robo. Just as easy as putting one foot in front of the other.

Kathleen Wedl, Edina