The wife and I spent a day at the fair and got our money’s worth out of that coupon book she bought. I used my new phone to text news of each purchase to our kids. Not sure if it was my typing skills or a malfunctioning spellchecker, but this is what they would get:

• Cheese cruds.

• Wild rice cheese booger.

• Crab spitters.

• RC Cooooola.

• Hot apple crumpling.

• Tater dog on a schtick.

• Nutnutco shrimp.

• Bunion rings.

• Beer with roots.

• Pineapple Schmaltz.

• Dorn cog

• Dini monuts.

• Mint chocolate chip I scream.

• Shaved Whovian Ice.

The only text that came through properly was the last one after we got back home: Rolaids. You gotta luv the Fare!!!

Tom Mobeck, Chaska

REGIONAL PLANNING

Yes, we do need a strategy — to rid ourselves of the Met Council

In the commentary “In defense of regional planning” (Sept. 3), Sean Kershaw makes the argument that his organization, the Citizens League, was successful in creating the Metropolitan Council, an effort he argues has been wildly successful. He also says that it “makes sense that we should make sure our key governing institutions like the Met Council are up for the next 50 years of challenges.”

Kershaw is, in my opinion, correct in the need for a plan. I disagree with his contention that the proper body to conceive and execute the plan should be the Met Council. Citizens are unaware that the members of council are not made up of people who are accountable to the public. They are not elected by the people; they are appointed by the governor, who can pick from his buddies and yes-men. This system is, frankly, un-American.

It is inappropriate for a mystery group to have the kind of control it does over the taxpayer funds. Our Legislature is the body that should be making these kinds of decisions for our state. The Met Council has way too much power.

Elizabeth Anderson, Minnetonka

• • •

If its members were all highly trained civil engineers, professional urban planners, construction experts and others with certifiable skills, then the Metropolitan Council would be worthy of its mission. Instead, we have an enormously powerful unelected government body chaired by a man whose primary qualification is his ability to raise money for the DFL.

The council has done some good work — even a blind squirrel finds an acorn once in a while — but its “vision” has also given us an unprofitable, 19th-century urban railroad, with ugly and dangerous overhead wires, that snakes through pedestrian and vehicle traffic. Dump the politicians and populate the council with experts who can objectively analyze the costs and benefits of its multimillion-dollar plans. Only then will the council be a genuine asset to the state.

Jack Sheehan, Eden Prairie

 

LAW ENFORCEMENT

There’s no excuse for inertia in analyzing rape kits

So, there are almost 3,500 rape kits sitting around gathering dust in this state? (“3,449 unanalyzed rape kits sit in storage in Minnesota,” Sept. 3). And the law enforcement agencies that have them offer excuses for why these kits haven’t been dealt with? Oh, my, what a shock. Could this be at least partly due to the fact that our society’s persons in power — such as the police — are still mostly men, many of whom have backward, outdated attitudes toward women and rape in general?

It takes a lot of courage for rape victims to come forward, and to me this news about these unanalyzed kits is a slap in the face to those victims. Very sad, though the story needed to be told. I thank the Star Tribune for printing it.

Carlene Dean, Osakis, Minn.

 

CLEAN AIR

Cigarette smoking is down, but it’s not the only problem

Apparently, cigarette smoking has hit a record low in the U.S., with only 15.2 percent of adults lighting up on a regular basis (“Americans are kicking the habit,” Sept 2). But are we really smoking less?

According to the Utah Physicians for a Healthy Environment, “One hour of burning wood emits as many deadly chemicals as 6,000 packs of cigarettes.” So, the next time your neighbor lights up his barbecue wood smoker or has a backyard bonfire, or you visit one of the many restaurants in the metro area that burns wood for cooking or for ambience, please note that if you can smell the wood smoke, you are smoking.

Barbara Johnson, Burnsville

 

THE ENVIRONMENT

What can you do to help? Plant some trees on your property

The Sept. 1 story about President Obama’s trip to Alaska and the challenge the world is facing on climate change (“Obama calls for action on warming”) was very good. There was another article Sept. 2 (“Obama seeks Arctic clout”) that made the front page. Both stories should have been on the front page. Not only is the world in deep trouble on global warming, it is suffering from water and air pollution.

What can we do as individuals? Start by planting trees on the south and west sides of our homes. Trees’ shade cools our homes, so that we use less electricity — trees cool the Earth. Every week, we read more about our Earth in the Star Tribune, sometimes four or five articles a day. This is for real.

We have planted 500 oak trees in the last three years, and we will have planted 1,000 within three more years, including fruit-bearing trees.

Jerry Wicklund, Northfield

• • •

During his Alaska trip, Obama warned that global warming was causing vast amounts (57 gigatons per year) of melting ice in Alaska and that warming “will condemn our children to a planet beyond their capacity to repair it.” At the same time, he is calling for more Arctic icebreakers to attack the rapidly melting ice. Why do we need icebreakers when nature is doing away with the ice?

The president condemned “cynics and critics and the deniers” who are expressing doubts about the threat from global warming. But those critics can point to all the data showing no global surface warming in 20 years despite substantial increases in atmosphere carbon dioxide. “The heat is going to the oceans,” say alarmists. But data from the ARGO system and RSS satellites shows “a negligible trend in ocean temperature” in the last 20 years. The ARGO system has 3,500 temperature measuring instruments in the world’s oceans which transmit readings to stations in Monterey, Calif., and Brest, France.

The president wants to spend billions more on intermittent energy sources like wind and solar to replace coal burning. There are good reasons to reduce coal’s emissions of mercury, sulfur, arsenic and soot. Round-the-clock and cleaner energy sources like natural gas and carbon-free nuclear are better alternatives.

Rolf E. Westgard, St. Paul