This Thanksgiving, it is appropriate that we remember the holiday's true origins. It had been celebrated sporadically by other presidents but would not become a true national holiday until Abraham Lincoln declared the fourth Thursday of November to be a national day of Thanksgiving, in response to the victory at Gettysburg, which was a pivotal turning of the tides in the fight to preserve the Union and human freedom against the forces that would destroy them in order to maintain the institution of slavery.
We are still fighting to preserve the Union against forces that would destroy it in order to deny others' basic human rights. Let us give thanks that so far they have been unsuccessful and that Americans are still free to strive to achieve our fundamental ideals of liberty and justice for all.
Julie Quinn, Le Center, Minn.
During this period of Thanksgiving, I am deeply grateful to a group of people I've never met, and whose names I don't know: the folks who served as election officials in Minnesota, in all of their roles, and the election judges. Because of their diligence and steadfast commitment to assuring that our elections were fair, we can enjoy a holiday that will not be marred by controversy and violence. They routinely show up, do the work and get little praise — yet sometimes hostility — and provide a tremendous service to all of us. Thanks to each and every one of you. While I don't know your names, I will think of you this Thursday as I reflect on the people and events that have positively influenced our communities.
Joanne Disch, Minneapolis
Introspection greatly appreciated
Annette Meeks' opinion piece on the 2022 election results on Wednesday was excellent! ("Why Minn. Republicans can't win the big ones.") Her article lays bare the major problems of our political process. In most paragraphs one could substitute "DFL" for "GOP." We are mired in an era of big money, loud voices and few real ideas for better government. Negativism and denial are today's cults. Political consultants concentrate on campaign language to attract money and voters instead of ferreting out needs and solutions and candidates with reasonable answers. We voters need answers, not campaign slogans.
Carl Brookins, Roseville
Name the heroes, not the shooters
I was very disappointed in the Star Tribune's editorial on Tuesday, "Colorado attack should spark action." Sure, red-flag laws will help, but until we do more, much more, to address the huge gun problem in our country (where guns outnumber people) there will be no reduction in the carnage that we see on a weekly basis. One small step that the Star Tribune may want to consider is to reduce or totally eliminate the name of the alleged killers in articles. I am not an expert, but I think that notoriety might be part of the motivation for these horrendous acts. The editorial mentioned that, "Thankfully, there were heroes at Club Q." Although the editorial writers mentioned the name of the alleged shooter in the article six times, I had to go to the New York Times article to find out the name of the hero: Richard M. Fierro.
Bruce Lemke, Orono
In favor of well-deployed brightness
I was pleased to see the start of discussion on how streetlights can improve safety and also protect our health and the environment ("Not everyone wants more street lighting," Nov. 21). But I feel the headline was a bit misleading. Starry Skies North and the International Dark-Sky Association is not an adversary of good lighting. In fact, part of our mission is to increase awareness and knowledge on how to effectively and efficiently provide lighting that both improves safety and protects our health and our environment. Eliminating harsh glare and shadows caused by bright, white, unshielded lights improves both pedestrian and driver safety. It also keeps light out of resident's bedroom windows, improving their sleep and health. And it benefits the environment in numerous ways. Directing light to where it is needed can save an enormous amount of taxpayer money as well by reducing the amount of lumens and electricity needed to light an area effectively and improve safety. After all, over 35% of our outdoor lighting is misdirected — outward and upward, offering no benefit but causing much annoyance, harm and wasted resources.
Many cities across the country such as Phoenix, Flagstaff, Tucson, Houston and Pittsburgh are providing their residents with safe and environmentally healthy lighting.
Starry Skies North and the International Dark-Sky Association offer an enormous amount of resources and information about how to use light effectively, efficiently and safely. Check out starryskiesnorth.org and darksky.org.
Good, effective and efficient lighting choices can benefit our safety as well as our health and our connection with nature and dark skies. It is important to have a science-based conversation on this subject.
Bob Foucault, Duluth
The writer is vice president, Starry Skies North.
Minneapolis residents thinking about new LED lighting increasing safety may get a different outcome. My St. Paul neighborhood had the "old" yellow lights replaced with new LEDs, and it changed the street from a gathering place to an empty space.
I used to sit on my "smoking" bench enjoying a cigar watching the street, neighbors and kids playing out front. You could look up and down the street and neighbors' blinds would be up. In other words, we had eyes on the street.
The new LEDs are quite obnoxious and distracting even when indoors. Over a short period of time, the shades were lowered and no one was sitting out front anymore once the streetlights came on in the evening. No eyes or people on the street.
My neighbors did find some solace in this, as I moved my cigar smoking to the backyard!
Julian Loscalzo, St. Paul
Consider the boos market feedback
As a longtime Timberwolves season-ticket holder (and a longer time business professional), I take issue with Wolves center Rudy Gobert's comments admonishing fans for booing the team and saying they should "just stay home" ("Flaw in new floor means late scramble," Nov. 22). Fans attending the game are your customers, Rudy. We pay a lot of money to attend, which, in turn, allows you to earn an enormous amount of money playing. Unlike most other products or services, however, if the product/service on the court is deficient, we don't get our money back. The only effective way to give our feedback and gain some measure of satisfaction is audibly. When players inexplicably decide to give minimal effort, make silly mental mistakes and act like they'd rather be somewhere else, they need to know we're not satisfied! Every successful business becomes that way by listening to their customers and responding in a way that meets their needs. In Minnesota, regarding our sports teams (and most everything else), we care about effort. You give us that, you'll hear cheers and not boos, even in a loss. If you don't, like in every other business, unsatisfied Minnesota customers will let you know.
David R. Adams, Maple Grove