Opinion editor's note: Star Tribune Opinion publishes letters from readers online and in print each day. To contribute, click here.


To James Lileks: You can be a toothpaste tube crimper again! ("What's been done to toothpaste tubes?" Feb. 18.) Being a crimper myself, married to one who squeezes, I have solved our dilemma! My method is not quite the same, but it does result in every dab of toothpaste being used. Hide one of those large black paper clips somewhere in the bathroom — the kind that's holding together our last unpublished manuscript. You have to hide it because I've found that squeezers lose them in drawers or boxes filled with layers of hair bands, things the grandkids made, scattered Band-Aids, and stuff that belongs in the kitchen junk drawer. I find the 1/2-inch clip sufficient. After you and your main squeezer have emptied about a quarter of the tube, take the clip out of hiding, carefully roll the tube from the bottom, and secure it with the clip. Rolling does not give the immediate satisfaction that crimping once did. It accomplishes the objective, though. It's the way we crimpers must roll nowadays.

John Widen, Minneapolis


We can at least pass this law

This past Sunday morning I read the article about the daunting struggles of newly arrived Ecuadorians to find day jobs to buy bare necessities ("Migrants stuck in a grim hustle for work," Feb. 18). I am currently helping a family in exactly this position. They cannot apply for a work permit until 150 days after applying for asylum and it can take seven months (or longer) after that for the arrival of the work permit.

While I'm stuck on how to change the problem of income for newly arrived immigrants, there is something we can do to make life easier for them. We can pass the North Star Act. This law would prevent state and local law enforcement from using state resources for the purpose of civil immigration enforcement (except when investigating criminal activity). That means that unauthorized immigrants would not be turned over for contacting police when victimized or encounters such as a traffic stop, delivering kids to school, running errands or visiting a park.

Some consider the immigrants I'm referring to as "illegal" and would like to see them detained and deported. But being an unauthorized immigrant does not make them criminals; they have a legal right to be here and to apply for asylum.

Many will agree with me yet choose to be silent. However, this will not get the North Star Act passed. You can help by contacting your state representative and senator. Their actions are greatly influenced by what they hear from constituents like you and me. Take action today!

John Benda, St. Paul


I read with interest — and sadness — about the Ecuadorian refugees struggling to find day labor on the streets of Minneapolis. It makes no sense to me why these people cannot somehow get work permits. As they themselves say, they don't want to be burdens and everything they spend goes right back into the economy. I am not a policy expert, and have no idea how to fix the immigration system, but showing unnecessary cruelty to people in crisis is no solution whatsoever.

Andrew Silberman, Minneapolis


The ecosystem is out of balance

As a concerned Minnesotan, hunter and conservationist, I support the delisting of gray wolves from the Endangered Species Act. Despite arguments for the outdated status quo, the state's burgeoning wolf populations pose significant challenges to our communities. A recent viral video of a wolf attacking a deer, referenced by a fellow Star Tribune reader ("A wolf-bites-deer story," Feb. 18) and shared by U.S. Rep. Pete Stauber, highlights the unbalanced predator-prey dynamic in Minnesota.

Minnesota hosts nearly half of the gray wolf population in the Lower 48 states, surpassing ESA recovery levels, per the Department of Natural Resources 2023-2032 management plan: "Today, wolves are distributed across half of the state in numbers (2,700) well above the [ESA] recovery plan goals (1,251-1,400)... ." In northeastern Minnesota, renowned for deer hunting, the wolf population directly impacts deer numbers, endangering local economies reliant on hunting tourism and property ownership centered on this tradition.

The unchecked wolf expansion intensifies human-livestock-wildlife conflicts, particularly for farmers. Despite efforts by state and federal authorities, many farms face difficulties accounting for lost livestock due to wolf predation, compounded by harsh winter conditions, resulting in major financial losses.

It's evident that current gray wolf population levels are unsustainable. Continued federal protections hinder effective management strategies, which include a regulated hunting season. Delisting wolves from the ESA would enable state agencies in Minnesota to implement targeted management practices, balancing conservation with the needs of local stakeholders.

Policymakers must prioritize gray wolf population management solutions to prevent further economic hardship and cultural erosion in rural Minnesota.

Travis Senenfelder, Wayzata

The writer is president, Minnesota Chapter of Safari Club International.


Those of us who oppose the trapping and hunting of wolves understand Rep. Stauber's, the deer hunters' and their political allies' frame of reference. They desperately want to maintain traditional (not scientific) wildlife management practices that benefit hunters and trappers and are self-serving. But where in all that is what is best for Minnesota's wolves? For Minnesota as a whole?

All of us suffering from their naiveté about wolves need education as to the impact of wolves on hunters, deer camp owners, moose and deer and, of course, the "risk" to humans. There is no discussion of how human interference in the natural world, what they call "wildlife management," has created loss of habitat and the loss of species. There is no acknowledgment of the capacity of wolves to regulate their own populations or the animal behaviors associated with killing pack members, the history of barbarity and brutality of wolf hunts, or the effects of man-made climate change on the wolf's prey.

The actual scientific evidence indicates that the wolf population has been stable for 25 years. There is no increase in attacks on livestock or pets, no attacks on humans, and no increase in the number of animals taken for food. A video of a wolf chasing a deer in a logging camp demonstrates that the wolf is pursuing natural prey and nothing more. It is unfortunate that Minnesota lawmakers, including Sen. Amy Klobuchar, support congressional action that would enable wolf hunts. This does not represent what the majority of Minnesotans support.

Karen Drews Munoz, Rochester


More than reorganization required

I'm surprised that climate change's specter didn't haunt the Feb. 13 article "Birkie races rebuilt due to lack of snow." Instead, the writer reported on the organizers' masterful job in adapting to warm weather and lack of snow — for which they are to be congratulated.

In 2017 the Birkie was canceled for only the second time in its history. But that isn't cause for complacency. Climate change was barely on the radar for most of that history, although it was acknowledged as a possibility and even predicted. However, the 1980s weather challenges and the first cancellation, in 2000, were harbingers of things to come.

Now Wisconsin is thinking proactively about what warmer winters will mean for popular, lucrative winter sports. Accelerating climate change makes the concept of "normal" winter obsolete, and businesses are diversifying and adapting. But we can't adapt endlessly; and as we can't solve the problem of warmer, snowless winters by adapting, we'd better concentrate on solving its cause.

Most of us acknowledge that the climate is changing and know why, but climate politics and the lure of economic profit stymie aggressive action. Unfortunately, climate doesn't care about politics and profits. It cares only about emissions and atmospheric concentrations of greenhouse gases, so if we want to influence it, it will have to be on those terms. We know what to do. We're falling far behind.

Carol Steinhart, Madison, Wis.


It was a sad, ugly brown winter ... until World Cup skiing came to town! ("Weather, Wirth Park star in weekend that exceeds expectations," Feb. 19.)

What a breathtaking celebration of winter joy! Jessie Diggins, Gus Schumacher and the Loppet Foundation took the tarnish off our winter and left us bejeweled and bedazzled. Wow!

Rachael Davis, Woodbury