Thank you to the St. Paul school board for hearing a resolution in support of raising the tobacco sales age to 21 in St. Paul and for the Star Tribune’s coverage in April.

Students of Harding High School and members of the Harding High School student council appreciate the school board’s support to get tobacco products out of high schools. There are 34 communities in Minnesota that have passed Tobacco 21, including Minneapolis and at least six other cities in Ramsey County.

Now is the time for St. Paul to join the cause.

We have seen multiple students advertising on social media and selling tobacco products such as e-cigarettes or vapes to other students. Our main concern is that students are addicted to e-cigarettes despite the warnings and information provided. There are multiple students using e-cigarettes near, around and within school grounds, including in our bathrooms and school facilities.

Raising the sales age of these products to 21 takes away the connection between the 18-year-old high school students who are buying and selling these products to younger students at school.

Thank you again to the St. Paul Public Schools superintendent and board members for your support in increasing the tobacco sales age to 21. We are proud to attend school in a district that is willing to prioritize the health of its youngest residents over tobacco industry profits.

Shaun Parks, St. Paul

The writer is a science teacher and director of the student council at Harding High School.


With decision on old church, St. Paul can copy Mpls. or value its history

The St. Paul City Council has an important decision to make: whether or not to declare the former St. Andrew’s Catholic Church to be a heritage site for the city. The Twin Cities German Immersion School owns the property and wants the building demolished to replace it with a new building.

Built in the Como Warrendale Neighborhood near Lake Como in 1927, the former church, designed by architect Charles Hausler, exhibits a Romanesque Revival style that is quite an articulated example, even more so than St. Paul’s celebrated Landmark Center (of the same style).

I have over 30 years of experience in many aspects of architectural preservation, in saving many historical buildings in Minneapolis. I am intensely engaged with Save Historic St. Andrew’s, a neighborhood group fighting to prevent its beloved landmark from demolition.

I am asking the St. Paul City Council to recognize that TCGIS has chosen not to engage with the Save Historic St. Andrews group. Compromise is the art of the political process, but compromise is not part of TCGIS operating procedure.

I have long experienced Minneapolis being called a city that tears down its history. Please, St. Paul City Council members, please don’t tear down your city’s history.

Bob Roscoe, Minneapolis


What guides Trump on Iran?

A game of brinksmanship is playing out in the Persian Gulf. The Iranians are being provocative and the Trump administration is being equally bellicose in return. Where is President Donald Trump gaining insights and intelligence on this Middle East bad actor? How real is their threat and how likely are we to go to war? Is Iran weeks away from being the world’s next nuclear armed country or several years away from this dream?

No doubt Trump is counting on intelligence gathered by the finest American intelligence agencies, right?

Hold on a minute! Wouldn’t these be the same 16 agencies that all unanimously agreed that Russia, at the behest of President Vladimir Putin, interfered in our 2016 elections and continue to do so? Aren’t these the same 16 that were universally scorned by Trump, who said he had asked Putin about it and believed what he was told, that his own agencies were all wrong?

Perhaps Trump is going on his gut feeling that Iran is being bad, the same gut that told him North Korea’s Kim Jung Un was a nice guy and that Putin was being honest. If that’s the case, I hope there is plenty of Pepto-Bismol in the White House, as it is obvious Trump’s gut feelings are mere indigestion.

Bob Brereton, St. Paul


Bravo to saving Alaska’s wilderness

Last week, the U.S. Congress marked up an appropriations bill to fund the Interior Department authored by our very own Democratic Rep. Betty McCollum. The bill contains a provision that would require Interior to set the minimum amount that companies must pay to lease a piece of the fragile coastal plain of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. The language simply requires Interior to generate the revenues promised by congressional Republicans when the Arctic Refuge development program was jammed into their 2017 tax bill. They told us Arctic Refuge oil drilling would bring in billions in leasing revenue but we now know that was a lie. This provision holds the Trump administration and those in Congress who voted for the tax bill accountable for that lie, and likely nips an untenable leasing program for our nation’s largest and wildest refuge in the bud.

The Arctic Refuge is one of the last true wild places in North America, home to caribou, threatened polar bears and more. The reality is that leasing should never take place on its coastal plain regardless of how much revenue is promised — no amount of money can replace this unparalleled public land. It was a treat to see David Thoreson’s beautiful piece several weeks ago on the Arctic Refuge (“Witnessing one of the planet’s great migrations in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge,” May 12) and the epic land migration of the porcupine caribou — the longest land migration of any mammal on earth.

Thank you, Rep. McCollum, for standing up to keep this amazing place wild.

Lois Norrgard, Bloomington

The writer is the national field organizer for the Alaska Wilderness League.


After all this, ‘Lake Target’ and ‘Summit Beer Beach’ aren’t so bad

I read the letters to the editor to stir my righteous indignation, solidify my long-held beliefs or to illuminate a viewpoint on an issue that I can’t figure out on my own. Rarely do I get a laugh. But a recent missive about a decent solution to the Lake Calhoun/Bde Maka Ska kerfuffle — selling the naming rights — gave me a chuckle (“Contrition feels good, helps no one,” May 24). Then came the realization, “Hey! Wait a minute. That’s a good idea!”

The naming rights to places around the Twin Cities could solve the homeless situation and opioid addiction, with money left over to train cops not to shoot at everything that makes them nervous.

We’d just need to get used to corporate sponsors buying naming rights to this and that. Lake Target? It’s got a nice ring to it. How about Summit Beer Beach? What the heck, several already are. Nicollet Mall becomes Bachmann Mall. Maybe they could plant trees that would last longer than a year.

This looks like a win-win situation.

Pat Carney, Minneapolis