Regarding the removal of Christi Grimm (“Trump replaces watchdog who found ‘severe’ supply shortages,” May 3) and other inspectors general from the federal government: I guess we needn’t worry until the administration resorts to defenestration? (Bonus vocabulary exercise for students following along at home.) It’s a strange line to draw between Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin, but these are strange times.

Carla Steen, St. Paul


There’s more than money to the analysis. There’s the right thing.

I read with some degree of dismay Neal Templin’s explanation of considerations for installing rooftop solar (“Solar systems can be worth it, but do your homework first,” Business, May 3). While his cash analysis was OK, he totally omitted the best argument in favor, one that perhaps outweighs all the negatives combined: “Because it’s the right thing to do!” Cash payback is not the end-all argument for solar. How our society needs to ramp up solar exponentially to minimize impacts of climate change is the bottom-line argument.

Two years ago I installed a $23,000 array with no expectation of it ever even becoming cost-neutral. A retiree with modest income and high medical deductions, I don’t expect to ever make use of the federal tax credit. I spent that money with the expectation that over the 25-year life of the system I’ll approach but not quite even have sufficient electrical savings to defray the initial cost, let alone recapture any investment gains forgone by directing my funds into the solar array. Nevertheless, when my grandchildren at some future date ask me what I personally did to try and prevent the climate catastrophe they will be living in, I will be able to point to my system and say, “That’s what I did!”

Larry Etkin, Minneapolis


Vet, but don’t gratuitously delay, job-creating proposal

Regarding the May 3 editorial “Federal secrecy is a red flag on mining:” Delaying the review of a major job-creating project in northeastern Minnesota would be irresponsible, especially during this COVID-19 economic era.

As union workers for large projects across Minnesota, we aren’t asking for jobs at the expense of our environment. We, too, believe that Twin Metals should be thoroughly reviewed and scientifically vetted for potential environmental impacts.

We state this from experience: The most effective time to review the impact of any project is when a specific proposal is submitted. The public now has that opportunity with Twin Metals’ proposed mine plan, submitted to state and federal agencies in December. That submission triggered a multiyear regulatory review with many opportunities for public comment.

Detailed multiagency environmental review processes and valuable public input will reveal what regulators and the public need to know. Important factual issues are more likely to come to light through a study focused on a specific project than on a nebulous review of mining’s potential impact across hundreds of thousands of acres.

We acknowledge the state is handling a crisis, but keep in mind a long-term view of economic conditions in northern Minnesota and the need to advance regulatory work. The Iron Range continues to possess world-class mineral reserves needed for a clean-energy transition and there’s a bench of workers with deep expertise. Think about them, too, when considering whether more delays are wise or necessary.

Let Twin Metals prove we can have both mining and a safe environment.

This letter was submitted by Kris Fredson, LIUNA Minnesota and North Dakota; Adam Duininck, North Central States Regional Council of Carpenters; Jason George, International Union of Operating Engineers Local 49; and David Ybarra II, Minnesota Pipe Trades Association.


Tice portrays two ‘uncompromising’ sides, but the gun-safety side isn’t

D.J. Tice’s May 3 column “Nondecision on guns produces a crossfire” provides a good summary of the 2008 Heller decision, but I must take issue with his characterization of the main advocacy groups on this issue as “two uncompromising groups — Second Amendment purists who claim a constitutional right to carry almost any type of weapon anywhere they please, and gun-control purists who would disarm America if they could.”

The vast majority of persons working toward greater gun safety in this country belong to Everytown For Gun Safety/Moms Demand Action, the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence, Giffords: Courage to Fight Gun Violence, and Sandy Hook Promise. Not one of them advocates disarming America, but on the contrary, all take pains to point out that they support the Second Amendment while recognizing the urgent need to reform legislation and best practices so as to keep guns out of the hands of dangerous persons.

Describing the work of these gun-safety advocates in the way Tice does is completely inaccurate and only serves to unfairly harden the views of those on the other side of this issue, making meaningful and much-needed progress that much more difficult.

John Barden, Prior Lake


Some of the best people working on this are right here in our state

Thank you for the excellent front-page article “Mayo’s pandemic Manhattan project” (May 3), describing the ongoing research by Dr. Andrew Badley and others at the Mayo Clinic. Having worked on epidemiological studies at the University of Minnesota many years ago, I have firsthand knowledge of the commitment of research docs like Badley, and have great faith that a positive outcome in the form of a cure and even a vaccine for COVID-19 will emerge, perhaps sooner than expected. We Minnesotans are so fortunate to have Mayo as well as the U in our backyard!

Jean A Heberle, Minneapolis


That’s not all there is about that

As a Norwegian-language enthusiast, I must take issue with the May 3 Curious Minnesota article. (“What does ‘uff da’ mean, and why do Minnesotans say it?”) While I agree that the expression “uff da” is more commonly used here than in Norway, our agreement pretty much ends there.

First off, any serious student of the Norwegian language would recognize the uff da or uffda as a compound word. Compound words are ubiquitous in Norwegian, but they often do not appear in dictionaries in the combined form. You have to look for the component words, which is not difficult with a good dictionary.

The Kunnskapsforlaget 2012 Norsk-engelsk blå ordbok (Norwegian-English Blue Dictionary) lists “uff” as an interjection meaning “oh, ooh, ugh or bah.” “Da” used as an adverb generally translates to “then” but never “there” as stated in the Star Tribune article. (Although “never” is a dangerous word for a language that is fraught with exceptions, especially in the spoken forms.)

At the end of the section on da, the dictionary includes the word combinations ja da (of course), jo da (oh, yes), nei da (no, [no]) and finally uff da (now, then; oh dear). I have often heard my relatives in Norway use ja da and nei da, but they typically say uff instead of uff da.

So although “uff da” is not commonly used in Norway, the expression is most certainly included in dictionaries. I hope I have provided a bit more perspective on this important topic.

Richard Skarie, Minneapolis