Wolf trophy hunting was described as sustainable and even acceptable by Dan Stark, a specialist in large carnivores for the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, in the March 13 article “Wolves again in cross hairs.”

Stark never mentioned several important facts that are vital to this conversation.

DNR estimates of the wolf population are woefully inaccurate, and the method fatally flawed. The DNR has not, and does not, count wolves: It uses collared wolves to estimate a pack territory size and an average number of wolves per pack. It then guesses at a “total” number of wolves. That is bad enough, but about half of the collared wolves — upon which this flawed model depends — have been found dead, have gone missing or have had their collars malfunction during the past two years of population reports.

Additionally, Stark did not state how estimates dropped by 25 percent after the first hunting and trapping season of 2012. In fact, the DNR even reported this to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and wolf numbers have not returned to pre-hunt levels. In one season, the DNR wiped out 30 years of conservation efforts and funding and brought wolf numbers to nearly 1988 levels.

Most important, we have no understanding of wolf genetic diversity and what the wolf can tolerate in order to survive for future generations.

It is time the DNR stop discussions about wolf hunting and instead work toward protecting wolves for future generations.

Maureen Hackett, Hopkins

The writer is president and founder of Howling For Wolves.


Shift toward leniency ought also include some sort of expungement

I appreciate Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman’s newfound attitude toward dealing with small amounts of marijuana (“No charges for small amounts of pot,” front page, March 15). I can remember when his position was quite the opposite. But regardless, there are multitudes of young people, and some not so young, burdened with a felony conviction for possessing an amount of the drug that Freeman is now saying his office won’t even prosecute. And even he acknowledges in his statements that those affected are primarily people of color. What, if anything, is his office willing to do to provide relief from the disability of a criminal record for those impacted?

We are rapidly moving toward a day where marijuana will be legal. The strongest indicator is not just the proposed actions by lawmakers across the country, but by the amount of money being invested by the alcohol and tobacco industries in anticipation of that day. Leaders like Freeman need to not just champion a different way of dealing with the substance, they need to champion a mechanism to remove the scarlet letter from those impacted by past practices.

Dan Cain, St. Louis Park

The writer is president of RS EDEN, a human-services organization that includes recovery and rehabilitation services.


Good for legislators committed to our safety. Others, please follow.

Recent shootings have only added to the urgency of passing protective gun legislation. The NRA is just another form of a pied piper — leading our children down a dangerous path which only leads them to certain death — while their families suffer the heartbreak of the loss of their loved ones.

Kudos to those legislators and community leaders who are standing up to the gun lobby’s tyranny and who are setting a good example of a positive role model.

Kay Kemper, Crystal

• • •

Despite their resistance as stated in “Gwen Walz gives voice to guns bills” (March 14), I am asking state Sen. Warren Limmer and Senate Majority Leader Paul Gazelka to let arguments be made in the Senate for two gun measures close to passing in the House, HF 8 and HF 9. Allow arguments from constituents on both sides of the gun safety issue. Vote after these arguments are made, and let the chips fall where they may.

We the people of Minnesota deserve that.

I have wondered if either senator has considered that these common-sense bills may save a child, a grandchild, a friend, a someone in their lives?

Sandra Mahn, Plymouth


Who’s to blame? The president? The Star Tribune for covering it?

Donald Trump, like Pontius Pilate, washes his hands of all responsibility for fomenting white nationalist/white identity violence (“After massacre, Trump downplays white nationalism threat,” StarTribune.com, March 15). By acquiescing to his base crowd, he plays his part in incendiary rhetoric. Yet he denies culpability when a horrific tragedy occurs.

William Johnson, Roseville

• • •

Dear Star Tribune:

Shame on you for running the Associated Press details-laden story about the horrific mosque shooting (“New Zealand mosques targeted in shootings,” March 15). It is well-known that printing the unnecessary level of detail you did, including timelines of the attack and what the terrorist was listening to, can serve to glorify the terrorist in the eyes of others. I am certain the editors are aware of this fact. Yet they printed it anyway. By doing so, they risked indirect culpability in this awful cycle of violence.

Jeremy Chacon, Minneapolis


Of course, the cost of attending is itself, in essence, a scandal

One recent major news issue involved the unethical, maybe illegal, extent which some wealthy parents would go just to get their children admitted to what might be considered elite private and public colleges and universities, to the detriment of some meritorious students.

Admission bribery aside, that got me to thinking what tuition and fees were back in the late 1950s. I cannot recall the exact amount but will say with great confidence that in four years at a state public college/university, my total tuition and fees was less than half the $9,500 average today’s student might pay for just one year at a similar institution.

Even with help from grants, scholarships and their middle-class parents, today’s tuition and fees is beyond the reach of many working students without student loans. Sixty-eight percent of 2015 graduates earning a bachelor of science degree had a student loan debt of $30,000 — it might be greater now. I think that discourages many qualified young people who could benefit themselves and society in general from attending college.

The federal government spends $75 billion annually on higher education, not including the $1.5 trillion in outstanding student loan debt, much of which will not be fully repaid and will fall back on taxpayers. State-level funds also play a large role. Tuition-free college — that is, tuition entirely funded by taxpayers — is not the answer, considering the average household income is $60,000.

For the benefit of students and taxpayers, we must find a way to stop the upward increase in college tuition, which has skyrocketed well above inflation.

Bob Jentges, North Mankato, Minn.