Quicker, easier way to elect senator
Is there any prospect of the Coleman/Franken dispute being legally and peacefully resolved before Nov. 4, 2014? If not, may I respectfully suggest pistols at dawn?
STEPHEN J. BAKER
Education is key to 'infrastructure'
Here's an idea for the Obama stimulus package. Let's make sure as we create green jobs repairing and refitting our schools, bridges and highways, we also take the opportunity to make those who work on these projects accountable to taxpayers. In the same stimulus package, we can confront one of the most serious infrastructure problems we face as a country -- an increasing rate of high school dropouts.
The proposal is simple. Anyone hired to work on any stimulus-related project should be required to finish their high school diploma requirements as a condition of employment. They could take courses for free in the evening, or online and be provided with a computer and tutoring if they need it.
They could be taught functional literacy by designing a curriculum based on the very same green technology they are working with.
It's about time we realize that this country will not survive and remain globally competitive unless we renew a strong commitment to education. If I am going to pay taxes and make such a large investment, I want to see the products of education improve as well as the bricks and mortar.
JAMES V. GAMBONE
Re-vote is only way to have fair election
Along with many others, I favor a re-vote in the U.S. Senate race between the top two candidates. That's the only way the will of the citizens of Minnesota will prevail. A recount will not determine the real winner.
Hugh Hewitt's book, "If It's Not Close, They Can't Cheat," highlighted the kind of massive voter fraud that takes place on Election Day. One way it's done is through the process of same-day registration.
Non-citizens and others who should not have been allowed to vote nonetheless registered on Election Day, and every one of those votes was counted -- and is being recounted.
As an election judge, I found this loophole to be such an egregious error that I could no longer take part in the charade. Even if the secretary of state proceeded to track down these illegal registrants, their votes still count, and these fraudulent votes have determined the alleged winner of the Senate election.
In '30s, Tippy and I got Star to readers
We received pleasant Christmas and New Year's greetings from our faithful Sunday newspaper delivery person, Paula Sutton, which brought back memories of when I was a paperboy in south Minneapolis in the early 1930s. I delivered the Minneapolis Star, which was a new and struggling paper.
The paper was published as an evening paper six days a week only, so I didn't have to work on Sundays. The subscription price was 45 cents a month, and at the end of each month I would have to visit each customer to collect that 45 cents. Many customers asked me to come back because they couldn't spare 45 cents at the moment, or they were not home, so it was generally the middle of the month before I was able to collect from everyone.
I was billed one cent a copy for each paper dropped off in a bundle at the street corner where I started my route after school. I had to go down to the main office of the Star and pay my bill each month. I had about 50 customers on a route that was about two-and-a-half miles long. Because I had such a sparse route I received a subsidy, so I did not have to pay quite one cent a paper, which enabled me to clear about $12 a month.
In addition to delivering the papers, all Star carriers were required to solicit new customers, not just in their own territory but wherever they could find them. Many evenings a month I would go door to door asking people if they would like to subscribe to the Minneapolis Star. We were paid something like 50 cents for each new subscription, or we could select from a number of premiums available for a certain number of new subscriptions. I once earned a new wristwatch that way, but generally I took the cash.
All paperboys folded the newspapers so they could be thrown up on the front step or porch, but I had a variation on that method. I had a smart dog, a little mongrel, which I trained to deliver the papers. All I had to do was walk down the sidewalk, place the folded paper in his mouth, and he would run up and deposit the paper where it belonged.
I had one customer at the edge of my territory that was two blocks away from any other. Tippy would take the paper, run the two blocks while I waited, deposit the paper on the top step, and run back to me. The customers were all delighted with this show, and no one ever complained about a paper being delivered by dog mouth. Fortunately Tippy had what sportsmen call "a dry mouth."
Tips or gifts for the paperboy at that time were unheard of. The only thing of that nature I can remember was when one family once treated me to a small glass of wine on Christmas.
GORDON M. LEE
ST. LOUIS PARK
Where are the plows?
My mother was out recently from New York, visiting for the holidays. She lives in the Catskill Mountains, a place that gets much more snow than the Twin Cities. One of the first things she asked is, "Why are your roads so bad?"
And she was right. Just because I am used to them, it didn't make them any easier to drive on. There was a layer of ice and snow, and this was in the clear weather.
New York doesn't have this problem. Sure it snows. And then they clear it off. There isn't a two-week delay as the road crews hope there is a sudden thaw in the middle of January. In New York, the crews get out on the road while it's snowing -- sometimes before -- and clear the roads so they are safe to drive on.
When I was growing up in New York, plows were a hallmark of a coming storm. You'd see them getting ready even before the storm hit. In Minnesota, seeing a plow on the road is like a good-luck charm. You're only going to see it a few times, if you're lucky. They're content to let the spring thaw take care of their job.
Our horrible roads actually have a practical, relatively painless cure. It's called plowing. For a state that prides itself on its winters, you'd think we'd have figured that out by now.
ELIZABETH SANBORN, BLOOMINGTON