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It’s Wednesday, a mid-December morning, and I’m looking out my window at a dense fog and the temperature already at 47 degrees Fahrenheit. The forecast calls for a high of 57. It also calls for one to two inches of rain, winds of up to 50 mph and a significant chance of tornadoes. Even a few years ago, if I had heard this forecast on the radio or TV, I’d think I was hearing a wacko comic personality delivering some sick routine.
This past year alone, the changes in our climate have been far more dramatic than the changes enacted by our elected officials and our business elite. Yes, there is a front-end cost to moving rapidly away from fossil fuels. But think about what it’s costing us if the speed at which our climate is changing exceeds the speed at which we respond to this crisis. It is not only our children who will suffer. It will be us as well, and sooner rather than later.
Greg P. Olson, Eden Prairie
HUNTING ‘WILD COINS’
Robert Griggs’ poignant opinion piece Dec. 15 on hunting “wild coins” helped me appreciate someone very near and dear to me who also enjoys the sport of walking and coin hunting (“The pandemic, mental health and hunting ‘wild coins'”). He, like the writer, doesn’t hunt coins for the money but more for the adventure. I hope he doesn’t mind me giving away his hot spots, which are in the Whittier neighborhood. For him the curbside walking is the most rewarding. He revels in the neighborhood diversity and the exchange of smiles and greetings. I’m guessing it’s not the coin he may find but knowing that all is well and that we are all more alike than different. He returns home often penniless but far richer in mental and physical health.
I’m beginning to appreciate a deeper understanding what’s important this holiday season.
Mike Menzel, Edina
“Amen” to the very poignant and accurate letter to the editor from a respected health care professional who’s living and working with children and their parents. Gov. Tim Walz and the Minnesota Department of Health, there is no longer any good reason to keep closing down schools for children who rarely get seriously ill from COVID. All teachers can and should be vaccinated by now. The ripple effect of these frequent school closures is causing untold damage to children, and the toll from work disruptions is beyond measure. As someone who needed emergency hospital service for cardiac issues just last week, I can testify that the impact of the unvaxxed causes massive chaos and slow service to understaffed, burned out caregivers and hospitals. It’s time to put the unvaxxed at the back of the line and keep our schools open!
Christine Otteson, St. Paul
How many people have died during this pandemic, not because they themselves got sick with COVID, but because their care was deferred due to the casual attitudes of far too many smug Minnesotans? How many surgeries got delayed? How many medical situations degraded from mild to serious because of deferred care? How many non-COVID patients have died waiting for a bed in an ICU unit? (“Pandemic is forcing surgery delays,” front page, Dec. 15.) I can’t get surgery for the aggressive and deadly tumor in my face until Dec. 30, although I was diagnosed in early November. Why? Because of COVID cases overwhelming the system.
Why do we continue to prioritize COVID cases in our health care system? Even when the state began offering bribes for getting vaccinated they refused. What happens when there are no doctors or nurses left? Will we just continue to wring our hands and fret about how to get the unvaccinated to stop being so selfish and myopic?
It is time to stop. Stop prioritizing care for unvaccinated COVID patients who have no legitimate medical reason not to get vaccinated. Those who don’t care enough about themselves or others to take this pandemic seriously certainly don’t deserve to take up all the ICU beds in the state for weeks and weeks and weeks while medical teams work around the clock to save the lives they so carelessly put at risk. Let them bear the consequences of their choices. The rest of us have been suffering those consequences for far too long.
Alexandra Coe, Minneapolis
I read “Pandemic is forcing surgery delays” with considerable interest. Nowhere in the article did the writer discuss capacity issues before the pandemic vs. now, during it. I was under the impression that Gov. Walz imposed the stay-at-home orders over a year ago to give our hospitals time to ramp up capacity. Has that happened? I remember several months ago reading about nurses being furloughed or outright let go because of the pandemic-caused slow down in “noncritical” surgeries. Have they all been called back? It seems to me like there is more investigating and reporting to be done to give the public a clear picture of what is happening in our medical community.
Alice Richter, Prior Lake
I was excited to try the new hip-hop-themed coffee shop that recently opened in my north Minneapolis neighborhood. Once inside I was dismayed to see the note on the counter: “electronic payment only.” No cash? Before placing my order, I stated that I’d be unlikely to return. I am part of a still large, albeit shrinking, part of the American economy that prefers the ease, anonymity and convenience of paying with old-fashioned physical currency. Usually anything under $100 is bought with cash, certainly a beverage purchase of well under $10.
According to U.S. Federal Reserve statistics, as recently as 2017 cash accounted for 30% of all payments. In 2018 ATM cash withdrawals totaled $5.1 billion. Additionally in 2019, 6% of American adults were “unbanked” and 16% were “underbanked,” meaning they may not have affordable options to make an electronic payment. I suspect those percentages are even higher in my lower-income corner of the city.
This local small business is causing some potential customers to avoid them due to our personal preferences, while also excluding others who don’t have the means to make electronic payments.
My order included a latte named for the 1994 Wu-Tang Clan single “C.R.E.A.M.” (an acronym for “Cash Rules Everything Around Me”). The baristas behind the counter didn’t seem to catch the irony.
William W. Pirsig, Minneapolis
Over the last several years technology has been becoming bigger and bigger in our lives. I am a junior in college, and I am proud to say I am of the small percentage of people who still has a flip phone. My reason to still have a flip phone is because it is quite apparent how much of a distraction to society having a smartphone can be, along with the ability they have to take over lives.
However, it appears sports teams feel they don’t need to respect this. It has become nearly impossible to go to a Wild or Twins game without a smartphone. A visit to the box office and 15 minutes later you barely make it into the stadium or arena — with members of the box office thinking this dude is from 1995. Quite frankly I’m worried you soon won’t be able to print a boarding pass in the airport! Let’s bring back paper tickets, and let’s keep them forever!
Samuel Heber, St. Louis Park
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