Readers write: Alex Jones and Sandy Hook, ALS funding, Aitkin County lakefront RV park, sidewalks and snow, basketball habits

My granddaughter got away with her life at Sandy Hook Elementary School in 2012. So I’ve been following the news of the lawsuit against Alex Jones and his painful claims that the massacre of 26 (mostly first graders) never happened.

This reminded me of how in April 2013, listeners to the Twin Cities talk show Davis and Emmer heard Bob Davis on KTCN radio (11:30 a.m.) that the Sandy Hook families who lost loved ones ” go to hell” for violating his second amendment rights. Davis also said, “I’m sorry you’ve suffered tragedy, but guess what? Deal with it and don’t force me to lose my freedom, which is a greater tragedy than your loss.”

At the time, I wrote about 30 letters to the show’s advertisers asking them to withdraw their ads. I’ve only heard of one advertiser who agreed with me. Meanwhile, it took Davis four days to apologize and he was not removed from the show.

I know that in this country we have freedom of speech. People seem to be able to say what they want to say.

Maybe in 2013 I should have gone to the station out of anger and slapped someone à la Will Smith. But now Alex Jones has offered to pay millions to say what he said. The families have refused the money to settle the case. you know what Deal with it.

Betty Beier, Edina


I think it’s wonderful that the Minnesota Legislature and Gov. Walz are providing money to help find a cure for ALS (“For Those With ALS, ‘This Bill Brings Hope’,” March 31). But if we’re being honest, a cure – if it ever comes – is years away. The best we can do now is help these people die with dignity.

My 55 year old son died last year from Multiple System Atrophy (MSA), a close cousin of ALS (Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis). As you know, death is really terrible – can’t breathe, can’t swallow and so many other complications. Luckily for him, our entire family, and his many friends, he lived in Oregon, which has a death-with-dignity law. He could choose his time and managed to avoid all the ugliness of a protracted death. It was a savior for us all and such a blessing for him.

Let’s work to create a compassionate death for those suffering from this cruel condition. We have warm memories of the day he died instead of seeing him slowly dying of suffering.

Jane Schoening, Edina


I agree with the Star Tribune editorial — we don’t need Minneapolis or St. Paul to clear every sidewalk (“Of slack shovelers and city spending,” March 24). I run almost every day throughout the winter in St. Paul. 85% of hikes are generally clear of snow fairly quickly after snowfall. To solve the problem of the remaining 15%, the editors make excellent suggestions.

But I have other concerns about sidewalks in winter. One of the biggest problems are sidewalks which, even when cleared of snow, are still icy. Why? Two reasons: First, they are unequal, at least in St. Paul. Not only is this a trip hazard year-round, but there are low areas where water collects and freezes in winter. Second, many homes have downspouts that drain directly onto sidewalks.

To eliminate ice, spend more money on improving sidewalks and drainage. Cite homeowners who spray water directly onto sidewalks.

Another big problem are the snow mountains left by snow plows at intersections. Homeowners often don’t dig their way through these hills. Climbing the ridges at each junction is treacherous, especially when the path becomes icy over the hill. The ridges are a blockade for anyone using a wheelchair, stroller or walker.

The cities could also clear snow here. Cities could use small front-end loaders to clear snow at intersections to ensure easy access from any street.

These changes, along with the solutions proposed by the editors, would make navigating our sidewalks much easier. The cost would also be much less than the city-funded, city-wide sidewalk snow removal.

John Lamp, St Paul


In response to “It’s cabins vs. campground as county debates lakeside RV park” (March 29), I — as a member of the Gun Lake Environmental Alliance — feel misrepresented. Most people in the alliance are not against the campsite. We just want it to be the appropriate size for our small lake in Aitkin County and would like an Environmental Impact Assessment (EAS) worksheet.

The developer is proposing 22 RV sites on a wetland with 22 sites and a boardwalk on a 712-acre lake. (To provide a frame of reference, Lake Minnetonka is 14,000 acres.) It also worries me that large septic tanks would need to be buried and emptied frequently (depending on frequency of use).

The article argues rich versus poor, when in fact it is about a dispute over whether a developer, potentially benefiting at the expense of the environment, can go ahead with a plan without first having an EAS performed. A green plan would protect the developer own Investment because it would secure customers for years to come.

Mary Larson, Maple Grove


I was struck by the March 31 headline, “Mariupol Civilians Deported to Russia.” The story is about the violent expulsion of Ukrainian civilians by enemy Russian forces. Deportation is the expulsion of a foreign national from a country by the lawful government. A more accurate headline: “Mariupol civilians forcibly taken by Russian troops.”

Gail Chang Bohr, St Paul


Hey basketball fans. Last month was March Madness. Not just for college teams, but for high school too. I’ve seen dozens of games and one thing I’ve wondered about is that nobody uses the backboard anymore.

It is to be crazy! Each team would get an additional eight to 10 points per game if they just picked it off the glass instead of going on the finger roll. Using the backboard takes spin away from the ball bouncing into the basket. It also helps prevent a defender from blocking the shot and risking a goalkeeper offense.

On the rare occasions that players actually use the backboard, they’re doing it wrong – they’re not going high over the glass at the intersection of the lines like we were taught to do in the olden days. Instead, they lay it just above the edge. These are the worst, rolling off the rim and making me pull my hair out.

If anyone reading this knows a basketball coach, please tell them something so I don’t lose my mind. Thanks.

Chris Edwards, Minneapolis

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