Readers write: Northstar rail, Glasgow climate summit, gardening, Pope Francis and Biden, small towns

The possibility of shutting down the deficit-plagued Northstar commuter train line between Minneapolis and Big Lake is back in the news, but doing so unilaterally also comes at a price: $ 85 million refunded to the federal government for an early termination and 107 million dollars invested in the path. capacity that cannot be reclaimed (“Northstar rail has more problems,” front page, November 1. Better to save and leverage those funds by reinvesting in more relevant rail transport in this corridor. Here’s how:

First, keep train service, but reduce it, replacing the six weekday round trips from Big Lake with three round trips from St. Cloud, morning, noon and night, with limited stops at Coon Rapids and Ramsey. This would recognize that Minnesota’s busiest intercity transit corridor is likely to remain popular with students, intermittent commuters, and people dependent on transit, even as traditional trips from downtown to Minneapolis decline.

This would remove the Northstar train miles from the host freight railroad’s congested Minneapolis terminal track and add them to the low-cost, wide-open tracks west of Big Lake, making additional track capacity charges unlikely. to extend the service to St. Cloud. It will also enable the sale of at least two of the five NorthStar trainsets to fund station upgrades in the St. Cloud area and better bus-rail transfer service to / from the remaining commuter train stations.

Then move the management and operation of what will truly be long distance service to Amtrak. It would make it easier and cheaper to add services, remove the bus and transit-focused Met Council, and most notably, federalize the inevitable operating and capital subsidies.

Jérôme Johnson, Saint-Paul

GLASGOW SUMMIT

President Joe Biden will hopefully pledge the United States to be a leader at the Glasgow climate summit (“G-20 Acts to Weaken Coal Future”, front page, November 1.

The feeling expressed by Johan Rockstrom and David Attenborough in the documentary “Breaking Boundaries” is that we are approaching a point of no return.

Drastic weather events around the world were a harbinger of much worse to come. The recent summer in hell in Australia killed or injured around 3 billion animals. Scientist Terry Hughes has tears in his eyes when he sees the Great Barrier Reef go white. He adds that it’s frustrating that climate scientists haven’t been listened to for decades.

Let’s follow the science. Rockstrom clearly states that the planet should “guide everything we do.”

Mike McDonald, Saint-Paul

GARDENING

There are eco-friendly alternatives to polluting gasoline-powered leaf blowers for cleaning your lawn and driveway (“First thing to do, let’s turn off all the leaf blowers,” Opinion Exchange, November 1. Two are simple devices invented ago. centuries: rake and broom, might even give you some beneficial exercise.

Elaine K. Murray, Minneapolis

The writer is a retired professional gardener.

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You might notice some sort of shrub that is still green in late fall around our city. This shrub is called buckthorn. Although it’s illegal to import, sell, or transport buckthorn in the state of Minnesota, I still see it on people’s lawns and on public lands. By not taking any action to remove it, you are indirectly transporting it throughout our region when birds and critters eat the berries of female shrubs.

Buckthorn dominates the understory, preventing our native trees and plants from growing. If no action is taken, what will your parks and woods look like in 30, 40 or 50 years? I implore my fellow citizens to replace your buckthorn hedges with something native and that our city remove the buckthorn from our public lands. It can be completely wiped out, but only as part of a collective community effort.

Dan Greenheck, Saint-Paul

THE PAPAL AUDIENCE OF BIDEN

How can that be? As one of the most influential people in the world, Pope Francis did not say a word to President Joe Biden about the injustice of abortion at their recent meeting (“Pope to Biden: Keep Communion », October 30). The Pope has spent a lifetime rightly declaring that it is wrong for a woman to end the life of an unborn baby; the Pope has repeatedly stressed that a woman cannot choose abortion to avoid the inconvenience of an unplanned pregnancy; the pope clarified that the free choice of a woman is replaced by the right to life of her unborn baby. But then, in a 75-minute interview with the notoriously pro-choice President of the United States (abortion is okay), the Pope decided not to say a single word of pro-life persuasion. Instead of reaffirming the terrible wrong of preserving convenience by killing the unborn child, the Pope simply smiled, shook hands, and played sweetly. Apparently the Pope did not want to offend the feathers of pro-choicers around the world, but what a colossal mistake! On a question of this magnitude, the Pope should have spoken with force and clarity. His pro-life words could have sent a powerful message to people around the world. Although I am not a Catholic, I say the Pope should resign.

Donald E. Gerlach, Burnsville

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Unbelievable! Pope Francis called Biden a “good” Catholic and, according to reports, the issue of abortion was never raised. As the moral leader of the Catholic Church, it was the Pope – not Biden – who had an obligation to raise the issue for discussion. I am also relieved to know that Biden is the role model I should follow to be a “good” Catholic and that the Pope can pass that judgment. Apparently, Sunday mass attendance is the norm. I guess my 16 years of Catholic education were wasted. I have been taught that following church principles and the Ten Commandments and my behavior, actions, and practices are important.

It was an opportunity for the Pope to be a courageous world moral leader. Instead, he saw it as a photoshoot. Is it any wonder that Catholicism is in ruins? Shame on Pope Francis.

WW Bednarczyk, Minneapolis

SMALL TOWN

Last week’s newspaper had a letter from a resident of Albert Lea, Minnesota. Albert Lea is a beautiful, welcoming town with five lakes and is located at the junction of two highways. She suggests that city dwellers consider moving to Albert Lea for a much better lifestyle, especially those who can now work from home.

She has to be careful what she wants. The Wall Street Journal recently listed Billings, Montana as the number one emerging real estate market in the United States. The average price of a single-family home in Billings has jumped 32% from 2020 to 2021. For many people who grew up in Montana, this increase leads to a shortage of affordable housing. Billings is a very popular city.

Albert Lea is also a very popular city. I can understand the writer’s desire to share his hometown with others. Don’t tell the Wall Street Journal how big a city Albert Lea is. It can be our affordable little secret.

Wayne Dokken, Robbinsdale

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Terri S. Tomasini