Cartoon was concerning

To the editor,

We write this letter to express our profound concern about the political cartoon printed on the Opinion page of the March 9, 2017, Hastings Star Gazette, implying that Jason Lewis is not working for the people of CD 2 and is unwilling to meet his constituents. He is available to the public through a variety of formats, either in person at his office in Washington, D.C., and his office in Burnsville, via email, telephone, snail mail and at public meetings. I understand that some people looking to discredit him early in his term of office have called their own meetings daring him to show up. It is intuitively obvious to the most casual observer that the intent is to bring media focus on their particular groups and their politically motivated issues rather than trying to provide legitimate input to develop good public policy.

We think this is fueling an early start to the 2018 elections and hope this newspaper has not already chosen a side. Congressman Lewis has barely been in office a month. Let's give him a chance to produce results and then judge him by the outcomes.

We understand full well that not everyone was pleased with the outcome of November's election. That's life. Had Jason Lewis' opponent won, many Republicans would have been unhappy. But it is very unlikely that they would engage in such an immature response. It is time to grow up and work to make this country the best it can be.

Terry and Margaret Flower


Editor's note: Last week's political cartoon was published as a reflection upon recent events regarding Rep. Jason Lewis' lack of in-person town hall meetings, and was not intended as a 2018 campaign comment. Aside from those provided to us by our parent company, Forum Communications, the Hastings Star Gazette does not give political endorsements.

State should keep funding SHIP

To the editor,

In the United States, it is estimated that one out of four older adults will fall. The effects of falling can be devastating to an individual, both physically and emotionally. The financial cost is also staggering. According to information published by the CDC, the cost to Medicare for falls in 2015 totaled over $31 billion.

Thanks in part to support from the Statewide Health Improvement Partnership (SHIP), Dakota County has been offering classes to older adults to help prevent falls and prevent inactivity and social isolation as a result of falls. The class is called "A Matter of Balance." I was a volunteer trainer for this class offered last summer in Hastings and received great feedback from the participants. Other such classes are being taught across Dakota County and in several other Minnesota counties at minimal cost to participants.

State lawmakers are debating right now whether to continue funding SHIP. SHIP not only supports classes for older adults, it also supports programs that work with increasing exercise and improving nutrition in our schools; reducing the impact of tobacco; improving workplace wellness for small businesses and more.

SHIP support is money well spent to improve health for individuals at all ages in Minnesota. I strongly encourage our state lawmakers to keep SHIP fully funded in the state budget.

Mary Bang

Mendota Heights