Progressive views need challenging

I feel Jocelyn Hale's "Looking for diversity in all the wrong places" (Oct. 16-29) stereotyped and polarized those whose opinions are outside her progressive views. Don't get me wrong, we all need and deserve couple-clones. These friends and neighbors reinforce and validate our experiences. But I also think we need more. More for us. More for our children.

One of the best gifts we can give to ourselves are friends and neighbors who can challenge our views and experiences in ways that clones cannot. How can we expect to walk in someone else's shoes if we don't even attempt to try them on? Instead of seeing our views reflected back to us, I would argue we need more friends and neighbors who open windows to the possibility that our progressive views are in fact narrow and confining when allowed to see the light of day.

Thanks to the Children's Theater, our family discovered a valuable lesson the other night as we watched the performance of "Honk! The Ugly Duckling Musical." Differences and similarities can coexist. Perhaps, much like "Honk," we can even learn to celebrate them.

This simple gift we can offer our children can expand their horizons, change the neighborhood and perhaps change the world. If we strive to educate children with a global perspective, even in the midst of a homogeneous part of the world, growth occurs. And that is the gift I wish for our children. Steve Wright Fulton

Use that leash!

In regard to Southwest Minneapolis residents who own a dog:

My basic problem arises from the lack of leashes when people walk their dogs. Not only is it against the law, but it is also extremely rude. I don't believe that people really think it out when they take their dogs off of leashes.

I know the ground rules and reasons for having a leash law, but it really stretches beyond that. What a dog owner does by taking a dog off of its leash is endanger his or her own dog. People assume that if somebody is out walking their dog that it's well behaved and nonthreatening. Sometimes, mean dogs get walked, too, and it will most likely be on a leash so that the owner can control the dog and keep it in check. This all goes to hell when some random dog runs up and gets in their dog's space. Inevitably, the owner of the more aggressive dog will be blamed.

Keep your dog away from their dog unless they say it's OK.

I don't want to lecture a lot of people about what they should and should not do with something that doesn't belong to me, but when it affects me negatively, I feel the need to speak up and stop it from happening. Please know that when you take your dog(s) out of the house or apartment, that they need to be leashed not only for the law, but also for consideration of other people and their dogs. Ben Allen CARAG

Legislative pages wanted

This month, the Minnesota House of Representatives began mailing informational packets to high schools in Minnesota, announcing the opportunity for high school juniors to serve at the Capitol as a high school page.

I'd like to encourage any high school junior with an interest in politics and public affairs to apply to this nonpartisan program. It's a terrific way to get an inside look at how our representative democracy really works and offers a hands-on educational experience that you just can't get in the classroom.

High school pages assist legislators and staff during sessions in the House chamber and participate in seminars and roundtable discussions on important current issues, including taxes, the environment and education. They also meet leading state officials, tour the Minnesota State Capitol and History Center, and other places of interest. Participants must be in their junior year of high school. Students from public, private and home schools are eligible. Pages are responsible for their own housing and meals, but stipends are provided to help defray those costs.

If you're interested, applications for the High School Page Program can be obtained from your school principal or counselor's office. A parent or guardian and a civics or social studies teacher, school principal or school counselor must sign the application. Applications must be postmarked no later than Nov. 26.

For more information, you can also write the High School Page Program, Minnesota House of Representatives, G45A State Office Building, St. Paul, MN 55155, or visit www.house.leg.state.mn.us/edprog/over2p.htm. Margaret Anderson Kelliher State Representative, District 60A