The Free Press, Mankato, MN

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September 8, 2013

Trees are well worth the investment

Thanks to The Free Press for its Sunday editorial espousing the benefit of trees (”Fall into habit of tree-hugging”).

When I go into the older portions of Mankato and North Mankato I enjoy all the mature tree plantings that have grown up to shade our streets and homes in the summer. Not only are they lovely, but they are truly nature’s air conditioner.

Many cities realize this and have promoted aggressive tree-planting programs calculated to save millions of dollars in energy costs over the years.

We need to do the same in our newer developments, not only in residential neighborhoods but in commercial areas as well. Some tree planting is being done already, but it needs to be accelerated.

Citizens and business owners can take the initiative themselves, but planting trees costs money. A homeowner or business owner has to ask: How much value will trees add to my property? How much will they save me in electricity bills? If I spend several hundred dollars on trees today, when will they begin to pay off?

Investor-owned utilities like Xcel and even co-op utilities like Benco have the incentive to sell more electricity, not less — unless they are required by the state to promote conservation programs.

Thus, it is up to cities, sometimes at taxpayer expense, to promote urban forestry.

For me, just driving, walking or biking through our tree-lined streets is worth it. All citizens who agree with me should tell their elected representatives: Yes, it’s worth it to plant trees.

Leigh Pomeroy, Mankato

President, Mankato Area Environmentalists

Maertens should listen to Limbaugh

In response to Tom Maerten’s view published in The Free Press Aug. 11. Just about everybody knows that when you are not very smart, you talk about and criticize people.

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