Something’s gone very wrong in youth sports

Second Amendment

What happened to youth sports being fun, and learning lessons on winning and losing? Today, youth sports are about zero-tolerance policies for kids who are as young as 10 and 12 for not showing up to a game, even though the life lesson and opportunity they would miss the game for outweighs the game. Notice how I use “game” so many times? Because that is what youth sports are. Games. Now, though, parents and coaches are all about creating the next great professional athlete or living vicariously through their kids. Youth sports is harming kids, and not nurturing them. Travel baseball, travel soccer, travel basketball. All of it is just for the money. Sad and ridiculous.

Ben Kroeger, Canton

Give both sides on e-bike safety

I take issue with Mackinac Island Fire Chief Jason St. Onge, in the May 3, 2023 Free Press front page regarding two fires caused by e-bike batteries on the Island (“Mackinac Island residents, historic businesses warned of e-bike battery fires.”) My issue is that his comments and broad brush strokes against all e-bike batteries are inflammatory. I am disappointed that the Free Press offered no insight from e-bike manufacturers but instead slapped this story on the front page. As a result of the uneven coverage of the issue, more municipalities and/or businesses will ban e-bike batteries. E-Bikes already are VERY misunderstood by a lot of the general public and now add the batteries to that and you may very quickly shut down a growing and viable means of recreation for many many people.

Betsy Taylor, Beulah, Mich.

Why can’t we keep kids safe online?

If the government can mandate safety features like seat belts and air bags before a car is sold, illegalize flavored e-cigs and the like (but not marijuana gummies) to protect the kids, then surely they can demand social media platforms and gaming sites not to operate unless they can assure protection for children.

Gary McDonald, Rochester

My trans relative wants to enjoy her life, too

I agree with Lawrence Rosenstock who wrote a letter that appeared in the April 30 issue of the Detroit Free Press, “Transgender Daughter Wants to be Left Alone.”

I have a 14-year-old transgender girl in my family who now is her authentic self, happy and successful in school.  She is a beautiful person, supported by school staff, friends and family. She too just wants to be left alone, enjoy her life and be treated like any other girl. It’s as simple as that!

Rene Vander Eyk, Rochester Hills

Menthol cigarettes must be banned

On April 29 of last year, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) proposed rules to end the sale of menthol cigarettes and flavored cigars. The FDA has had a full year to take comments and now it is time for action: The Biden Administration must finalize these rules to protect youth in Michigan and across the U.S., and address health inequities in our country.

Tobacco is still the leading cause of preventable death and disease in Michigan, killing over 16,000 residents each year. More than 17% of adult Michiganders smoke, and 25% of high school students use a tobacco product. On top of that, smoking costs our state more than $5 billion in direct medical costs and over $11 billion in lost productivity each year, placing a state and federal tax burden of over $1,100 on each Michigan household.

This is a tremendous opportunity to save lives and reduce the toll of tobacco on the health of Michiganders. In the first 13-17 months of removing menthol cigarettes from the marketplace, one study estimates 923,000 smokers nationwide would quit.

Join the American Lung Association in urging the Biden Administration to finalize the proposed rules and end the sale of menthol cigarettes and flavored cigars by August to save lives and protect our youth by asking President Joe Biden to finalize these rules at

Amanda Holm, Livonia

The gun lobby gets it wrong on Second Amendment

The gun lobby’s interpretation of the Second Amendment is one of the greatest pieces of fraud, I repeat the word, fraud, on the American people by special interest groups that I have ever seen in my lifetime.

The real purpose of the Second Amendment was to ensure that state armies — the militia — would be maintained for the defense of the state. The very language of the Second Amendment refutes any argument that it was intended to guarantee every citizen an unfettered right to any kind of weapon he or she desires. Those words are from the former conservative Supreme Court Chief Justice Warren Burger regarding the gun lobby and the National Rifle Association. It appears fitting, considering the current actions or non-actions of the Republican Party when it comes to gun legislation, to have this description of the Second Amendment: The money of the gun lobby, being necessary to the survival of politicians, the right to madmen to slaughter children shall not be infringed. This must be their position and what they believe. Why else would there not be any meaningful policies and action to end all this unnecessary gun violence?

Jim Jeziorowski, Wayne

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