Regarding “Her year of dressing modestly” (Variety, Aug. 16): Women should dress to please themselves. I fail to see how embracing frumpiness is liberating. If a woman is spending hours on hair and makeup, she either enjoys primping or she’s going about it wrong. Even in my long-ago college days, I was able to be ready for my 8 a.m. classes in 20 minutes: false eyelashes, pantyhose and heels.

I have always found dresses and skirts to be more comfortable (and in summer, cooler) than jeans or trousers. As a small girl, I climbed the highest trees in a pinafore.

Just because a woman wants to look good, enjoys fashion and is well-groomed does not mean she is buying into male fantasy. Many women want to look stylish, and what’s wrong with that?

I believe women dress more for other women than for men. If a woman chooses to go dowdy, that is her choice, but she shouldn’t chastise other women who don’t want to take that route. Personally, I like to see well-groomed men and women. Far too many men, of a certain age, let themselves go. If you’re at a wedding or a funeral and look as if you’ve set out to mow the yard, you may want to consider a wardrobe update.

The problem is not that too many men and women care too much about appearance, it is that too many people in the U.S. just plain look sloppy. It probably all started when the corporate world allowed casual Fridays.

Linda Benzinger, Minneapolis


New stuff gets approved. That’s the betting line in Minneapolis.

I am not a gambler, but I’d win this bet: The Heritage Preservation Committee in Minneapolis will approve the most recently proposed buildings in the North Loop that are in a designated historic district (“Vail group eyes 2nd Loop project,” Aug. 16). Apparently, “visual cues” in new buildings like these most recent ones are sufficient to gain approval, even though they essentially ignore the central features that the guidelines require, such as height, mass, type of materials and relative complementary quality of the buildings. Instead we will get “clean lines” and “simple rectangles.” The irony here is that the desirability and vitality of these types of districts rely upon the opposite of what the committee nearly always approves these days. In Minneapolis, we’ve been here before. Just look at the consequences of “urban renewal” in the 1960s in downtown Minneapolis.

Jeffrey Brown, Minneapolis


A new vision can be sold, but it requires candor and precision

We have read with interest the recent letters and articles in the Star Tribune concerning the Minneapolis 2040 Comprehensive Plan. Our house, in the middle of a block in the middle of the Longfellow neighborhood, is a 1,200-square-foot bungalow. It is both a modest building and a major investment. It represents what financial security is possible for a middle-class couple in a country undergoing rapid change during turbulent economic times. And, like many of our neighbors, we are no longer young.

We do understand the logic of increased population density. We also understand the reality that a new fourplex next to us would reduce our property value. And so we are uneasy about the future. The recent letters and articles make it clear that many residents of Minneapolis share our concern.

Those who are developing the Minneapolis 2040 Plan should act responsibly and address the community’s concern about fourplex placement with candor and precision. What kinds of residential lots face rezoning? Lots anywhere? Just lots on street corners? Just lots on major thoroughfares? Which streets are “major thoroughfares”?

If you say “Minneapolis 2040” in our neighborhood, eyes roll and shoulders shrug. It doesn’t have to be that way. Neighborhood buy-in is possible if planners address the concerns of their neighbors clearly and directly. Now’s the time!

Audrey and Jack Van Cleve, Minneapolis

Editor’s note: After a public comment period, the draft plan released in March is under revision. The Minneapolis 2040 website ( details the land use envisioned. Navigate to “Topics,” then “Land Use & Built Form.”


Hunt is inappropriate given the circumstances

I am writing as a concerned citizen who values and promotes a balanced environment in our state and country. I am writing specifically about the Yellowstone grizzlies who were protected under the Endangered Species Act from 1975 to 2017. Now, a trophy hunt, sanctioned by U.S. Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke, is scheduled for Sept. 1 that could result in the killing of 22 grizzlies, including 13 females in Wyoming and one male in Idaho.

Grizzlies in the Lower 48 states occupy less than 5 percent of their historic habitat, with only a few isolated populations remaining in the northern Rockies and virtually nowhere else. The hunt coincides with key food sources for grizzlies in the Yellowstone ecosystem collapsing and mortality rates of grizzlies increasing. Grizzlies are alive today because they were protected under the Endangered Species Act. Today, they need to be left alone to survive as best they can without human interference.

Ruth Katz, Minneapolis


If you haven’t seen a friend in a while, catch up. Don’t delay.

My wife and I had dinner the other night with two friends we have known for almost 50 years. While we don’t see them too often, we do make a point to get together once in a while for dinner and to catch up. The conversation flowed among the four of us over topics as varied as the whereabouts of mutual friends, fond memories of past shared experiences, our health and the health of others, politics, and the current state of the world. We talked of people who have passed on and of how quickly life flits away.

As our conversation and dinner moved on, from opening toast to the main course and dessert, it occurred to me that what is truly important in life is to tell those people who matter most to us how much they matter to us. Life is short and time and circumstance happen to all of us, so if you only do one thing today, tell someone who is really important to you how important they are to you. Do it now. Don’t wait until tomorrow. Pick up the phone, pen a letter, send an e-mail — whatever is your method of communication — to that person or persons who mean something to you. Tell them. We don’t know what tomorrow may bring and there is no better time than now to let them know.

David Fernelius, Crystal


Expect anything

Saw these two headlines next to each other yesterday: “No more support goats on flights, says Southwest” and “L.A. subway system adds body scanners.” This can lead to only one conclusion: Travel is getting weird.

Madeleine Asher, Minneapolis