I was heartened to read the Feb. 21 article “Mpls asks: Where’s our mail service?” Sadly, though, it is much worse for some of us than the delays reported due to weather and short-staffing. Since early December, I am aware of five pieces of mail that have been sent to me that have never arrived: two expense reimbursement checks and a W-2 mailed in December and January from the downtown post office from a former employer, a W-9 from my current employer in Florida a couple weeks ago, and an experiment I did where I walked two blocks and dropped a stamped letter to myself in the blue box. Two and a half weeks later, still nothing. Packages and magazines arrive, but letters seem to be running 50 percent into my box. At what point does “losing mail” of this scope become “throwing away” mail, which is a federal crime? I have made several calls to local U.S. Postal Service managers, leaving voice mail messages with complaints, and am hoping to get some answers. Please continue in your reporting, because this is one Minnesota story that they can’t just blame on the weather.

Ruth Reitan, Minneapolis

HENNEPIN HEALTHCARE AND HCMC

Providers work on social problems because they face them daily

Hennepin County Board Member Mike Opat has a long history with HCMC/Hennepin Healthcare, which probably qualifies him to comment and make suggestions concerning its future (“Five steps for the future of Hennepin Healthcare, HCMC,” Opinion Exchange, Feb. 20). However, I must take issue with one of his objectives, from the perspective of a pediatrician who spent his entire career of nominally 40 years in that system.

Opat states that “there have been too many examples of doctors and other providers working on grander social welfare issues.” I contend that it is precisely because they are daily confronted by those problems, and their devastating consequences for both the individual and society, that they should be trying to define their causes and extent accurately, to develop strategies both within the medical field and without to diminish those causes and alleviate their consequences, and to inform legislators and other policymakers of the nature and extent of these problems. Indeed, it is precisely because they are “grander” issues that multidisciplinary perspectives and approaches must be considered.

I am reminded of a professor who observed that professionalization is merely a process of enlarging one’s blind spot. A corollary thereof is that thus the most effective professionals might well be those who can cross professional boundaries, develop new knowledge in diverse fields, educate others and influence social change for the benefit of us all. This is, indeed, a worthy goal and is certainly congruent with the mission Opat cites.

Dr. John D. Tobin Jr., St. Paul

FISH HATCHERIES

Legislators would do well to listen to the advice of professionals

The Feb. 20 paper included an article (“New investment in restocking?”) about state Sen. Bill Ingebrigtsen authoring a bill to create an advisory committee for improving Minnesota’s fish hatcheries and stocking programs. However, a legislator and citizen advisory committee telling Department of Natural Resources professionals how to manage the resource makes me cringe. Modern natural-resource management is based on science, and politicians are generally more interested in what sounds good than in sound science. The idea that all we have to do to increase fishing success is simply to stock more fish is, at best, a 19th-century idea, and is, more often than not, a waste of money. (Isn’t that the waste in government we are trying to avoid?) I think the advisory committee is just a way to turn over some of our tax dollars to private interests.

Our legislators need to ask the professionals their advice, not tell them what to do. If our legislators want to help our fishing culture, environment and economy, try funding more clean-water initiatives and invasive species research. If you’re not sure, just ask the DNR.

David Brockway, Edina

‘CONVERSION THERAPY’

Religious organizations don’t seem well-suited to issues of sexuality

Nate Oyloe (“Not all with same-sex attractions want them,” Opinion Exchange, Feb. 18) alludes to two movies that came out this past year about conversion therapy. Well, one of them was based on a true story. The person who led that abusive conversion therapy camp has given up the business and now lives with his husband. Religious organizations are not well-equipped to deal with issues of sexuality because they are pushing an agenda of denial and therefore refuse to learn about it. You don’t have to look far for scandals of abuse; the Catholics and Baptists both have been shown to have hidden sexual abusers within their ranks for years. This clearly shows they didn’t understand the behavior of the abusers or the damage to the children they hurt. The same is true with conversion therapy. We cannot allow the malpractice to happen to the children of our state.

Larry Miller, St. Louis Park

IMMIGRATION AND ASSIMILATION

It took courage for writer to express doubts that so many of us have

Thank you for publishing a Feb. 19 letter writer’s opinion against a “world without borders … where every country is a conglomerate of worldwide cultures.” It’s brave of her to express what so many of us think but haven’t written for fear of nasty, negative feedback, hoping someone else would speak for us, or because we may have thought we were alone in our thinking. I’m not sure I could have said everything as effectively as she with so few words.

We are our own country — we have our own Constitution, our own laws, our own language, our own holidays, and have suffered our own revolution, and all of that makes us uniquely the United States of America. We want to keep it this way. We will intelligently continue to improve what needs to be improved, but we want to be us — beautiful, welcoming, allowing as many freedoms as possible to citizens with respect for the rights of others.

Dorothy Ochis, Eagan

SPORTS AND MEDIOCRITY

Overdiluted these days

Jim Souhan (“Modern sports, from gems to pro and NCAA ca$h cow$,” Feb. 20) was accurate. Mediocrity in sports is now rewarded and accepted by fans. I like to put it another way: Sports has become the opiate of the people. It is 24/7. It continues to expand. There are more teams, more leagues, more bowl games. Coverage in the media expands with more than channels, more talk radio, more newspaper coverage. “Sunday Night Football” on NBC has been the top-rated TV show for a number of years. There certainly is a place for sports, but now it has taken over like a powerful drug. Have we as a society become too much of a spectator society instead of a participant society? Whatever happened to personal achievement? Are lives filled with that much boredom that even mediocre sports brings joy?

Gordie Hayes, Shakopee

GOT ‘MILK’?

Not if a particular lobby gets its way

I see the milk lobby would have nondairy milks rebranded as juices (“Dairy farmers take fight over ‘milk’ label to FDA,” Feb. 19). Does this mean we’ll now be calling milkweed “butterfly juice weed”?

Patricia A. Taylor, Minneapolis

DOG WALKING AT ROSEDALE

Some nincompoops ruin it for all

How hard is it to clean up after your dog while walking inside Rosedale Center? (“Tired of mess, mall closes doors to dog walkers,” Feb. 19.) The mall supplies dog poop bags, paper towels and hand sanitizer in at least two locations. Thanks to those inconsiderate dog owners, hundreds of dogs will no longer have the joy of a walk they all love and the fun of seeing other canines in a warm, indoor location. These dogs spend their whole lives making humans happy. Why can’t their owners keep their dogs happy?

Mary Stanton, Edina