The last time I wrote a column responding to reader e-mail and phone calls, I concentrated on South Dakota billionaire T. Denny Sanford and my portrayal of him in an earlier column.

That conversation started to circle, so let's tuck into some questions and criticisms readers made about other topics I've written about in recent weeks.

In mid-March, I wrote about Basim Sabri's big expansion of Karmel Mall in Minneapolis. Sabri is a less polarizing figure than Sanford, but he has upset plenty of people over four decades as a local developer.

And some readers thought I was too kind in my portrayal of him. I responded to several callers and people who e-mailed with this particular criticism.

My column did note that Sabri served a stint in federal prison nearly 20 years ago and that there's an edginess to him that surfaced very quickly when we met.

That wasn't enough for one reader. He ended our e-mail exchange by writing, "This is the problem with our country. Both sides tell incomplete stories about different topics and it's how we end up with some of the leaders we have. Tell the whole story or don't tell the story at all. Glad I just cancelled my subscription."

I certainly dislike seeing a reaction like that, but I stand by the choices I made in describing Sabri. Like most people, he's complicated. He angers people at times but he also helps people make money and build businesses.

In the stories we all tell, we make choices about what to convey and what to leave out. Journalists do that publicly and we accept the criticism that comes.

My column last month about the staffing shortage at Minnesota post offices drew a few tales from readers who continue to encounter irregular deliveries. But I also heard one theory that I had not encountered previously: that the contract the U.S. Postal Service has with puts the retailer's deliveries ahead of regular mail.

A quick scan shows that some news organizations have investigated this in recent years and reached different conclusions. The Postal Service's spokeswoman in the Twin Cities declined to comment on Amazon and its effect on mail deliveries.

I also reached out to the carrier I had quoted anonymously in my original column. That carrier said packages are given priority over regular mail, no matter their origin. The fact that Amazon puts so many of its packages into the Postal Service stream, along with the volume of packages from the general increase in e-commerce, has a cumulative effect on mail delivery.

If the Postal Service was at full staff, however, the package dynamic wouldn't matter because there would be enough people to get everything delivered as quickly as the system is designed for, the carrier said.

My criticism of the votes by Democrats in the Legislature to reverse an alternative path to teacher certification that was created in 2017 brought a counterpoint column from teacher education professionals.

Several readers wrote or called to say I should have mentioned that the pay for teachers is not high enough to draw people to the profession.

One teacher who moved here from Virginia wrote: "If teachers were paid a professional wage, were respected by the community, and had decent working conditions, there would be no shortage. The union has nothing to do with it. The wage here was actually below what I was making in Virginia."

I agree that pay is very important and want to see teachers paid well. But it's more than that.

People choose work based on their skills and passions while also making a calculation, perhaps unconsciously, about whether the effort and cost of that endeavor will pay off financially or some other way.

The Legislature approved huge increases in funding to schools, which should help teacher pay. But by wiping out the alternative path to certification, lawmakers also decided teachers must take preparation programs through universities or unions. So they also raised the cost of becoming a teacher.

Finally, several readers called or wrote with the same reaction to my recent column that connected St. Paul's snow removal difficulties to a tax incentive that deprives it of revenue. They said St. Paul was having problems clearing snow long before it started using the incentive called tax increment financing.

One reader called and told about getting his VW Beetle stuck in a rut on the unplowed Kellogg Boulevard in front of St. Paul City Hall in 1963. He was so livid he decided to go inside and tell off the mayor.

Seated at the reception desk in the mayor's office was a woman with whom he'd gone to high school. He said immediately he felt foolish because he recognized he wasn't dealing with a faceless institution — but someone just like him.