With all of the various opinions on wages, I believe that it is now time to address not only the issue about how much a server makes with tips, or how they speak to a customer (the “you guys” thread in several recent letters), but also about the perfume, cologne and scented deodorant they choose to wear when they come to work for you. You spend a lot of money on establishing an eatery of your choice, hiring the best chefs and support staff while creating an ambience that will attract clients. With that said, why do you allow your servers to ruin my experience by overpowering the aroma of the meal with some scent of their choice?

There have been many occasions that when asked “What would you like?” my response has been, “Another server, as your scent is toxic to my body.” At that point, I am now the bad “guy,” as they seem offended, when in fact it is me and many others like me who are offended.

I have been diagnosed with lymphoma and melanoma. After months of chemotherapy, a bone-marrow transplant and multiple surgeries, I developed multiple chemical sensitivity. I have been living with this scent sensitivity for more than 20 years and have left my meals unfinished on the table due to either servers or other clients.

As this opinion section has noted in its discussion of a proposed minimum wage increase in Minneapolis and of a tip credit, restaurant owners indicate that they will have to “force” me and others to compensate someone who has either ruined my experience entirely (left establishment before ordering) or at the very least diminished the experience of smelling a well-cooked meal that has been visibly presented well. If servers have scented products on, their tip is lowered automatically. Therefore, before you “force” me and others to tip, make sure they deserve it at all levels.

Kathleen Balaban, Richfield


With all of its impacts, it’s time for it to be in standard coverage

The April 2 Science and Health headline “With age comes a mouthful of trouble” was misleading and missed the point. It should have read: “With poverty comes a mouthful of trouble.” Lacking dental health care is harmful to your overall health. Yet, dental care is extremely costly for many, who simply don’t go to the dentist. After a lifetime of neglect, aging exacerbates dental health problems and leads to a breakdown in overall health. But the problem of poor dental health affects all ages.

It’s high time dental care (and eyeglasses, and hearing aids) are covered by insurers and by a comprehensive, affordable, reliable national health system. Think of how your health is affected and even made unsafe by not being able to see clearly. Or hear well. People who are hard of hearing (and I am one) have a high rate of mental illness, which makes sense, because you are increasingly isolated. It is a stretch for me, but I can manage to buy hearing aids.

Virginia L. Martin, St. Paul


Minnesota Family Investment, Veterans Home, Bell Museum

Do you remember when the space shuttle Challenger exploded in 1986? In the 31 years since, much has changed. The Minnesota Family Investment Program amount of cash assistance that is available has not. MFIP cash assistance has continued to stay at a monthly rate of $532 for a family of three since 1986. According to the Joint Religious Legislative Coalition, 64,000 children benefit from this program, with more than 50 percent of children under age 5.

The Legislature needs to support a $100 increase to the MFIP cash assistance program. Since 1986, the federal poverty guideline has increased by more than $900. Minnesota needs to get in line with that guideline. Children need a stable home environment to be able to learn well at school without other distractions. There is a direct correlation between childhood poverty and educational outcomes; an increase to MFIP would help children do better academically. How can we provide a good education for our children when we are not providing a stable home? Please help support this increase by contacting your legislators and encouraging them to make an increase to MFIP a top priority.

Sofia Everetts, Minneapolis

• • •

I am a veteran with a disabled veteran relative who resides at the Minnesota Veterans Home in Minneapolis.

If you have ever been there, you notice that the only access is via 46th Street through Minnehaha Falls and the Wabun Park area. If you have been there in the spring, summer and fall, you may notice many events in those areas, and many times Minnehaha Parkway is closed to traffic for those events.

This creates problems not only for family and friends to visit the Veterans Home, but it is a huge issue for emergency services to access the home. Many times they require a police escort to access the area and must use caution transiting the park area.

I grew up in that area and remember the bridge across Minnehaha Creek. It was closed due to safety reasons from deterioration of the bridge. Here is where you can help. The bridge is on the National Register of Historic Places, so it cannot be removed and replaced. It can only be rebuilt or rehabilitated.

Gov. Mark Dayton has included the rebuilding of the bridge in this year’s bonding bill. This is an important project. Not only will the bridge reopening allow a second access for the Veterans Home, it will shorten the amount of time that it takes for emergency services and access to the VA Medical Center.

Please call or write your legislators to support this provision in the bonding bill or request that this project be a stand-alone bill to help our veterans.

Peter M. Brown, Burnsville

• • •

Our names are Maria and Miller. We are kids, and this is our story:

(Miller, age 10): A friend was having a birthday party at the Bell Museum, and it was my first time there. I really liked the close-up display of real animals. We also got to touch cockroaches and other bugs you wouldn’t see in Minnesota. I loved the Bell very much and wished I could come back soon and see the rest.

(Maria, age 11): I felt so excited with all of the stuffed animals and hands-on interactions at the Bell. I felt amazed! There was so much to do. I really wanted to stay longer and explore the museum. When I was walking down those halls I thought, “WOW!” I really wanted to collect this kind of stuff.

We started our own museum (the Tiny Natural History Museum), had a showing at Southshore Community Center and donated half the money to the Bell Museum. They were very pleased, gave us a tour of their collections and invited us to show our Rocks and Minerals collection at an event. We were even featured on KARE-TV’s “Land of 10,000 Stories.”

We picked the Bell to make the donation because it was a natural-history museum and one of our favorites. They’re very supportive of us.

State legislators, please support the Bell Museum. It is so important to Minnesotans.

Maria and Miller Williams, Minnetrista