As a Northeast resident who was at Boom Island Park on Saturday when a 6-year-old boy was lost in the Mississippi River, I’d like to thank the trained first responders who arrived on the scene within minutes of the 911 calls (“Boy’s body recovered from river,” Sept. 1). Though they weren’t able to rescue him, they worked through that night and the next day to find him. It was obvious to everyone there that they were trying their best, and that the situation was terrible for them as well.

I wish, however, that a social worker or grief counselor had been among those who were summoned to the scene. The children in his group, who had been first to sound the alarm, were in obvious distress. One of them paced, her voice hoarse with screaming, among the many adults who’d responded. No one on the bank that day knew how to help her or the rest of them — we simply didn’t have the training for this level of raw grief. All anyone could do was wrap them in blankets and attempt to convince them to sit down. I’ll remember that as long as I live.

This is one situation where reallocating certain funds to send those trained in dealing with emotion into the community as first responders would have helped everyone — the children, the adults first on the scene and the emergency personnel themselves.

I hope the boy’s family finds healing, however possible. Thank you again to those who searched.

Jessie Hennen, Minneapolis


Look toward healing, not gloating

Everyone with strong feelings about the presidential election ought to frankly acknowledge this situation: Some 45 to 50% of us will be highly disappointed with the election results. “Highly disappointed” might be too soft. We might be incredulous; we might be angry; we might talk about moving to another country; we might be depressed; we might refuse to acknowledge the victor. Another 45 to 50% will be ecstatic, maybe saying the other side got what it deserved, thumbing their noses at the disappointed voters.

I’m somewhere in there myself. But I’m coming to the conclusion that for the next two-plus months and beyond, for the next four years, I need to change my attitudes. First, to temper my own impact. I will cast one ballot, but I am not in any position to gloat or despair. Instead I need to graciously accept the outcome, recognizing that despite my strong feelings in one direction, others legitimately have dramatically different views.

If “my” candidate is defeated, what if I congratulate family members, friends and others who vote for the winner? Even before the election, what if I go out of my way to acknowledge strengths in the other candidate or weaknesses in mine? Will that, somehow, help keep this country together? If my candidate wins, I’ll try to avoid any comment of disdain and do my best to temper my elation. I need to hope the best for the winner for the next four years. As much as I might oppose the winner, that person will be our president.

Paul A. Gilje, Apple Valley

• • •

The presidential election is upon us. Starting this month and ending on Nov. 3, Americans will make their choice. The campaign may well be confusing, full of attack and counterattack, and emotionally draining on us all. But if I could place an order for the conduct of the campaign, it would be the following:

I’d like each candidate to be truthful, whether talking about himself, his opponent or the world. I’d like him to spend more of his time describing his plans and less time attacking the other guy. But if he chooses to attack, he can only use facts — not a rewrite of history, nor some dire prediction. I do not need to know that if the other guy is elected, the earth will leave its orbit.

I want presidential debates that are civil. I want each candidate to wait for his turn to speak and not interrupt. I don’t want two candidates trying to outyell each other. The only clash I want to see is between ideas.

I want a voting process that is utterly unimpeded. Anyone who is eligible to vote and wants to vote, gets to vote. And if they need help, help is there. I don’t want any voter intimidation or suppression. I want a robust U.S. Postal Service that can do its job and can give me the confidence that yes indeed, my vote was delivered.

When one candidate loses the election, I want him to be humble, thankful and accept the results gracefully, unless there is clear evidence of fraud significant enough to affect the outcome. I also want the winner to be humble, thankful and graceful and to remember that 330 million people now need him to help “effect their safety and happiness,” as Thomas Jefferson put it. Please remember that what you do will affect every last one of us.

Am I asking too much? The answer should be a resounding no. The same dignity, integrity and respect required for a successful presidency should be on display by those who seek the office. Less than this is not acceptable and should honestly not be electable. And the voting process is part of the sacred trust between the electorate and the elected. There is nothing more fundamental to our system of governance.

Mark Brandt, Minneapolis

• • •

While we’re in agreement that President Donald Trump is no friend to women, you would be mistaken if you believed Joe Biden was. How quickly the Tara Reade saga fell out of the headlines (while less substantiated allegations against Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh’s alleged sexual misconduct ate up national media attention for months). The fact that Biden was forced, as one of his first acts as a presidential candidate, to apologize for his inappropriate physical contact with multiple women, should tell voters all they need to know about Biden’s “friendliness” toward women. Here’s something many readers may not know: There is a woman running for president who will be on your ballot on Nov. 3. Her name is Jo Jorgensen, and she is running as the Libertarian Party’s nominee. I can assure you, she is a better friend to women than is either of the septuagenarian accusees of sexual misconduct who are running on the major party tickets.

Ted Stauber, Minneapolis


Another closing, courtesy of COVID

According to published reports, many long-standing favorite Twin Cities restaurants have closed forever. Fuji Ya. Pazzaluna. The Egg & I. The El Burrito Mercado location that had taken Pepito’s old space, with hopes of helping the entire neighborhood. Alas, they are gone.

But one stands out in the crowd. For me, Little Tijuana was a grand symbol of survival — a little restaurant that survived for decades on broke, drunk Minneapolis College of Art and Design students. Their ascent to four-plus star ratings could only be explained by alcohol, or a perverse sense of humor, or COVID ... after losing your sense of taste.

But taste was never the point of Little Tijuana. They would have thrown Gordon Ramsay out on his butt. Whole Foods gourmet realities didn’t matter there. Cheap beer and vaguely Mexican food smothered in Velveeta mattered. And we loved it.

And now, Little Tijuana is gone. It’s as though the Grain Belt sign disappeared, or an alien spaceship scooped up Cecil’s. Some things just shouldn’t be allowed.

The loss of Little Tijuana is a loss that will never be documented in Lost Twin Cities, a book we’d all gladly trade for one more beer in our local nod to the grandeur that is Tijuana, Mexico.

Farewell, Lil T. Farewell Fuji. Farewell to you all. May you resurrect in some other edible form.

And if the Ideal Diner closes, I’m leaving town.

Gastronomically yours,

Craig Sinard, Plymouth



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