Last June, I was fortunate enough to go on an African safari in Tanzania. At a hotel in the Serengeti Game Park were three cell towers artfully disguised as 100-foot-tall trees. I was amazed at the concept of concealing this blight on the landscape. There are also opportunities to camouflage the smaller devices visible on rooftops and in our scenic venues.

We live in a location that takes pride in its natural surroundings. At the same time, we defile the landscape with cell towers that provide us with instant wireless communication. My proposal is to consider an initiative to camouflage any new towers built. We need a groundswell of support from people who care about our environment and abhor visual pollution. We need to contact our city councils and local politicians.

The relatively low cost of disguising a tower can be absorbed by the communication companies — the public coffers need not be affected. Camouflage exists usually in places of affluence where the communications companies are forced to comply. We would like to identify existing towers in areas of our city that need to be cloaked and find out when new towers are proposed. Our best plan would be to enact initiatives to demand that new installations received camouflage. When we are able to successfully erect one specimen, it will help this cause gather momentum.

If Tanzania can have the vision to cherish their environment, why can’t we? Join us to work together to sustain Minnesota’s natural beauty.

Christopher Mickman, Anoka


Readers still need more information

The final story in the series on home care (“Home care fraud is going unpunished,” Dec. 28) missed the chance to really help readers understand this issue and think about how to proceed. It provided useful information about practices within the industry and actions by the state. But the value of its “here are the numbers” approach was greatly weakened by the absence of key numbers: the number of investigators in the various agencies and, more crucially, whether we in Minnesota ensure that we get adequate enforcement: Have we provided more support for those investigative areas as the industry has grown? Kept it flat? Even worse, cut support during the last decade of rapid growth in the field? Without this context, it is no surprise the story gives no clues for how to move forward effectively against bad actors while supporting good ones.

Robert Frame, Minneapolis



Listen — the fewer open hours, the better

In reading the Dec. 28 editorial pushing for Sunday off-sale liquor sales in Minnesota, it occurred to me that there is a better alternative.

In order to drastically reduce domestic abuse, robberies and assaults, divorce, and financial devastation by sports gambling addicts, and to reduce both property taxes and income taxes in the state, we not only should continue to disallow sales on Sunday but also eliminate sales on either Saturdays or Mondays.

The only people hurt by this that I can foresee are predatory DWI attorneys and possibly newspaper advertising sales reps.

Shame on the Star Tribune Editorial Board for running with the herd on this. We all know drinking is safest under the watchful eyes of licensed servers, bartenders and security personnel at our on-sale establishments. Sunday sales would also destroy the feasibility of the small, independent liquor stores and favor the national chains and large grocers moving into that business. I guess it is really too bad that life in Minnesota is so painful these days that a substantial number of our citizens need to self-medicate to endure.

Chris Howard, Minneapolis



Oh, how to dignify Dec. 28 commentary?

Given the debate surrounding police use of force issues, after reading the Dec. 28 commentary “Law and order without the use of force,” written by two individuals who “teach” at Yale Law School, I was dumbfounded. Their theory and suggestion is so far off the mark and lacking in common sense and practical application in the criminal-justice system that I am reminded of the scene in the movie “Animal House” where Donald Sutherland (playing a professor) is smoking pot with students and is advancing the theory that the Earth could be one giant molecule under the fingernail of a giant.

Kevin R. Hinrichs, Bloomington

• • •

The neat little theory from Ian Ayres and Daniel Markovitse has no basis in reality. The cases in Ferguson, Mo., and New York were a lot more complicated than the jaywalking misdemeanor to which the authors allude. So their solution is make the police ask for a warrant to arrest people for committing a crime. This is a ludicrous idea! They want to defang and declaw the police ability to keep order. Do they think criminals are going to show any respect to police if the police can’t back up their authority to keep law and order? No — there will be chaos caused by thugs, and there will be no law and order!

Patrick Kenney, Shorewood

• • •

Ayres and Markovitse indeed have a valid premise and a convincing tone: Go easy on your suspect there on the sidewalk until he gives you a reason to go hard. Their assessment of how the urban police force of today should operate implies a gentler and kinder sort of peace officer. Good. I do, however, wish that the authors could have come up with a term other than “rules of engagement,” as this term connotes little that is gentle or kind but rather wars on foreign soil and the use of full military force with all the lethal 21st-century weapons available.

Seemingly, since 9/11, we’ve read of a tendency toward a paramilitary appearance on the part of some police departments across our land. Television cameras capture for the evening news dozens of squads, blinding light bars ablaze in a kaleidoscope of color. Overdone SWAT teams pouring robot-like armored soldiers into the street. Militarylike Humvees owned by small-town police departments. Police chiefs appear on our screens in uniforms resplendent with patches and badges and four shining stars on the collars like Gen. Patton.

Those who endeavor “to protect and to serve” engage in a highly honorable profession. In the old days, they were known as “peace officers.” Would that they still could be. It would be an easy step.

Michael J. Wellner, Springfield, Minn.