On Oct. 6, Hurricane Matthew swept near Florida with catastrophic winds of 130 miles per hour — the “most powerful storm” to threaten the U.S. Coast in a decade. But you don’t have to go to Florida for this kind of storm danger: On July 4, 1999, I was sailing my 20-foot centerboard sloop, Persistence, out of Grand Portage, Minn., heading for a small island at Thunder Bay, Ontario, when I was overtaken by huge winds and high seas. I was on Lake Superior in the teeth of the 1999 derecho with winds estimated at 134 mph (Paul Douglas in his book “Restless Skies”). This “Green Storm” — so-called because the skies turned a brilliant shade of green — devastated the BWCA with millions of trees broken like matchsticks, and it was one of the largest North American disturbances in recorded history. It’s a first worst storm, the kind that can suddenly strike at any time — and you don’t have to be in Florida to be swept up in this kind of weather.

Marlin Bree, St. Paul

The writer is author of “Wake of the Green Storm: A Survivor’s Tale” and “Broken Seas: True Tales of Extraordinary Seafaring Adventures,” both of which have first-person accounts of the storm.


Downtown gets the attention while the North Side suffers

I agree that there must be a “plan” to deal with the downtown shootings. But why all of a sudden such a big deal about those? Because people from the suburbs are afraid to come downtown to spend their money? Because those who live in the “luxury” lofts, condos and apartments might be afraid to walk the streets? Because businesses might lose money if people are afraid to shop downtown? Or go to the bars, the stores, the theaters, the games?

Well, yoo hoo, people! How many shootings has north Minneapolis had this summer? How many innocent bystanders, children and grandmothers have been killed? How about the shootout outside of the Lucy Craft Laney Community School and the bullet that went through the window of another school? How about those of us who live, work, shop, play and spend our money here? Where’s the continued outrage about these tragedies? Where’s the plan for us?

Jeanne Torma, Minneapolis


Great tribute to Al Hofstede, but there’s one nit to pick

Barbara J. Johnson’s Oct. 7 commentary “As mayor in the ’70s, he ‘fought hard for Minneapolis every day’ ” was a marvelous tribute to Al Hofstede. However, it was incorrect to state that Hofstede was the first and the only mayor elected from northeast or north Minneapolis. In 1948, First Ward (northeast Minneapolis) Alderman Eric G. Hoyer, who was City Council president, became mayor when Hubert H. Humphrey resigned upon his election to the U.S. Senate. Hoyer then was elected to four terms.

Norman W. Larson, Eagan


Yes, some men idle, but there’s another part of that equation

The “quiet catastrophe” (Oct. 7) may not be all it’s made out to be. One would think writer George F. Will could see another obvious change in our society that may influence the lower official labor participation of men. There is a closing gap between the sexes, with the labor participation of women increasing from “1940,” but still about 15 points behind that of men. (See the Bureau of Labor Statistics participation rate.) Some of these men are likely making the choice to stay home and take care of the kids while their employed wife or partner is the major breadwinner. It’s not difficult to understand the economic choice of a man choosing to care for his family instead of taking home a $15-an-hour wage and giving out $10 an hour for child care. Some men may be comfortable enough in their own skin to endure the “social emasculation” of protecting and caring for his family from home. Welcome to the 21st century.

Dana Post, Minneapolis


Sorry, that ‘First Amendment’ excuse just doesn’t cut it

I am appalled at University of North Dakota President Mark Kennedy’s cavalier attitude toward racist activity among white students (“UND: Racist photos ‘free speech,’ ” Oct. 7). He claims that a zero-tolerance policy for racist student activity “is unachievable under the First Amendment.” On the contrary, racist attacks on individuals are verbal violence and should be banned like all other forms of violence on campus and in our communities. I predict increased racial tension at UND as a result of Kennedy’s decision. He has given license to students to engage in such racist attacks with impunity. What a terrible legacy to leave the university. Perhaps he should leave so that his mistakes can be corrected and never repeated.

Frank Steiner, Lakeville


Admitting you don’t support him is only the first step

Jimmy John, what took ya so long? Kudos to those Republicans who signed on to the idea that Donald Trump is unfit to be president of the United States. Trump still doesn’t know what he doesn’t know, while Hillary Clinton, with all her faults, does.

Nonsupport for Trump might not be enough, however. The Republicans may need to actually, vote for Hillary. It takes a lot of courage to buck your party. The choice may come down to sacrificing personal, political futures to ensure that any of us has a future.

Mark Veronen, Ponsford, Minn.

• • •

So, Trump’s bus recording (“Trump recorded having extremely lewd conversation about women in 2005,” StarTribune.com, Oct. 7) might be the best news Hillary Clinton ever got. Or not, if he exits the race and the Republicans put a real candidate in his place. Be careful what you ask for …

Jeff Parker, Eden Prairie

• • •

Looking ahead to the next two presidential terms, several new Supreme Court justices will be nominated. The nation and the court already lean to the left, and additional liberal justices could support giant additional steps toward socialism. Open borders would continue to drive existing citizens out of the workforce, adding to the millions who have already dropped out. Fewer Americans working means more Americans on welfare and other socialist programs. At the same time, the expanding government continues to take more control of our lives via executive orders, presidential powers and liberal laws. If the Supreme Court supports this liberal trend even more than it heretofore has, there will be no way to avoid our nation becoming a socialistic welfare state with diminishing personal responsibility for all.

While Trump does not meet the criteria many of us have for him to be a polished politician (he is a businessman), his list of potential Supreme Court justices certainly consists of men and women who will diligently protect our Constitution. This is a critical issue, and it is why Trump will get my vote.

Bill Halling, Edina


Headline’s crude shorthand

Regarding “Megamall takes a Turkey Day stand,” Oct. 6: Why not call it Thanksgiving Day and focus on gratitude rather than gluttony?

Gloria J. Kiester, Northfield