One would think that journalists from “not here” would learn that Minnesotans are a feisty lot and do not take slights lying down.

St. Paul’s Winter Carnival began after an East Coast reporter disparaged the city, calling it uninhabitable in winter. We have celebrated winter ever since.

More recently, another East Coast journalist wrote that the worst place to live in the country was Red Lake County. He had never been there. The citizens invited him to visit, and after that, he moved his family to the very place he had deemed “the worst.”

And now, this guy from Der Spiegel is in hot water for outright lies, including about Fergus Falls (“German magazine returns, rewrites,” Dec. 25). That is not turning out well for him.

Journalists from “not here,” take note!

Janet Snell, Oakdale


If the work for those still on the job is ‘essential,’ so is the paycheck

More craziness. “Essential” personnel are required to work without pay. They can’t get unemployment because they’re working. Who does this? If they’re essential, pay them. If you’re not going to pay them, close the Social Security offices, and ground the airlines and and and. Let people see the silly games these clowns are playing with other people’s lives. Why doesn’t Congress feel the pain? Why should politicians go home for a nice holiday and leave the job undone (that was due Oct. 1, incidentally). What industry could do this to its employees?

Georgia Wegner, Minneapolis


The downside has been an awakening about leadership

In recent weeks and especially on Christmas Eve, the financial markets have taken rounds of heavy losses. In the business section of the Star Tribune, financial analysts continue to tell us that the economic fundamentals are sound. Like many who are watching their retirement savings erode, I’m finding little comfort in these assurances. So when my financial planner forwarded the latest calming note from the analysts, this was my response:

Thanks for sending this. Although I must admit, I’m getting pretty concerned. I agree that the economic fundamentals are sound. But I don’t think that’s what’s spooking the market. The elephant in the room is that many believe the current occupant of the Oval Office is not fit to be president, but nobody is stepping up to do anything about it. With two years left before the voters get a chance to weigh in, people are getting scared of what new calamity might come next. So, the markets are reacting in the only way they can, by preparing for the worst. And with the market collapse goes our retirement plans.

Jeff Dols, Inver Grove Heights

• • •

President Donald Trump’s intransigence about his arcane wall highlights his distance from most of his base. While he sits on a golden throne at the White House or Mar-a-Lago, his working-class acolytes (and, yes, some who are wealthy) deny the reality of his presidency. He just doesn’t understand American values and the struggles of low- and middle-income people.

I’ve watched one-fifth of my paper “wealth” disappear this month. Does this matter to him at all? I would have to say no, based on his bunker mentality over a wall, which didn’t work in China in 476 B.C. and won’t work in 2019 or beyond.

It is too bad that an election to dismiss him is two years away. The damage he has done to our country is approaching immeasurable levels — internationally and at home.

Please, Minnesota Republicans, recover your values and let this man know that he is a danger to our economy and standing in the world.

Jane Hovland, Duluth


More thoughts about Minnesota’s patterns, past and future

A Dec. 25 letter writer from Bloomington complained about population growth. Urban sprawl is not unique to the Twin Cities or the U.S.; it is happening all over the world. The last time Minnesota lost a congressional seat was 1960. Urban sprawl was much less a problem than it is today. In Bloomington, the Interstate 494 strip was only beginning to develop in 1960, the new Twin Cities airport terminal was not yet open, much of west Bloomington was undeveloped. We lost the seat because Minnesota in the 1950s did not have the explosive growth seen in the Sun Belt states, especially Texas. Minnesota also had only a tiny fraction of its freeways built and open to traffic. Today, if Minnesota loses a congressional seat, it will be because greater Minnesota lost population in areas not served by the interstates. Much of Minnesota’s growth in greater Minnesota happens close to the interstates, and the Twin Cities area continues to grow. People do live where the jobs are, regardless.

Robert Keegan, Coon Rapids


Editors failed to strike an awakened and congenial spirit of Christmas

While editorial reprints from holidays past have usually offered thoughtful, often poignant reflections, the one on Christmas Day was puzzling, to say the least (“Hold on to the spirit of this golden day”). The writer lauds the “nobler qualities” the spirit of Christmas “brings to the surface in each of us,” wishing that spirit could last all year long. The 1926 editorial cartoon, supposedly an example of that spirit, shows an oafish, obese, privileged white man, representing “all of us,” doing his best impression of yokelese: “I ain’t mad at nobody!” Really?

Joel Jackson, Maple Grove

• • •

Many Americans experience Christmas Day with optimal thoughts of joy, hope, peace, love, understanding, gratitude, celebration and reconciliation. Often these sentiments have been reinforced in the political cartoon on this special day. I was dismayed and disappointed to see that the Star Tribune chose the subject of Mar-a-Lago, President Trump, Santa and the coal policy dispute as the Christmas Day syndicated cartoon message.

Susan Tanner, Minneapolis


Occasional contributor Dick Schwartz moves readers once again

Please tell Dick Schwartz, whoever he is, that his Dec. 24 essay about his memories as a Jewish teenager on Christmas Eve made me cry over my shredded wheat. Oh, and tell him to write more — he’s really, really good.

Stephen Bubul, Minneapolis

• • •

Schwartz’s writing is always so lovely and moving. What could be better than more of his thoughtful, spot-on writing? My (now-adult) kids loved his classes at Southwest High School in Minneapolis before he retired, and now we all get to enjoy him.

Lloyd Zimmerman, Minneapolis

The writer is a retired Hennepin County judge.


What a privilege to be able to experience this exhibit here

Many thanks to the Minneapolis Institute of Art, U.S. Bank, Delta Air Lines and lead sponsors for the dazzling Sunken Cities of Egypt exhibition. My 7-year-old grandson and I visited the exhibit recently and were terribly impressed by the 300 pieces we saw, including the 18-foot-tall granite statues of Egyptian gods. We marveled at the people with the vision to bring the exhibit here. We were in awe of the effort to exhume the truly beautiful art and deliver it safely to Minnesota.

Janice Lane, Minneapolis