Dear Katie Villaseñor:

We got your letter, and it warmed our hearts (“To our neighbors across the border,” Readers Write, Feb. 27). Sorry to hear you’ve had a rough winter — it’s been pretty chilly up here, too. Our solution is normally to throw on an extra scarf and get back out on the hockey rink.

Truth be told, you can heat up pretty easily on a 6-kilometre (sorry, 4-mile) ice skating trail, dotted with warming huts made by architects from around the world. Or maybe stop in for a drink at our riverside ice bar to warm your spirits — out of a glass made of ice, naturally.

We were sorry to hear about all the weather shutting down the city — although we wouldn’t be too upset if it grounded your hockey team just once so they stopped beating our beloved Jets.

Don’t feel sad about not having a tropical vacation — why look south when you can come north? We’ll put up our Nordic spa (Thermëa) and polar bear enclosure against anything you can find in Puerto Vallarta. Who needs sand dunes when you have snow sculptures and the world’s largest ice maze?

Katie, we would be thrilled to have you and all your friends visit Winnipeg. But don’t wait for the summer — come and see how we shine in the winter! It won’t take long for you to understand why we don’t grumble about the weather up here.


This letter was submitted by Tyler Walsh, digital and content marketing manager for Tourism Winnipeg, on that organization’s behalf.

• • •

After reading the Feb. 28 commentary outlining the mathematical reasoning behind our February snowfall (“Odds are it won’t snow like this again for, well, do the math”), I would like to offer one more perspective: Over his lifetime, a Minnesota man will shovel or blow enough snow to fill the Vikings football stadium to a depth of 17 feet. Over her lifetime, a Minnesota woman will move the same amount of snow, but without all the complaining. Personally, I am at the 20-yard line and am working on my touchdown dance.

Tom Mobeck, Chaska

• • •

I am upset by the level of vitriol in some of the letters the Star Tribune published Feb. 28. Is this what happens to some of us when we experience weather-induced cabin fever? Before anyone else writes a similar letter, I commend to them the poem “Snow-Bound: A Winter Idyl,” by John Greenleaf Whittier, which describes the stories told around a cabin fireplace 200 years ago during a similar weather event ( We all need to take a deep breath, think positive and count some of our blessings until the snow melts and the temperatures warm.

Amy Caucutt, Rochester


He lied — like a boss

Yes, Michael Cohen is a sycophant, a liar and a criminal (Readers Write, Feb. 28). But this is no defense for President Donald Trump; it is an indictment. Trump chose Cohen as his personal lawyer for these very characteristics. Trump had no use for an ethical, wise attorney. Trump paid Cohen for 10 years to lie, pay people off when threats didn’t work, submit fraudulent documents and who knows what other awful stuff. Cohen’s wrongdoing is a weak reflection of his master’s.

Carolyn Chalmers, Minneapolis


We don’t need to choose between gas tax, family and medical leave

I was disappointed to read Minnesota Business Partnership Executive Director Charlie Weaver’s interpretation of the Walz administration’s budget (“Business seeks a price for gas tax,” Feb. 24). Weaver appears to believe that businesses can take on the proposed gas tax, or the proposed family and medical leave policy, but not both. This is a false choice. Big businesses want us to believe that well-being is a scarce resource. The truth is, there is more than enough to go around. Everyday Minnesotans are counting on big businesses to step up to the plate and contribute their share. To quote Paul Wellstone, “We all do better when we all do better.”

As clergy, I see firsthand the struggles real Minnesotans face every day. Struggles to pay their bills after an illness eats up their sick leave and they are forced to recover while unpaid. Struggles to care for an aging parent while working full-time. Struggles after childbirth because they can’t afford the time they need to heal. Big businesses may be concerned about their bottom line, but real people are concerned about their day-to-day. My faith tells the story of feeding 5,000 people with five loaves of bread and two fish. There was enough to go around — people just had to be inspired to share. Businesses, do the stories of real Minnesotans inspire you to share?

The Rev. Corinne Freedman Ellis, St. Paul

• • •

As a small-business owner, I was frustrated to read the Business Partnership executive director threaten that we’d have to choose between paid family and medical leave or a gas tax in order to pay for the infrastructure improvements we desperately need.

The last time we substantially invested in infrastructure was when the Interstate 35W bridge collapsed. Our terrible roads aren’t just annoying; they’re dangerous. And our state’s crumbling infrastructure directly affects my company’s bottom line, contributing to shipping costs going up substantially every year.

Last year our shop supervisor had hip replacement surgery, and we paid him while he recovered. Had there been a paid family and medical leave program in Minnesota like is now being proposed, my business could have saved thousands.

In a tight labor market, we compete against larger corporations that offer generous paid leave. There is no need to pit infrastructure funding against a program that would benefit small businesses the most. As a small-business owner, I want them both. I’m sick of highly paid lobbyists claiming to be the “voice of small business” when they fight against things that would help small-business owners.

Minnesotans are overwhelmingly in favor of both paid family and medical leave and improved infrastructure. It makes no sense to insist on choosing one over the other.

Todd Mikkelson, Orono


The etymology and entomology of the word for pinko commie types

Upon reading the Readers Write column on Thursday, I was surprised to see myself, and others like-minded, to be referenced as “Democrat/Progressive/Socialist.” Hmm, OK, two out of three sounds good, but am I a “socialist”? Isn’t that the half-brother of communists, the stepchild of Karl Marx and the long-lost cousin once-removed of the failed Soviet Union? Similar to Franz Kafka’s short story “The Metamorphosis,” had I suddenly woken to discover that overnight I had transformed into a giant commie pinko cockroach? Terrified, I snatched my dictionary as I breathlessly raced to my bathroom mirror. Much to my relief I had not transformed into an enlarged insect working toward the overthrow of capitalism. It was still me in my reflection — a hardworking, middle-class, self-employed husband of one and father of three who believes in tax fairness, opposes Big Pharma price gouging and defines Social Security as a savings plan, not an entitlement. Then I noticed a footnote under the definition of “socialist.” It read, “Currently, a derogatory self-serving term used by Republicans to sow a false threat of Democrats within an election cycle. Also, see — Bugaboo, Monster under Bed, Boogeyman.”

Phew. For a moment there, that writer gave me quite a scare.

Steve Mark, Minnetonka