When Minneapolis businessman Eric Dayton proposed shutting down the downtown skyways in the wake of Macy’s closing, we laughed. Like that’s going to happen, that our super highway for office workers and their communicable diseases is ever going to close and people will brave the elements of the outside world on a January day in Minneapolis.
Last night, I saw it happen: The skyways looked like the last day of a trade show where you’re afraid to make eye contact with the outgoing people running the booths. And outside below, in the cold along the Nicollet Mall, the street was packed. All it took to make people go outside and transform the skyways into an empty afterthought was to spend $1 billion on a stadium and attract the biggest football game of the year.
While the street was packed with families and middle-aged music fans, the skyways were not totally deserted. An army of volunteers were there to guide out-of-towners safely along to the many events outside on the mall. Things were so quiet, however, I saw one volunteer give another volunteer directions.
The only problem with this wonderful turn of events is that there’s only one Super Bowl a year, and it’s probably not coming back here until we build another stadium. For one shining week, the Nicollet Mall is alive. Let’s just hope we don’t end up like poor St. Louis, Mo., the city I left two years ago, where just about everything remarkable was built for the Super Bowl of its time, the 1904 World’s Fair.
DAN CALLAHAN, St. Paul
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Amid the Super Bowl hoopla, which admittedly is lots of fun, it was wonderful to read your article and photos for “Bold Hope in the North,” the wonderful event and performances at Westminster Presbyterian Church to raise funds for the homeless, reminding us all of what’s really important: faith, hope and charity. It was a thrill to be part of it as a member of the Mill City Singers, led by JD and Fred Steele.
MERLE MINDA, Minneapolis
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The planning and execution for Super Bowl Live on Nicollet Mall has proved to be dismal. On opening night there was no crowd control, which created a massive pedestrian traffic jam. Then, most of the speakers did not function for the first hour. The stage should have been 10 feet higher to allow for much better sight lines. On Monday night, the newly imposed crowd control measures kept half the crowd from even being able to see the stage. Again, the speakers were not working beyond 7th and 8th streets.
A single video screen is located on 11th Street, but Sheila E was silent through her performance, with no speakers working. The addition of a half dozen large video screens and working speakers would have made this a great event because people turned out and supported it. Too bad the setup and delivery were minor league.
HUGH NORSTED, Minneapolis
Bipartisanship? Not based on what we’ve seen from her so far
Your Jan. 30 editorial (“Klobuchar’s aim is a functional Senate”) is utter nonsense if history is any judge of the future. Klobuchar is a Minnesota Democratic politician who has voted with her Minority Leader Sen. Chuck Schumer (and before Schumer, Majority Leader Sen. Harry Reid) more than 95 percent of the time, including enthusiastically embracing 99 percent of the Obama administration’s legislative platform.
Klobuchar has never compromised with her Republican colleagues to pass any significant legislative program during her 10 years in the Senate, including the recent Trump tax cuts, which put “real” money in the pockets of most lower- and middle-class Minnesotans. She has certainly not shown any willingness or ability to act independently or lead any legislative program that differs with the Democratic Senate leadership. To think Klobuchar will have any positive impact on the Senate’s functionality is completely unrealistic.
DAVID TEICHER, Plymouth
Once again, a Trump decision threatens the environment
I am 70 years old, Minnesota-born, and have been regularly visiting canoe country since I was a child. I was dismayed to learn that the Trump administration is stopping a U.S. Forest Service environmental review of proposed sulfide-ore copper mining in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area watershed (“Review of mine near BWCA is curtailed,” Jan. 27).
The mining would be done by the Chilean mining giant Antofagasta through its subsidiary Twin Metals Minnesota. This type of mining and this foreign conglomerate, in particular, has an abysmal track record of toxic water pollution. Runoff from this industrial operation would flow into the BWCA. Why should we risk harm to the pristine water of America’s most visited wilderness?
U.S. Reps. Rick Nolan and Tom Emmer (using almost the same language in their news releases) both assure us that for any mining project to proceed it must first go through “a rigorous federal and state environmental approval process.” If this is so, isn’t that precisely what the Forest Service was already doing? What’s the point of curtailing an ongoing review? Let the Forest Service efforts continue.
This seems to be just another attempt by the Trump administration and its allies to curb environmental and public land protection. Add to this; reopened coal leasing on federal land, the drastic downsizing of national monuments in the West, lowering of federal fracking standards, opening of coastal areas to offshore drilling (Florida, home of Mar-a-Lago, excepted), and the purging of 30 percent of U.S. Department of Interior employees. Clearly an alarming pattern is emerging.
Our wilderness treasures need only to be developed, mined and despoiled once. They need to be saved perpetually. It’s up to each one of us who love our few remaining wild places to take on the day-in day-out task of protecting them for our future.
JEFF DEAN, Minneapolis
Men who prey on women deserve any and all nasty labels
To the letter writer who doesn’t like sexual predators being referred to as cage trolls (Readers Write, Jan. 30), as long as men sexually prey on women and children (and a few men), I will call these guys whatever I wish to call them, whether that be “trolls” or “dirty old men” or something else. They have more than earned these labels.
Calling elderly women “withered old crones” is not OK because they have done nothing but be elderly. But the men being referred to (Harvey Weinstein, etc.) have most certainly done something wrong, and then some. So to attempt to compare the two things is silly.
MARGARET SELTZ, Afton