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I felt joint sadness and appreciation for the "first in a series" COVID-19 reporting and photojournalism on the front page Nov. 22. The startling big headline — "NO BEDS ANYWHERE," the investigative reporting within the realm of health care delivery and the true-to-life photo of a person/patient made an impression on me as a Minnesotan and registered nurse feeling what the impact must be for patients, front-line health care providers and hospitals dealing with COVID-19.

I believe the testimonials from health care providers and photojournalism are going to add a lot of value and weight to the pandemic crisis going forward. We have been dealt statistics and guidelines for the past eight to nine months with no vast improvement. What I saw on the front page — an "everyday" fellow human being laying prone to aid in breathing and in distress. Keep the pictures and firsthand descriptions coming to help Minnesotans understand that we need to abide by public health recommendations to protect each other and our health care facilities.

Deidre Campbell, Andover


Prince's greatest pairing, and the duo that didn't get mentioned

Thank you, Louis Porter II and Dane Smith, for the Nov. 22 commentary "A Black and white history tour." The pairing of Prince and Madonna? I have never been a big Madonna fan; maybe they did some great things together, I don't know.

Prince had a lot of great multicultural pairings. His greatest pairing was us. Sure, his music, his stage presence, the talented people he worked with were a part of it. But it was his Minnesotan-ness that brought joy to us, Black or white, rich or poor, cool or nerdy, gay or straight. We all felt a part of him. Maybe you knew his mother, or lived on the same block where one of his bandmates grew up. He was a little bit Sly and the Family Stone, a little bit James Brown. We were a great multicultural partnership, and we miss him.

Karen Bream, St. Louis Park

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Thank you for publishing Sunday's op-ed "A Black and white history tour." I'd like to point out that while Prince and Madonna worked on one song together, Clarence Clemons and Bruce Springsteen spent a rock 'n' roll lifetime together.

Their partnership began on Sept. 4, 1971, when Clarence walked into a bar where Bruce was playing and asked if he could sit in for a bit. They remained musical partners and dear friends, bringing boundless joy to countless fans, until Clarence's death in June 2011.

Clarence was a force of nature on the saxophone (listen to his legendary solo on "Jungleland") and in Bruce's life as well. During his Broadway show, Bruce said, "Losing Clarence was like losing the rain."

Clarence's nephew, Jake Clemons, replaced his uncle in the E Street Band, which is lovely but not the same. The original duo was worth a mention, in my opinion. Thank you.

Nancy Crotti, St. Paul


We can't do it alone. But, yes, we've done quite a lot.

After reading "America is still capable of greatness" (Opinion Exchange, Nov. 22), I concluded that a fitting subtitle would be: "America continues to thrive through global cooperation, especially with Germany and China." America can't be great standing alone, but by working with others.

David J. Anderson, Richfield

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A commentary published Nov. 25 ("Make America grateful again") reminds us of the progress of our country, despite failings and setbacks, in making lives better for all citizens. We should also recognize the people of goodwill who have devoted their lives to public service, such as district court judge Bruce Peterson, the author of the commentary.

Michael W. McNabb, Lakeville


Minnesotans 'hate' winter? Now, that's a shovelful.

Pardon me? Minnesotans "hate" winter? (Variety, Nov. 22.) I am guessing the author is living in a bubble of transplanted grinches from a warmer clime.

Rather than "many" Minnesotans disliking winter, my experience is exactly the opposite. So many of us eagerly await the cooler season, rejoice in the winter solstice and enthusiastically participate in outdoor moments. Blizzards are tough, whether they are regarded as character-building or not, but who does not revel in the magical bluish snow that greets us the next day, with diamonds glistening in the brittle air?

Climatologist Mark Seeley is correct in saying that with the climate crisis, we seem to be losing our Real Winter, but surely now more than ever, we look forward to the clean, fresh — and yes, cold — air outdoors: skiing, snowshoeing, sliding and skating, or even just walking through the snow-covered neighborhoods. We do not mind the more balanced daylight-to-dark hours — it is a pleasure to spend an evening inside with good cooking, candles and conversation within our pandemic pod. After an invigorating Bold North day outside, we cherish the contented feeling of cozy homes and a good book by the fire, as we shelter in place until the pandemic is controlled.

Minnesotans love winter!

Jane Dresser, Woodbury

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The article suggests that immigrants from Mexico, Africa and Asia "who haven't experienced cold weather can find it intimidating, and may lack the gear and skills to go skiing or ice skating."

Or not. Several years ago, when I worked with the exhibits program at the Minnesota Historical Society, we collaborated with members of the local Indian American community on an exhibit about their experiences in Minnesota. One of the people we interviewed was a man who came to Minnesota in the 1960s, became enchanted with snow — as he called it, "something to play with" — and became an avid skier, both downhill and cross-country. Over the years he has encouraged many friends and family members to discover the pleasures of winter sport. I also remember, during the early years of Somali migration to the Twin Cities, seeing groups of Somali men gathered outside the Starbucks in my neighborhood. It always surprised me that, even in subzero weather, as I shivered in my heavy winter coat, they seemed perfectly comfortable in dress slacks, loafers and light jackets. If they were intimidated by the weather, they sure didn't show it.

Daniel Beck, Minneapolis

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I have always been against the use of the all-encompassing word "we" when referring to the population at large when introducing an opinion piece, especially during the polarized environment we live in today.

And so it was when I got to the Nov. 22 Variety section.

On the section cover I was greeted by a lovely graphic in a Scandinavian motif designed to announce a story that was going to tell us why "we" hate winter.

As an avid skier, skater, hiker, photographer, etc., I for one love our Minnesota winters. And based on the amount of people I see out there when I'm doing these activities, I'm not alone.

Unfortunately, with COVID running rampant this year, a lot of the outdoor activities we flock to during these frigid months are going to be canceled and it will certainly appear we hate the season.

But rest assured, when things open up again, "we'll" be out there!

Chas Jensen, St. Paul