January 2008 Letters to the Editor

Mail from the last issue of <em>Minnesota Monthly</em>

Superior Speculation

The article on water levels in Lake Superior (“Who Pulled the Plug on Lake Superior?” October) speculates that the lake might go down by 30 feet, enough to prevent outflow at Sault Sainte Marie. That would be at least seven times the variation in water levels observed since the record-low that occurred in 1926. My professional experience has included work as a natural-resource economist and as project director for regional analysis at the University of Minnesota. In my research, I have observed quite low water levels, in the mid-1930s, mid-1960s, and 2000. An equal number of periods of high water levels have also been observed.

This article indulges in grossly exaggerated speculation. Such speculation lacks any “sense of scale,” in the words of noted economist John Kenneth Galbraith, and it serves nothing other than perhaps an urge to say something dramatic and eye-catching. This is all too similar to much of journalism, that treats everything associated with natural resources as problems or disasters, even when many correctly interpreted trends are dominantly favorable.

Hank Webster
Research Associate Emeritus
University of Minnesota
St. Paul

Best Pub Snub

After reading “Best New Restaurants” (November), I was disappointed not to see Jake O’Connor’s Public House mentioned in the western section. I have been frequenting Jake’s since it opened in Excelsior and have had nothing but extraordinary service and food. The ambiance is stunning, with the center bar’s woodwork done in Ireland—making it both beautiful and authentic. I think you missed the boat on this one.

Kyle Berger

A More Modest Maude

I grew up on 54th and Queen in southwest Minneapolis and attended Armitage Elementary School in the 1950s. While I enjoyed watching the “virtual tour” of Café Maude on your website (www.mnmo.com), I had a good laugh hearing the narrator’s pronunciation of Armitage—very affected and phony, and not appropriate for this still down-to-earth neighborhood.

Sandy Grossman
Chicago, Illinois

Baffled by the ’Burbs

I read the entire “Best of the Cities 2007” article (December), as I do every year, hoping to learn something special about my hometown. My education did not come until the end of the piece, in the ’Burbs and Beyond item. I understand that this is just a brief listing, but I started to worry when the entries listed under south included two in Eagan (seemed reasonable), one in Richfield (okay), one each in Edina (a stretch), and the last in St. Louis Park (huh?). Your sense of geography becomes downright mystifying when I read the businesses listed as east ’burbs, one in Woodbury (decidedly east) and another in Stillwater (so east it is within 100 yards of Wisconsin). The other three are in Roseville and Shoreview—about as east of the Twin Cities as St. Cloud!

Does the editorial office own a map of the Twin Cities? Or is it staffed entirely by Minneapolitan geocentrists? Please consider some of the charming pleasures to be found in that large “’burb” between the U of M and Stillwater: St. Paul.

Michael Partington
Mendota Heights

Map Check

I immensely enjoy your magazine as it directs me to all that Minnesota has to offer. When my husband and I are out exploring neighborhoods in St. Paul and Minneapolis, we grab the latest edition of MNMO and our map to check out the nearest restaurant. Unfortunately, we have a tough time connecting the restaurant guide to locations around town. Please consider a centerfold that would map out restaurants per region. It would help us newcomers a lot.

Lenore and Mike Knock
New Richmond, Wisconsin


Submit letters via e-mail to letters@mnmo.com, or the old-fashioned way to the Mail, Minnesota Monthly, 600 U.S. Trust Building, 730 Second Ave. S., Minneapolis, MN 55402. Please include your daytime phone number and city of residence. Text may be edited for length and clarity.

Editor’s note: To the Knocks and others with similar concerns, please check out our new mapping features at www.mnmo.com.