Bait and switch
I had to laugh at your cover art after reading the article on mortgage fraud ("Nothin' but Trouble," 2/13/08). The piece itself was an interesting look into how apparently well-meaning people were ensnared in what sounds like a fairly dubious business, and I hope the prosecution of the perpetrators goes forward. But all in all it was a story of a 57-year-old woman who was ruined by a couple of guys who used some of their money to buy a boat, among other things. How that related to your cover of the seductive babe bending over on a yacht was unclear, unless I missed a page as to what happened on the yacht. Is readership lagging that badly that you need to basically print "LOOK, BOOBS!" on your cover? Give us a little credit—some of us pick up your magazine for the news, not the back page (and now cover) sex ads.
Dimitri Drekonja Minneapolis
That didn't go down well
"Scrumptiously succulent?" C'mon, I know Dara was sharp, maybe tough to replace (not that I was a huge fan of her colorful reviews in the first place, but she had chops and seemed a true foodie), but Bridgette Reinsmoen's review of Jay's Place fell flat (2/13/2008). "The restaurant business is a tenuous one" set the tone for an amateurish piece, long on ink and short on savvy. We need a true foodie as the Dish writer. Someone who'll really dig into the Twin Cities' vigorous food scene. Someone who'll do a service to civilians and chefs alike.
Thomas Peterson Minnetonka
Praise for our bridge story
I am a weekly reader of CP. As I picked one up from last week, I was intrigued by the main article about the bridge suicides ("A Long Way Down," 2/6/08). I am just writing to let you know that I thought this was a very touching and amazing article. A lot of thought was put into it and I appreciate the meaning behind it. A lot of people need help in those situations and I am glad you brought it to an "everyday" person standpoint. I thoroughly enjoyed reading the article, and keep doing what you're doing for the great Twin Cities. Thanks.
Stacy Eckman Minneapolis
Our forbearers weren't P.C.
I enjoyed reading the story "A Long Way Down," by Paul Demko, in your February 6 issue. I have lived a block from the High Bridge for more than 25 years, and have witnessed several suicide interventions and rescues. What I question about the article is the historical references, especially this particular quote used in the story: "This is too much money for the six or eight Dagos who will walk over it a day," and the statement made by the writer that "The bluffs were sparsely populated by Italian immigrants; Polish shantytowns lined the flats" when referring to the West Side neighborhood of St. Paul. I have a hunch that the quote regarding "Dagos" was manufactured by your writer, considering that the West Side never had any large population of Italians, in its entire history, and almost none were living there when the bridge was being planned or under construction in the late 1880s. I am really hoping your writer didn't intentionally create a false quote, containing an ethnic slur, for the purposes of his article, but it seems to me that he likely did. Also, the reference to the Polish shantytown on the flats, and Italian immigrants on the bluffs is probably another fabrication, or at least, incorrect information. The West Side bluffs were identified with German immigrants at that time. The only "shantytown" near the High Bridge was the one on the east side of the river, and it was inhabited almost completely by Czech immigrants during the 1880s. I would be most interested in seeing the source material used for your writer's historical references used in his article. Thank you for considering my questions.
Jim Sazevich St. Paul
PAUL DEMKO REPLIES: The characterization of St. Paul's West Side at the time of the High Bridge's construction comes primarily from newspaper articles published at the time. The quote in question was culled from an article reprinted in the 1987 book High Bridge: Ten Wood Engravings of Demolition With Nine Stories of Construction. The articles were initially published in the St. Paul Daily Globe and the St. Paul Pioneer Press between 1887 and 1889. These contemporary accounts are also the primary source for my description of Polish shantytowns lining the flats. Here's a quote from one such article describing the eviction of Polish families in anticipation of the bridge's construction: "Sheriff Richter served evictions early yesterday on the Poles of Bohemian Flats. Polacktown would be nearer the mark for all along the Flats the wagging of Polish tongues all but drowns out intelligible conversation. The land, with the coming of the levee and the upper bridge, has become valuable, prompting the Upper Levee Syndicate to serve notice on 21 families."
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