Opinions

Wed
12
Sep
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Rural America May Nurture Tolerance In Kids

Anyone who watches the news has likely seen coverage in the past year of student protests at one college campus or another in reaction to an invitation extended to a viscerally polarizing speaker.

For the most part, the protests have been by liberals on the campuses outraged by an invite to the likes of Trump presidential campaign architect Steve Bannon, Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos, or right-wing Fox News commentator Ann Coulter. These protests now extend beyond the campus to other venues where the public gathers.

 What is the cause of such outrage and intolerance toward those whose views are rejected with demonstrations, whose very right to speak is, at times, violently denied?

Wed
05
Sep
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Minnesotans Need Leadership on Climate Change

As we weigh the stands of candidates running for Minnesota governor, we see many issues dividing the electorate: taxes, gun control, health care, school funding, roads and bridges, immigration, and more. Yet we see one issue as meaning more to Minnesota’s future than any other - maybe not so much for each of us who will cast a ballot in November, but for future generations.

Today’s leaders must take a stand on climate change if we are to leave a habitable earth to our children and grandchildren. Democratic-Farmer-Labor (DFL) candidate U.S. Rep. Tim Walz understands that imperative. Republican candidate Hennepin County Board Chair Jeff Johnson doesn’t. Apparently, Johnson’s position is: It doesn’t matter because Minnesota is just too inconsequential to make a difference.

Tue
28
Aug
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Who Will Look Out For Community Newspapers?

When a reporter covers a public body for a long time, he or she begins to know the issues as well as any elected official. Often that reporter will have seen council members, county board members, school board members and hospital governing board members come and go. Mayors and city managers change, as do superintendents and school board chairs. New county board chairs are named and administrators hired.

In many ways that change can be a challenge for the reporter. It takes time to create productive working relationships with new elected officials, chairs and administrators. Longtime working relationships are based on trust, which doesn’t come easy between a reporter and a public official.

Wed
22
Aug
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Community Pursuing a Vibrant Future

There is a changing mood in our community. Pessimism is shifting to optimism.

Without a doubt, the energy for that feeling was provided by last week’s passage of a $26.3 million Benson Public school’s building bond levy referendum. Yet it is more than that.

Instead of losing a significant employer and local real estate taxpayer in Benson Power, LLC’s closing with nothing but a hulking, empty plant sitting at the city’s western edge reminding us of the lost vitality, we have hope. That hope comes in the form of $20 million that will be paid to the community over the next four years for economic development efforts. The first $4 million is in the bank.

Wed
15
Aug
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Attacks On Journalists Will Lead To Violence

by Reed Anfinson
Publisher, Swift County Monitor-News

 

It was Feb. 17, 2017, less than a month after President Donald Trump was sworn into office and had taken an oath to defend the Constitution of the United States that he began calling the nation’s press “the enemy of the people.”

In a Tweet he said, “The FAKE NEWS media (failing @nytimes, @NBCNews, @ABC, @CBS, @CNN) is not my enemy, it is the enemy of the American People!”

That Tweet was preceded by an extended blasting of journalists at a news conference Feb. 16, 2017. “The press has become so dishonest that if we don’t talk about it, we are doing a tremendous disservice to the American people.” Both Republicans and Democrats immediately chastised Trump for his attacks.

Tue
07
Aug
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For Our: Children - Employers - Businesses - Community

We are poised on the edge – the edge of a promising future, or the edge of decline. Voters in District 777 will decide Aug. 14 what their vision of the future is for our community.

Those who support a vibrant, thriving community dedicated to the future of its youth, the health of its businesses, meeting the employment needs of its industries, and the future and quality of health care we receive, will vote “Yes” next Tuesday for the school’s $26.3 million building bond levy. Those whose self-interest comes first will vote no.

It is a large sum - $26.3 million. We have a figure that will make it look much more manageable to voters – over the 20 years the bonds will be paid off the local taxpayer’s share is just $6.92 a month.

Wed
01
Aug
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Challenge Of A Lifetime Faced With Complacency

With each passing month, new research comes out that more definitively links our burning of fossil fuels to a warming climate. Distressingly, these studies often also magnify the imperative for those of us who call Planet Earth home to start paying attention and take action.

But we are too busy with our today’s needs to be burdened with worrying about our children’s future. Looking out 100 years, we shrug; not our concern, not our problem. Those facing the life-threatening challenges we’ve baked into their future will undoubtedly curse our existence.

Our seasons are out of whack. We talk of how spring arrives earlier, winters are milder, and the summers are getting hotter. Now research published in the well-respected magazine Science details to the level of “fingerprinting” just how our activities leave an imprint that can be identified and separated from natural occurrences in weather patterns.

Wed
25
Jul
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Fixing Far Away Dead Zones Demands Our Action

Distance has a way of absolving people of responsibility. If what we do, or don’t do, leads to problems far away it’s someone else’s problem to fix, clean up, or deal with the best they can. The drive for profits can make any concern a distant thought. Such is the case with the nutrient pollution of our waters, both locally and globally.

Two massive dead zones that have formed have one thing in common – they are on the receiving end of water systems that bring them nitrogen and phosphorous that runs off the agricultural landscape.

Tue
17
Jul
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Remember Who The School Building Levy Is About

Over the past few weeks, we have heard people talking about reasons why they will not support District 777’s proposed $26.3 million building levy. They say that if the school board is going to get rid of the indoor swimming pool, they won’t support the referendum. Some say they don’t like some members of the school board. Other people say they dislike the administration. Some have a generally poor attitude toward our schools.

For these people, we have a couple simple questions: Is this levy vote about you rather than the future of the education of our children? Are your grievances more important than our community’s educational and economic health for years to come? If you answered, “Yes” to both those questions, we would advise against reading the rest of this column. However, for our readers who are sitting on the fence with their decision, we would very much like for you to consider just what we are voting for Aug. 14.

Tue
10
Jul
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DOES RURAL MINNESOTA MATTER IN STATEWIDE ELECTIONS?

In the grand scheme of statewide Minnesota politics, do rural voters matter? That question is being raised more often, though only in quiet corners of the kingmakers’ strategy sessions. Republicans and Democratic party leaders weigh where to spend their funds for getting out the vote, where they will spend to support candidates in tight races, and where to concentrate their advertising dollars based on the demographics of where they get the best return for their investment.

Increasingly, at least for the Democratic-Farmer-Labor (DFL) Party, that investment is in the seven-county metropolitan area surrounding Minneapolis and St. Paul, as well as in a few of the larger cities around the state.

MinnPost, a Twin Cities membership-supported website covering political, social and rural issues, recently published a story with the headline, “In a statewide election, do candidates really need to bother with Greater Minnesota?”

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