Opinions

Wed
19
Jan
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A Drop of Ink

By Reed Anfinson
Publisher

Wed
12
Jan
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A Drop of Ink

By Reed Anfinson
Publisher

Wed
05
Jan
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State surplus: Help rural Minnesota help itself

 

As As Minnesota legislators look to the start of the 2022 session Jan. 31, they face a divisive battle on what to do with a projected record $7.7 billion surplus. If future revenue projections are on target, that surplus could grow in the remaining 19 months of the current two-year state budget.

It represents an unexpected turnaround from the pessimistic budget planning that took place as the COVID-19 pandemic was expected to have long-lasting, devastating impacts on our economy. Last February, the state was expecting to see close to a $1.3 billion deficit as a new budget forecast was readied. Instead, it saw a $1.6 billion surplus. Now it is nearly five times larger.

Wed
29
Dec
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A Drop of Ink

Change. There will be a lot of it in the coming years for rural Minnesota. Among the changes already occurring in our communities is our growing ethnic diversity. It carries great promise for our communities if we can welcome it.
Among the Blandin Foundation’s Nine Common Dimensions of a Healthy Community is the need to be inclusive. To be inclusive, we must also be welcoming.
“A healthy community is a place where all people can meet their economic, social, physical, cultural and spiritual needs, work together for the common good, and participate in creating their future,” Dr. Kathleen Annette, president and CEO of Blandin Foundation says. The keywords in her statement are “all people.”

Wed
22
Dec
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A Drop of Ink

It’s a slow-motion disaster, but one that is already having an impact on our lives. It will prove far more disastrous for our children, grandchildren, and generations long into the future. You wonder what they will think of us.
Environmental stewardship is among the Blandin Foundation’s nine dimensions of a healthy community. “The community supports the environmental quality and management of natural resources that best provide for a sustainable future,” it says. “All segments of the community recognize the need for environmental management. The community is aware that it must decide between competing long- and short-term uses of its natural resources.”
We face significant difficulties in ensuring our communities pursue healthy environmental stewardship. If we fail to address those difficulties, rural Minnesota will become a less attractive and supportive place to live.
 
Watersheds threatened

Wed
15
Dec
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A Drop of Ink

“If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader.”

President John Quincy Adams

Wed
08
Dec
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Do We Have A Healthy Community?

Through its years of working with rural communities, the Blandin Foundation has identified the Nine Common Dimensions of a Healthy Community. A community is a complete and rewarding place to live if it is meeting the needs of its residents in these essential areas:
- Spirituality and wellness
- Inclusion
- Recreational and artistic opportunity
- Economic opportunity
- Community leadership
- Infrastructure and services
- Safety and security
- Environmental stewardship
- Life-long learning
Over the next several weeks, we will take a closer look at the importance of each of these areas.
Based in Grand Forks, MN, the Blandin Foundation was created by Charles K. Blandin in 1941. Blandin came from a poor family but became one of the most successful entrepreneurs in Minnesota. He was a schoolteacher, newspaper publisher, and newsprint plant owner.

Wed
01
Dec
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Democracy On The Edge Entering 2022 Elections

There is an old saying about the role of the press in America that speaks only half of what it should. We are supposed to “speak truth power.” It means that we are responsible for exposing wrongdoing, neglect, and ineptness that could endanger public health and finances. We expose officials in public life who seek to enrich themselves at the taxpayers’ expense.
What that saying leaves out is our responsibility to also speak the truth to our communities. However, it can be far easier, and less costly, to speak truth to those in public office than to a community bitterly divided by politics.
We are on the eve of another election year, and the state of our uncivil political discourse should concern us all. What is frightening about today’s division is the violence implied and justified by some – not all on the fringes of the political spectrum. Though they are a minority, they’ve taken control of the message.

 

Wed
24
Nov
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Teach Your Children The Joy Of Reading

Children are reading less for fun these days, a trend that doesn’t prepare them for the future or to be a part of civil society.
“The shares of American 9- and 13-year-olds who say they read for fun on an almost daily basis have dropped from nearly a decade ago and are at the lowest levels since at least the mid-1980s, according to a survey conducted in late 2019 and early 2020,” Katherine Schaeffer of the PEW Charitable Trust writes. The study was done by the National Assessment of Educational Progress. It looked at reading for fun among both age groups for the 2019-20 school year.
While the falloff in reading for fun is compared to the mid-1980s, it has likely fallen off for decades longer. The surveys started in the 1980s. Go back to the time before the proliferation of televisions in homes, and you would likely find many more children reading.

Wed
17
Nov
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It’s Past Time That We Help Out Our Hospitals

Area hospitals, overwhelmed with COVID-19 patients, are begging for our help. At the same time, some have to implement no-visitor policies due to the prevalence of the deadly disease in our counties, our relatively low vaccination rates, and our returning to crowded indoor spaces.
“Hospital beds at CentraCare and Carris Health, and across the state, are full,” Dr. Ken Holmen, CEO and president of CentraCare, said in a statement Friday. Based in St. Cloud, CentraCare and its affiliate in Willmar, Carris Health, provide advanced care for a large area of central Minnesota.
“Daily, staff at CentraCare struggle to find beds for critically ill patients. The emergency room at CentraCare – St. Cloud Hospital is packed with patients who need to wait hours for care they desperately need.

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