Opinions

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?”

Tue
03
Jul
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Death On The Front Lines Of Community Journalism

Just a few miles north of Benson in Pope County there is a grave marker for Carl Andreas Hiaasen. Last Thursday his grandson Rob Hiaasen, 59, was murdered in the newsroom at The Capital Gazette in Annapolis, Maryland. Four of his colleagues also died in the mass shooting.

Born in 1894, Carl Andreas Hiaasen spent his early years in North Dakota. His connection to our community came through his marriage to Clara Judith Landmark of Benson. They had one son before her death in 1930 at the age of only 30. Clara, who was born in Pope County, was buried in the West Zion Cemetery in Hoff Township though the couple was living in Florida by then.

Thu
28
Jun
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Building A Better Future For Our Children

In May 2015, following the decisive loss of the Benson Public School’s levy referendum we wrote, “Goodwill, low negatives, and
a good initial impression are necessary to
win over voters, but so is a well prepared and thought out presentation of the value of what you are offering the voter for his or her support.” All of those essentials were missing in 2015.

What we see now, as do many in the community, is a complete turnaround with things done right. People who were adamantly opposed to the $18.7 million building levy referendum in 2015 are enthusiastically supportive of the new $26.3 million proposal.

Tue
19
Jun
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The Injustice of Zero Tolerance

Publisher’s note: There are  times when we feel strongly about an issue, but find someone who is more articulate, more persuasive, and carries far more weight with the words they write than we could ever hope to acheive. This is one of those times, so we will let former First Lady Laura Bush, wife of former Republican President George W. Bush, speak to our readers.

Separating children from their parents at the border ‘breaks my heart’
by Laura Bush

Wed
13
Jun
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Water Wars On the Horizon

Today’s U.S. Drought Monitor shows a growing area of deep brown covering portions of New Mexico, Arizona, Colorado and Utah. It indicates an area suffering an exceptional drought – the worst possible. Spots of brown also appear in Oklahoma, west Texas and southwest Kansas.

Areas suffering an exceptional drought experience water emergencies, water rationing, the loss of cropland and pastures. They see streams and small bodies of water drying up. Their reservoirs fall to dangerous levels. Wildfires become a persistent hazard. Livestock herds have to be reduced or sold off.

Surrounding the brown areas is an even larger area of deep red indicating extreme drought conditions. Farmers in these areas also find it impossible to grow crops. There are widespread water shortages; surface waters are disappearing.

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