Opinions

Wed
29
Jun
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Cooperating For A Better Future

by Reed Anfinson
Publisher, Swift County Monitor-News

In their book “13 Ways to Kill Your Community,” Doug Griffiths and Kelly Clemmer’s Chapter 7 is titled “Don’t Cooperate.”

“Almost everything takes cooperation to be successful. It doesn’t matter if it is your business, your marriage, or partnership, or even your sports team, cooperation is required,” they write. Cooperation creates a synergy – energy to get things done that leads to accomplishing more than people or organizations can on their own. Cooperation and increased energy give a project a better chance of success.

Not working together creates a waste of scarce resources, greatly extends the time it takes to accomplish your goals, or can cause you, your community, or your business to fail.

Wed
22
Jun
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Inclusion At Core Of American Values

by Reed Anfinson
Publisher, Swift County Monitor-News

In London members of the British Parliament mourned the loss of one of their own last week. Jo Cox was stabbed and shot by one of her constituents driven to an insane anger over her support for England remaining in the European Union and for its support of immigration polices that bring Muslim refugees to the country.

His anger was fueled by far right wing literature and web sites. “My name is death to traitors, freedom for Britain,” alleged murderer Tommy Mair said when asked his name in his court appearance. In his mind, anyone who thought differently, anyone who thought inclusively with a sense of compassion for people fleeing persecution and war, was a traitor.

Fri
17
Jun
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We Need The Right Facts To Fight Terrorism

by Reed Anfinson
Publisher, Swift County Monitor-News

When faced with horrific tragedies we seem to seek convenient answers that focus our pain and fear. Answers that give us a convenient explanation of what happened and a source upon which we can build some understanding and perspective on how we can move forward. We want to feel safe. And, if the tragedy is manmade, we want someone at whom we can direct our outrage and retribution. We want to hold someone accountable.

These are natural reactions.

But to take the steps that make us safe we have to have the right set of facts.

Omar Mateen’s slaughter of 49 men and women in the gay Pulse nightclub in Orlando, Florida, early Sunday morning was the worst mass shooting in American history.

Fri
10
Jun
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Healthy Hospital Essential To Community

by Reed Anfinson
Publisher, Swift County Monitor-News

For more than a year now the Swift County-Benson Hospital’s (SCBH) Governing Board and CEO Kurt Waldbillig have been steadily moving toward a plan that would significantly turn around the financial position of the hospital. It would not only reverse the losses of the past two years, but put the hospital on track to becoming financially strong within three years.

That financial strength will be essential to ensuring the hospital can modernize its care in coming years as well as weather the ever-changing medical reimbursement systems it must rely on form both the federal government’s Medicare and Medicaid systems, as well as private medical insurance providers.

Fri
03
Jun
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The Responsibility Is Ours

by Reed Anfinson
Publisher, Swift County Monitor-News

We have a new political season upon us. The Minnesota Legislature has adjourned failing to get essential bonding and transportation funding bills completed for the second year in a row. Congress remains bitterly divided and incapable of showing leadership on major problems facing the U.S. Members of both bodies will be seeking re-election this fall.

A lot of people who look at the failures of both the Minnesota Legislature and Congress will say, “Throw them all out” or “Let’s implement term limits.” We have problems with both these arguments.

Wed
18
May
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Republicans Warming Up To Climate Change

Trump Going in Wrong Direction

by Reed Anfinson
Publisher, Swift County Monitor-News

Just when it appeared that Republicans were coming around to the reality of a changing climate and the role we all play in its devastating impact on our world, the party’s presumptive nominee Donald Trump chooses a climate skeptic as his new energy advisor.

Trump named North Dakota’s Republican U.S. House Rep. Kevin Cramer to advise him on energy issues. Cramer has been a strong backer of oil and gas drilling. He has also been a big supporter of coal. When the Bakken oil was flowing, North Dakota saw substantial financial benefit from the unchecked expansion of wells across its northwest corner.  He supports repealing President Obama’s Clean Power Plan, which is aimed at reducing America’s use of fossil fuels.

Wed
11
May
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Taking Responsibility For Today’s Needs

by Reed Anfinson
Publisher, Swift County Monitor-News

Swift County, the City of Benson, District 777 schools, and the Swift County-Benson Hospital face a daunting array of financial challenges to address delayed maintenance on buildings, upgrade facilities to meet today’s and future needs, and adapt to changing technology.

Operating out of a 1940s building that isn’t handicapped accessible, the City of Benson has four key management personnel who are not easily accessible - the city manager, director of finance, public works director and building inspector are all on the second floor.  

Wed
04
May
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Supporting Early Childhood Strengthens Schools

by Reed Anfinson
Publisher, Swift County Monitor-News

District 777 has been seeing declining enrollment for several decades now as family sizes have shrunk, as farm sizes get larger and there are fewer kids in rural areas, and as the populations of small towns shrink as older people die and not enough young people move in to replace them.

Unless we can do something to reverse those three primary causes of a declining rural population, our options on how we can repopulate the classrooms in our schools are very limited.

However, not all the losses we are seeing in our school enrollment numbers comes from a declining population. Other losses can be attributed to the loss of programs we offer students, the lack of daycare for young families that can have parents looking for places in other communities, and the lack of early childhood program space for young children.

Wed
27
Apr
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Protecting Pollinators And Killing Mosquitoes

by Reed Anfinson
Publisher, Swift County Monitor-News

Swarms of mosquitos trying to suck you dry, leaving you itching, and with little red welts, can be very maddening. They can ruin an evening sitting outside with friends, or a round of golf, or playing a game of softball, spending time in your garden, or playing with your children in the backyard.

But those pesky mosquitoes are more than a summertime annoyance – they also potentially carry diseases that can be debilitating or even life threatening. The Zika virus, though the mosquitoes that carry it don’t live as far north as Minnesota, is getting a lot of headlines these days creating considerable concern. La Crosse encephalitis and West Nile virus are both carried by mosquitoes and do cause serious illness, even death, in Minnesota.

That is why citizens demand that their local governments spray on a regular schedule to keep mosquito populations down as much as possible.

Fri
22
Apr
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It’s Hard To Keep An Open Mind To Learning

by Reed Anfinson
Publisher, Swift County Monitor-News

We read a fascinating story written by National Public Radio’s Anya Kamenetz last week about the importance of teachers knowing the most likely wrong answer a student is likely to give in response to a question.

In her story, titled “Why teachers need to know the wrong answers,” she follows the research of professor of astronomy and director of the Science Education department at Harvard University, Philip Sadler. He says “that cognitive science tells us that if you don’t understand the flaws in students’ reasoning, you’re not going to be able to dislodge their misconceptions and replace them with the correct concepts.”

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