Opinions

Thu
18
Aug
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Another Community Loses Its Newspaper

by Reed Anfinson
Publisher, Swift County Monitor-News

 

LAST ISSUE the headline in The Range Times read. After 109 years of brining the news to the community of Biwabik in northern Minnesota’s Iron Range, the newspaper printed its last edition Aug. 4.

“I’ve always said the weekly newspaper is the soul of the town,” publisher Gary D. Albertson told the nearby Mesabi Daily News in Virginia. “When you lose it, you lose your identity.”

No longer will a newspaper cover the city council, school board or county commission on a regular basis. Neighboring publications will give glimpses of the community, but won’t give the depth a local publication provides.

Mon
15
Aug
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Trump Embodies The Definition of ‘Demagogue’

by Reed Anfinson
Publisher, Swift County Monitor-News

“A political leader who seeks support by appealing to popular desires and prejudices rather than by using rational argument.”  -Definition of a demagogue

We have heard the term “demagogue” used a lot in this election year by both opponents of Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump, and by political observers on the left as well as among mainstream Republicans. We have heard the word used regularly on television and radio, and read it in print. But what are all these people talking about when they refer to Trump as a demagogue and why is being one such an indictment of character?

Thu
04
Aug
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We Welcome Political Letters, But There Are Rules

by Reed Anfinson
Publisher, Swift County Monitor-News

At the Swift County Monitor-News we greatly appreciate the letters to the editor we receive. They give citizens of the community a voice for their thoughts and opinions, broadening the dialogue on issues, public officials, and candidates for office.

We always see an increase in the letters we receive as we enter the last months of an election year as supporters of candidates and people promoting policies they want to see enacted write us with their views. While we welcome letters to the editor, the Swift County Monitor-News has a few rules that we apply to letters before deciding whether they will be published.

Wed
27
Jul
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Hospital Deserves City, County Support

by Reed Anfinson
Publisher, Swift County Monitor-News

 

Swift County-Benson Hospital has experienced substantial losses on its operations in the past two years and faces another big loss in 2016. To turn those financial losses into profits, SCBH’s governing board and CEO Kurt Waldbillig have been working on a three-fold plan that is now being implemented. It projects that by 2019 net revenues could reach nearly $1 million.

Thu
21
Jul
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Assessing Our Community

by Reed Anfinson
Publisher, Swift County Monitor-News

Benson and Swift County sit on the eastern edge of the Great Plains. We lie just at the very edge of the Minnesota lakes country. We aren’t a regional hub of business, medical services, entertainment or shopping.  But despite the seeming disadvantages, Benson and the county do have some positive attributes that make us attractive to businesses looking for a place to locate and a place for people to settle down.

Our challenge is identifying the strengths we have so we can build on them as well as the weaknesses we face so that we can do our best to overcome them.

Fri
15
Jul
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An Opportunity For Input On Rural Policy

by Reed Anfinson
Publisher, Swift County Monitor-News

Those who read this column know we have a passion for community newspapers and believe strongly they remain essential to an informed and healthy community. We’ve backed that commitment up in the past by serving on the boards of both the Minnesota Newspaper Association and National Newspaper Association, working to promote and support community newspapers.

We also have a passion for encouraging local leaders and citizens to do what it takes to ensure we have a vibrant community that is always looking forward, not looking back. Our community leaders need to be innovative and willing to take chances to spur economic development and community growth.

Fri
08
Jul
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Teaching Civic Responsibility

by Reed Anfinson
Publisher, Swift County Monitor-News

Starting with the 2017-2018 school year, students in Minnesota schools will have to take a civics test on their knowledge of America’s history as well as on how our government works. They can start taking the test in 9th grade and have four years to get 30 out of 50 answers right – just 60 percent right for a passing grade.

While some wanted passing the test a requirement for graduation, that stipulation didn’t last long in the Minnesota Legislature as it considered the bill earlier this year. So, while students are required to the take the test, in the end it doesn’t matter if they pass or fail. 

However, it is hoped that studying for it will provide students with a basic knowledge about civics.

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.

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