Opinions

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.

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.

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