Opinions

Wed
29
Apr
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Absentee, Mail-in Ballots Essential For Elections

By Reed Anfinson
Publisher
Swift County Monitor-News

Though Nov. 3 is many months away, it may not be enough time for many states to prepare for the general election in a time of fear about the spread of the coronavirus and the deadly disease it causes, COVID-19.

At the top of the ballot will be the presidential candidates. At this point, there is an assumption that the two top candidates will be Republican President Donald Trump and Democrat former Vice President and Delaware U.S. Sen. Joe Biden. It will be a contentious election with potentially a record voter turnout.

Some speculate that the virus might not be around come the fall or won’t be much of a factor in people casting their votes. We wish. On the contrary, it is very likely going to have a significant impact on how we will conduct our elections in November.

Wed
22
Apr
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A Forewarning And An Opportunity

By Reed Anfinson
Publisher
Swift County Monitor-News

As we endure the social isolation and devasting economic impacts tearing up lives and businesses caused by the coronavirus, we may be fortunate. This pandemic is a forewarning of what could be an unstoppable, far more deadly virus that strikes the young and healthy.

It may also lead to a reawakening to the value of a rural life where we aren’t so packed together.

Viruses are hyperactive evolutionary machines, always mutating, always seeking ways to spread.

Wed
15
Apr
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Walz Making The Right Moves To Keep Us Safe

By Reed Anfinson
Publisher
Swift County Monitor-News

No one needs to tell us about the financial impact and pain caused by the shutdown of businesses in Minnesota in an effort to slow the spread of the coronavirus and the deadly COVID-19 respiratory disease it causes.

We see in it in the steep decline in our advertising revenue; we see in the need to lay off employees and cut the hours of others; we see it in the anxiety of the workers who continue to do their jobs to provide you news each week; we see it in the need to apply to the federal government for help in covering our payroll costs in the coming months; we see it in the need to ask our bankers if we can pay interest only on our mortgages; we feel it in the extended hours we are now working;  and we experience it in the sleepless nights when we wake up and can’t get back to sleep as we go over the threats to our financial security and try to figure out ways to address those threats.

Wed
08
Apr
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Businesses Need Local Help, Too

By Reed Anfinson
Publisher
Swift County Monitor-News

Famed hockey player Wayne Gretzky said he was taught to “skate to where the puck will be, not where it has been.” In rural Minnesota, anyone who has ever hunted or shot at clay targets knows the principal of leading the target.

In business, it’s the same. You constantly look to where the market and your customers are going while maintaining your core services and products.

For local governments, economic development is capitalizing on the opportunities your community provides entrepreneurs by anticipating their needs and being poised to provide them when opportunity strikes.

A core economic development fact is that we do best when we promote and support those businesses in our community that are the mainstay of main street and our employment base in business and manufacturing. Never has a commitment to that principal been more necessary than today.

Wed
01
Apr
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None Of Us Are Immune To Economic Hardship

By Reed Anfinson
Publisher
Swift County Monitor-News

Our newspapers have been publishing since the late 1800s. We’ve never missed a publication – not during the two world wars, not during the polio outbreaks during the first half of the 1900s, not during The Great Depression of the early 1930s, and not during the devastating 1918-19 flu pandemic.

We kept publishing to bring the people of our communities not just the news of how their leaders were working to keep us all informed and safe, but also the stories of how our people and businesses were coping with difficult times.

Wed
25
Mar
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Vulnerability To The Coronavirus And Political Party

By Reed Anfinson
Publisher
Swift County Monitor-News

There are consequences for political actions that diminish support for science and health research.

In a study titled “Red State, Blue State, Flu State,” Harvard’s Matthew Baum looked at our politically divided society and its impact on attitudes and policies in states around the country involving healthcare. His specific focus was on the 2009 “Swine Flu” (H1N1) and vaccinations.

“Even seemingly non-partisan political issues like public health are increasingly characterized by partisan polarization in public attitudes,” he wrote. He partially attributed the increasing polarization to our loss of a common source of news that pervaded society until advent of the internet in the 1990s.

Wed
18
Mar
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Knowledge Will Keep Our Communities Safe

By Reed Anfinson

Publisher
Swift County Monitor-News

“Knowledge will forever govern ignorance; and a people who mean to be their own governors must arm themselves with the power which knowledge gives.”
James Madison
 Father of the U.S. Constitution
Fourth President of the United States

This is an extraordinary time in the lives of most Americans as our way of life is radically changed in just a few short weeks.

Who would have thought that as spring approached our schools would all be closed, that there would be no church services, that all sports from our high schools to the professional leagues would be cancelled, that people would be hoarding toilet paper, and that grocery stores would be seeing people buying stockpiles of food as if Armageddon were imminent?

Wed
11
Mar
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Is Our Reaction To Coronavirus Overblown?

By Reed Anfinson
Publisher
Swift County Monitor-News

During the 2017-2018 flu season, more than 61,000 people died in the United States – that is an average of 167 every day for 365 days. Few of our readers will remember any screaming headlines or endless television coverage of the flu season a couple years ago. There weren’t that many.

With each passing day the numbers of deaths attributed to the coronavirus is rising in the U.S. As of Monday morning, it was 27. The total number of cases was rapdily climbing toward 800. Sunday night a second case of the virus was confirmed in Minnesota.

If this virus is so much less deadly and pervasive than the seasonal flu, why so much hype about it? Why are public health agencies in full mobilization mode? Why are people being quarantined? Why has the reaction been so over-the-top that it is tanking the U.S. and world economies, with economists now saying there is a good chance of a recession ahead?

Wed
04
Mar
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Coronavirus Is Coming Here - Are We Ready?

By Reed Anfinson
Publisher
Swift County Monitor-News

Just as 2019 was ending, Chinese authorities reported to the World Health Organization (WHO) that a potentially new virus was circulating in the city of Wuhan. It was a respiratory virus causing pneumonia-like symptoms – congestion, shortness of breath and fever.

The next day, Jan. 1, the suspected source of the infections, the Huanan Seafood Wholesale Market in Wuhan, was closed. The fresh meat market was a place where animals and humans were in close contact with each other. Such markets have been the source of past viral disease outbreaks.
One week later on Jan. 7 Chinese authorities confirmed a new, or novel, coronavirus was infecting people in Wuhan and four days later, Jan, 11, it reported the first death from what is now labeled Covid-19.

Wed
26
Feb
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Invest In Our Youth And Infrastructure

By Reed Anfinson
Publisher
Swift County Monitor-News

This is a bonding year in the Minnesota Legislature. It is a session that should fund plans to finance improvements in public buildings, our roads and bridges, and water and wastewater facilities. It is also a year for a host of proposals on how to spend the state’s $1.3 billion surplus.

Democratic Gov. Tim Walz has a $2.6 billion “Local Jobs and Projects Plan” proposal that focuses on early childhood programs, child care, affordable housing, infrastructure projects, public safety and higher education needs. It would be made up of $2.03 billion in general-obligation bonds and $571 million in cash from the general fund.

“I’ve said this often, budget documents are more than fiscal documents, they’re moral documents,” Walz said in framing the current budget battle. “This is an opportunity for folks to talk about what they value.”

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