Opinions

Wed
18
Aug
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Nowhere To Run, Nowhere To Hide

By Reed Anfinson
Publisher
Swift County Monitor-News

It’s hard to be skeptical in the face of reality. Yet, some still doubt humankind is having a significant and long-lasting impact on the world’s climate.

Still, the scientific facts that point to our role in warming the planet have become overwhelming. Even for those who don’t believe in climate science, the visual impacts of climate change are hard to deny. Massive forest fires, record high temperatures, extended droughts, melting glaciers, flooding caused by extreme rainfalls, and rising oceans are visual proof of changing weather patterns.

Last week we saw another highly-regarded report on the world’s warming and its causes released by the United Nations-appointed Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) published.

Wed
11
Aug
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Rural Communities Can Bring Grads Home

By Reed Anfinson
Publisher
Swift County Monitor-News

In five years of reporting from and living in the remote rural areas of coastal Maine, writer Gigi Georges said she discovered a reality that runs counter to the conventional downbeat narratives about rural areas “and debunks the notion that young people, in particular, have to flee to succeed. Indeed, there are lessons for all of us in the strength of community, resiliency, and rootedness to place in many of our nation’s most rural regions.”

In those rural communities in which there is hope for the future, the lives of the residents are based on a common recognition to support one another. This common cause was born early on in America’s history.

Wed
04
Aug
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Section 230 Protects Spreading Misinformation

By Reed Anfinson
Publisher
Swift County Monitor-News

Facebook,  Twitter, and YouTube facilitate misinformation poisoning the American dialogue on topics from politics, to health, to voting, to immigration, to religion. People have the right to lie. They have the right to make fools of people who fall for their information pranks or deluded rantings.

They can promote patently false information that reinforces beliefs that could kill. Despite their failings, these companies are protected from the consequences as they make billions on the chaos and damage they create.

Wed
28
Jul
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Newspapers, Government Have Vital Partnership

By Reed Anfinson
Publisher
Swift County Monitor-News

It wouldn’t be surprising if most people thought of newspapers and those serving in government, whether elected or appointed, as natural adversaries. Often, we are portrayed that way in film and books. The press seeking to uncover incriminating evidence of wrongdoing by the government officials is a common theme.

It’s true that at times public officials hide information.  Perhaps, they’ve done something foolish, or criminal, that they don’t want the public to find out about. It’s our job to expose wrongdoing, whether intentional or not. Only through our reporting can the public judge the honesty and competency of their elected officials, then hold them accountable. Their informed judgment helps citizens decide whether someone deserves another term or should be replaced.

Wed
21
Jul
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Supporting Dreamers Supports Our Future

By Reed Anfinson
Publisher
Swift County Monitor-News

Judge Andrew S. Hanen of the United States District Court in Houston, TX, sent tremors through the immigrant community when he ruled last week that former President Barack Obama exceeded his authority in creating the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program.

His ruling again makes the fate of these young immigrants and their families a political football and a source of deep anxiety. Will their families be ripped apart by forced deportation? How do they start businesses, careers, buy homes and start families with such uncertainty?

To the relief of Dreamers, the judge’s opinion stated that the federal government should not “take any immigration, deportation or criminal action” against recipients that it “would not otherwise take.” However, while the Department of Homeland Security will keep taking new applications for DACA status, it is temporarily blocked from approving them.

Wed
14
Jul
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The ‘Wow!’ Factor of Benson Public Schools

By Reed Anfinson
Publisher
Swift County Monitor-News

We’re celebrating community again!
So many of the events that drew us together as family, friends and community last year were cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Now, there is a pent-up energy to gather and delight in one another’s company.

This week we are celebrating Benson’s 90th Kid Day. Saturday’s Kid Day parade, with the Benson High School marching band leading the way, is a highlight the day. But there so much more from the carnival in the Roosevelt Park, the classic car show, sporting tournaments, Kid Day Amazing Race, ribfest, car burnouts, live music, airplane rides and much more will all be exciting for kids and adults alike.

There will be families who no longer live in the area returning with the children and grandchildren to participate in Kid Day. There are class reunions coordinated with the Kid Day weekend.

Wed
07
Jul
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To Ensure A Lasting Celebration, Get Vaccinated

By Reed Anfinson
Publisher
Swift County Monitor-News

Our celebration of the nation’s 245th birthday felt special this year in that we reclaimed so much of what we missed last year. Gathering with friends and family, and hugging all those we have missed, is without a doubt the biggest highlight. We gathered to enjoy parades, fireworks displays, and community celebrations.

We also celebrated our sense of freedom from the oppressive COVID-19 pandemic.

For the most part, it appears that COVID-19 is a disease of the past for the residents of western Minnesota. Countryside Public Health’s five counties, which include Swift, Chippewa, Big Stone, Lac qui Parle and Yellow Medicine, saw just 18 COVID-19 cases in June. That is the lowest monthly total since the first cases were diagnosed in the area in May 2020. Swift County saw just six cases in June while Stevens County saw one and Pope County only four.

Wed
30
Jun
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Identifying Our Most Pressing Challenges

By Reed Anfinson
Publisher
Swift County Monitor-News

When you think about your life in rural Minnesota, what would you say are the most challenging issues your community faces? What would make your life better?

Of course, your answers are going to depend on whether you have a young family in need of a daycare, a business that desperately needs new workers, someone looking to buy a home, a business owner who sees his community shrinking, or a public official worried about crumbling infrastructure.

School superintendents worry about falling enrollment and the declining state funding that results. Businesses, educators, and families all are frustrated by the lack of internet broadband connections. Suppose you are a senior citizen who seeks an assisted living facility for yourself or a spouse. Is there one in your community?

Newspaper publishers see fewer advertisers and subscribers.

Wed
16
Jun
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‘The Land of Sky Blue Waters’ Is Threatened

By Reed Anfinson
Publisher
Swift County Monitor-News

Reports of the damage we are doing to our planet come with a depressing regularity these days. Yet, they seem to be shrugged off with the same complacency and a there’s-nothing-we-can-do-about-it resignation as the latest mass shooting.

Earlier this month, a study was released that warns of far-reaching impacts for Minnesota, and the planet, without significant changes. In some ways, it is already too late to prevent the damage underway, but we can mitigate the depth and reach of that damage in the years to come.

Wed
09
Jun
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Moving Closer Toward Democracy’s Demise

By Reed Anfinson
Publisher
Swift County Monitor-News

If you haven’t heard about it yet, you likely will before long. Another community in Minnesota, is losing its newspaper. Another community will be going virtually blind as to the doings of their local governments, their efforts to keep citizens safe during a pandemic, the stories of their people, and so much more.

This isn’t some tiny town in Minnesota losing its newspaper. International Falls is a community of 6,000 people.

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