Opinions

Wed
10
Jun
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We Are Not Immune From Racism’s Tragedy

By Reed Anfinson
Publisher
Swift County Monitor-News

Even in small-town rural Minnesota, what happens on the streets of Minneapolis, St. Paul, Los Angeles, Atlanta, or Washington, D.C., matters.

As streets have filled with citizens protesting the callous killing of George Floyd May 25 by Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin, rural America has watched from a distance. The inflamed passions of those fed up with police brutality toward black Americans appearing on our screens is far removed.

For 8 minutes and 45 seconds, Chauvin had his knee pressing hard against Floyd’s neck. His pleas that he couldn’t breathe were ignored. He soon fell unconscious; Chauvin didn’t let up. By the time he removed his knee, Floyd was dead.

Who can’t help but being outraged by viewing the video of Floyd’s death?

Wed
03
Jun
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BHS Class Of 2020 Graduates With Smiles

By Reed Anfinson
Publisher
Swift County Monitor-News

As Benson High School seniors walked from their cars to the improvised stage set against the chain link fence of the Benson Family Aquatic Center Friday evening, we were surprised and reassured by the smiles we saw.

We saw an undiminished enthusiasm. We saw joy and laughter.

As each graduate held his or her diploma, facing family and friends, unrecognizable behind the glare on their windshields, most smiled bringing smiles to all who watched. They were proud. As graduates received their diplomas, car horns honked, and you could hear people cheering.

In the short car parade that immediately followed the graduation ceremony, we saw celebration by the graduates, their families, their friends and the community. Fire trucks and ambulances led the parade with their lights flashing and a horn blaring from time to time.

Wed
27
May
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All That Cardboard Tells A Story

By Reed Anfinson
Publisher
Swift County Monitor-News

With people stuck at home for much of the past two months, there have been some changes in shopping habits – one good for small-town America, one not so good.

Many people have shied away from the big box stores in regional shopping centers that have seen a significant number of COVID-19 cases. Neighboring Kandiyohi County has recorded 468 cases of the deadly coronavirus as of Monday. Stearns County, the home of St. Cloud, will have over 2,000 cases by the time you read this column. Shoppers are also avoiding the grocery stores in regional centers, preferring to buy their goods closer to home.

Wed
20
May
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Not The Flu, Not A Hoax, Not Time To Party

By Reed Anfinson
Publisher
Swift County Monitor-News

“It’s just the flu.” That is what some who believe Minnesota Democratic Gov. Tim Walz has overreacted to COVID-19 disease think.

“If I get corona, I get corona,” a young woman on a Florida beach told the press. “At the end of the day, I’m not going to let it stop me from partying.” This is another attitude among many who are not in the vulnerable age group hit hard by the coronavirus.

And, there are a few who maintain that COVID-19 is a hoax, overblown by the media.

It’s not a hoax. It’s not the flu. And, those who say “let’s party” have little thought or worry about the impact of the disease on their parents, or grandparents, or those with underlying conditions that make them susceptible to the virus.

Wed
13
May
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America’s New Class - The Expendables

By Reed Anfinson
Publisher
Swift County Monitor-News

While giving a speech Sept. 9, 2016, Democratic candidate for president Hillary Clinton had one of the more memorable moments of her campaign. It wasn’t a good one.

In speaking about then Republican candidate Donald Trump’s followers, she described them as a “basket of deplorables.” She saw them as “racist, sexist, homophobic, and xenophobic.” Acknowledging the storm of criticism for those remarks, she amended her comment to say only “half” of his followers were in this deplorable camp. It was a comment that further entrenched her unfavorable ratings.

Now we are seeing our president and some of his followers creating a new class of people in America – The Expendables. They are people 65 and older, as well as those with underlying conditions making them more vulnerable to the ravages of the coronavirus – diabetes, lung disease, asthma, or a compromised immune system.

Wed
06
May
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America Must Support U.S. Postal Service

By Reed Anfinson
Publisher
Swift County Monitor-News

On the most bitterly cold days, with windchills of 20 below zero and deep snow to trudge through, the United States Postal Service workers deliver the mail. In sweltering heat and humidity, and in thunderstorm downpours, they still go door to door delivering the mail.

Now add to their duties the delivery of mail during a pandemic. Despite nearly 1,300 postal workers having been sickened by the coronavirus and 54 having died, they continue to deliver the mail. With many people shut-in under stay-at-home orders, or fearful of going out because they are among those vulnerable to the virus, the postal service provides an essential service. It brings them medicines critical to their continued health.

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.

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