Opinions

Wed
12
May
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Government Can Help Get People Back To Work

Minnesota is opening. It almost feels like the pre-COVID-19 days. People are out and about; the bars and restaurants are full of people laughing and socializing. We have had high school proms at our schools. Graduations are coming soon. The only bothersome affliction for spring sports has been the weather.
Only the masks worn by wait staff, people going into businesses, and medical facilities, and still on some in their vehicles reminds us these are not ordinaryl times yet.
Our businesses are also aware that COVID-19’s silent hold on the economy still runs deep. It’s reflected in the community newspapers with classified ad pages full of help-wanted advertisements. We hear their pleas for workers on the radio and television. They are all over the internet. Jobs are posted on flyers around the community.

Wed
05
May
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Racism Comes In Many Disguises - by Reed Anifnson - Publisher

‘If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor.’
Archbishop Desmond Tutu

Wed
28
Apr
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Two Things I Learned From Walter Mondale

Last week we lost my friend and mentor Walter Mondale, known to friends as Fritz. In my home state of Minnesota we were proud to call Fritz our attorney general, our senator and our vice president.
On the national stage he shined as a young state attorney general who championed the right to counsel. As a senator he was a leader in the fight for civil rights and housing legislation and — way ahead of his time — warned of the need for intelligence oversight and privacy protections. He reshaped the vice presidency and served as a true partner to President Jimmy Carter, someone who wasn’t just a figurehead but instead a close adviser and confidant, deserving of a place in “the room where it happens.”

Wed
28
Apr
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Restoring Trust In The Press

We  would like to think that our role as journalists aligns with those of our readers. Our core goals seem so fundamental to an informed electorate in a representative democracy. How could anyone disagree with our mission? People do and for what they believe are good reasons.
Most journalists hold these fundamental beliefs:
- We should give voice to the powerless, who face with few resources the daunting power wielded by government and industry:
 - We must hold those in power accountable for their actions and inactions that have a negative impact on our lives.
- We need to discover the facts to reveal the truth.
- We can only get those facts when government is transparent.
- It is only by revealing what is wrong with our society that we can take the steps needed to fix things.
The problem with assumptions is that they are often based on what we want to believe rather than others’ beliefs.

Thu
15
Apr
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Fighting For Our Local Papers

U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar

By U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar

On May 7th of last year, the Hastings Star Gazette printed its last issue. The paper’s first issue as The Hastings Independent was published in 1857, a year before Minnesota gained statehood. Generations relied on papers like this for local news—they told you who was born and who died, whose daughter just broke the county record for the 400-meter freestyle, whose Holstein won a surprise ribbon at the State Fair, and how your local leaders voted.

My dad was a Minnesota newspaper columnist and sports reporter. Even though he worked his way up the ranks to interview everyone from Mike Ditka to Ronald Reagan to Ginger Rogers, he was always, as his managing editor put it, “a champion of those on the outside.”

But today, newspapers of all sizes are struggling and closing. 

Thu
15
Apr
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Public Spaces Vital To Community Attachment

By Reed Anfinson

By Reed Anfinson

“We come from all the divisions, ranks and classes of society…to teach and to be taught in our turn. While we mingle together in these pursuits, we shall learn to know each other more intimately; we shall remove many of the prejudices which ignorance or partial acquaintance with each other has fostered…. (so) we may return to our homes and firesides with kindlier feelings toward one another, because we have learned to know one another better.”

The Rev. Thomas Greene - 1829

New Bedford, Mass, Lyceum

In an intensive three-year study by the Gallup organization of 26 American communities, 10 areas were identified as essential to creating a sense of community. Can you guess which three were repeatedly found to be the most important?

The 10 areas were:

-      Basic services – community infrastructure

Wed
07
Apr
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Remote work provides opportunities for rural America

‘Opportunity knocks but once. Taken at the tide, t'will lead to fortune. If denied, t'will never return.’

 

Attributed to William Shakespeare.

 

“In the midst of every crisis lies great opportunity,”  Albert Einstein observed. America and the world have faced the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic crisis for more than a year now. We’ve witnessed incredible loss in lives and devastating financial loss of some.  But out of this crisis also comes opportunity that could finally lead to the resettling of our rural communities.

“Pre-pandemic, Americans were tied to and lived where the jobs were — mainly in big cities. The pandemic and increasing acceptance of remote work is causing people to question why they stay tied to a location where they don’t want to live,” Maria Leonardi writes in her blog La Vita Libera (Live Free.)

Wed
31
Mar
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We Must Be A Welcoming Community To Grow

Column: A Drop of Ink

By Reed Anfinson-Publisher

Afghanistanism.

It’s a term we learned early in our journalism career that meant writing about subjects other than those that were strictly local and important in the lives of your readers. You weren’t supposed to do it unless there was a direct connection – a soldier coming home from war; a student studying aboard.

It was at a time before the internet when metropolitan and regional daily newspapers were strong and widely circulated in rural America. Over the past 20 years, the news environment in which we live has changed dramatically.

Wed
31
Mar
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Rural housing shortage frustrates growth

 

Column: A Drop of Ink

By Reed Anfinson

Publisher

 

Among the most challenging and potentially expensive economic development efforts all rural communities face is providing adequate housing for employees of local businesses and industries.

That problem has worsened dramatically in the past year in many ways due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Historically low mortgage interest rates and the pandemic caused single-family housing starts to increase by 30 percent in 2020 over 2019. However, housing starts have hit a hurdle that not even low-interest rates can deal with easily.

Wed
03
Mar
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State Shouldn’t Tax Funds That Saved Businesses

By Reed Anfinson
Publisher
Swift County Monitor-News

Minnesota received some very good financial news Friday with the new budget forecast. However, over the past several weeks, the news hasn’t been so good for some of the state’s business owners.

Minnesota was expecting to see a significant hit to its revenues due to the COVID-19 pandemic’s severe impact on the state’s businesses. But when the new budget forecast was released Friday, rather than the $1.3 billion deficit that some projected for the next two years, a surplus of $1.6 billion was forecast.

The increase in revenues is due to better than expected tax revenues and lower state costs of operations in some areas during the pandemic. Also, Minnesota avoided the post-holiday surge in COVID-19 cases allowing the gradual reopening of businesses giving the economy a boost.

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