Opinions

Fri
30
Sep
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‘Gone Country’ in Franklin, Tennessee

by Reed Anfinson
Publisher, Swift County Monitor-News

Being part of the National Newspaper Association (NNA) has provided us with opportunities to travel across the country and experience events that we would have never encountered but for our membership. We had one of the most memorable experiences last week when we traveled to the NNA annual convention in Franklin, Tennessee.

Franklin is about the same distance from Nashville, the heart of country western music in America, as Bloomington is from downtown Minneapolis.

Last Thursday night at The Factory in Franklin four top country singer-songwriters sat across the small stage with their acoustic guitars. Though they entertained us for more than an hour, the four never played as a group. Rather each one took a turn at describing one of the songs he had written, the country artist who had picked it up, and how it became a hit.

Wed
21
Sep
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Future of Wildlife Programs Depend on Youth

by Reed Anfinson
Publisher, Swift County Monitor-News

After years of seeing t-shirts with sayings things like “I’d rather be...” with an illustration of a fish, pheasant, duck or deer, implying the person wearing it was an avid outdoor sportsman, we saw one this past weekend that gave insight into where too many young people’s passions are today. It said, “I’d rather be…” and was illustrated with video games.

Minnesota’s waterfowl season starts this Saturday. The archery deer season is already underway and the pheasant season starts in just a couple weeks. It’s a time of year those who love the outdoors and the challenge of hunting anxiously anticipate.

Thu
08
Sep
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Colin Kaepernick’s Patriotism

by Reed Anfinson
Publisher, Swift County Monitor-News

The peace and welfare of this and coming generations of Americans will be secure only as we cling to the watchword of true patriotism: “Our country - when right to be kept right; when wrong to be put right.” -- Carl Schurz, Civil War General

 “With liberty and justice for all,” are the last words of the Pledge of Allegiance. But what when happens when liberty and justice are unequal? What happens when you are a member of a minority that is persistently, systematically discriminated against?

What happens when you are parents who have to fear for the lives of your children when they leave the home, not because of what a criminal might do, but because of what law enforcement might do?

Fri
02
Sep
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Becoming A Diverse, Accepting Community

by Reed Anfinson
Publisher, Swift County Monitor-News

"If my child had prejudice in his head, I’d be ashamed. I would see it as my failure as a parent."  -- Salman Rushdie, Author

When our grandfather came to rural Benson as a young boy of five-years-old, he couldn’t speak English. Norwegian was his native tongue. But he quickly learned English attending country school in Six Mile Grove Township. He only attended school through the eighth grade but was one of most well read people we knew growing up.

He grew up working on the farm, then as many did, worked a variety of jobs before becoming a plumber who also dug and built basements. Ole Anfinson worked hard to make a better life for his three children. His oldest child, Ronald Anfinson, graduated from Benson High School and went on to be a bombardier on a B-24 bomber in World War II. After the war he went on to graduate from the University of Minnesota, Minneapolis.

Thu
25
Aug
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County Fair A Great Asset Of Rural Life

by Reed Anfinson
Publisher, Swift County Monitor-News

In this day of electronic gadgets that keep people constantly connected, where people seem addicted to their cell phones, compulsively making calls and texting, attending the Swift County Fair can be a throw back to a time before the Internet. The experience isn’t entirely free of people with phones to their ears, or fingers flying over their screens typing out messages, but it seems a break from its pervasiveness in everyday life.

We attended all four days of the fair this year, taking photos, talking with people, and observing those who came to enjoy the quality free music, the carnival rides, 4-H animal competitions, the rodeo, eat the fair food, walk through the barns, and see the winners in the many garden, canning, and craft competitions. What we saw was a way of life that is missing from too many of our daily routines these days.

Thu
18
Aug
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Another Community Loses Its Newspaper

by Reed Anfinson
Publisher, Swift County Monitor-News

 

LAST ISSUE the headline in The Range Times read. After 109 years of brining the news to the community of Biwabik in northern Minnesota’s Iron Range, the newspaper printed its last edition Aug. 4.

“I’ve always said the weekly newspaper is the soul of the town,” publisher Gary D. Albertson told the nearby Mesabi Daily News in Virginia. “When you lose it, you lose your identity.”

No longer will a newspaper cover the city council, school board or county commission on a regular basis. Neighboring publications will give glimpses of the community, but won’t give the depth a local publication provides.

Mon
15
Aug
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Trump Embodies The Definition of ‘Demagogue’

by Reed Anfinson
Publisher, Swift County Monitor-News

“A political leader who seeks support by appealing to popular desires and prejudices rather than by using rational argument.”  -Definition of a demagogue

We have heard the term “demagogue” used a lot in this election year by both opponents of Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump, and by political observers on the left as well as among mainstream Republicans. We have heard the word used regularly on television and radio, and read it in print. But what are all these people talking about when they refer to Trump as a demagogue and why is being one such an indictment of character?

Thu
04
Aug
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We Welcome Political Letters, But There Are Rules

by Reed Anfinson
Publisher, Swift County Monitor-News

At the Swift County Monitor-News we greatly appreciate the letters to the editor we receive. They give citizens of the community a voice for their thoughts and opinions, broadening the dialogue on issues, public officials, and candidates for office.

We always see an increase in the letters we receive as we enter the last months of an election year as supporters of candidates and people promoting policies they want to see enacted write us with their views. While we welcome letters to the editor, the Swift County Monitor-News has a few rules that we apply to letters before deciding whether they will be published.

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.

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