Opinions

Wed
18
May
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Republicans Warming Up To Climate Change

Trump Going in Wrong Direction

by Reed Anfinson
Publisher, Swift County Monitor-News

Just when it appeared that Republicans were coming around to the reality of a changing climate and the role we all play in its devastating impact on our world, the party’s presumptive nominee Donald Trump chooses a climate skeptic as his new energy advisor.

Trump named North Dakota’s Republican U.S. House Rep. Kevin Cramer to advise him on energy issues. Cramer has been a strong backer of oil and gas drilling. He has also been a big supporter of coal. When the Bakken oil was flowing, North Dakota saw substantial financial benefit from the unchecked expansion of wells across its northwest corner.  He supports repealing President Obama’s Clean Power Plan, which is aimed at reducing America’s use of fossil fuels.

Wed
11
May
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Taking Responsibility For Today’s Needs

by Reed Anfinson
Publisher, Swift County Monitor-News

Swift County, the City of Benson, District 777 schools, and the Swift County-Benson Hospital face a daunting array of financial challenges to address delayed maintenance on buildings, upgrade facilities to meet today’s and future needs, and adapt to changing technology.

Operating out of a 1940s building that isn’t handicapped accessible, the City of Benson has four key management personnel who are not easily accessible - the city manager, director of finance, public works director and building inspector are all on the second floor.  

Wed
04
May
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Supporting Early Childhood Strengthens Schools

by Reed Anfinson
Publisher, Swift County Monitor-News

District 777 has been seeing declining enrollment for several decades now as family sizes have shrunk, as farm sizes get larger and there are fewer kids in rural areas, and as the populations of small towns shrink as older people die and not enough young people move in to replace them.

Unless we can do something to reverse those three primary causes of a declining rural population, our options on how we can repopulate the classrooms in our schools are very limited.

However, not all the losses we are seeing in our school enrollment numbers comes from a declining population. Other losses can be attributed to the loss of programs we offer students, the lack of daycare for young families that can have parents looking for places in other communities, and the lack of early childhood program space for young children.

Wed
27
Apr
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Protecting Pollinators And Killing Mosquitoes

by Reed Anfinson
Publisher, Swift County Monitor-News

Swarms of mosquitos trying to suck you dry, leaving you itching, and with little red welts, can be very maddening. They can ruin an evening sitting outside with friends, or a round of golf, or playing a game of softball, spending time in your garden, or playing with your children in the backyard.

But those pesky mosquitoes are more than a summertime annoyance – they also potentially carry diseases that can be debilitating or even life threatening. The Zika virus, though the mosquitoes that carry it don’t live as far north as Minnesota, is getting a lot of headlines these days creating considerable concern. La Crosse encephalitis and West Nile virus are both carried by mosquitoes and do cause serious illness, even death, in Minnesota.

That is why citizens demand that their local governments spray on a regular schedule to keep mosquito populations down as much as possible.

Fri
22
Apr
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It’s Hard To Keep An Open Mind To Learning

by Reed Anfinson
Publisher, Swift County Monitor-News

We read a fascinating story written by National Public Radio’s Anya Kamenetz last week about the importance of teachers knowing the most likely wrong answer a student is likely to give in response to a question.

In her story, titled “Why teachers need to know the wrong answers,” she follows the research of professor of astronomy and director of the Science Education department at Harvard University, Philip Sadler. He says “that cognitive science tells us that if you don’t understand the flaws in students’ reasoning, you’re not going to be able to dislodge their misconceptions and replace them with the correct concepts.”

Wed
13
Apr
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Complacency, Resignation Are Our Emenies

by Reed Anfinson
Publisher, Swift County Monitor-News

“It is important, if you are going to ensure the death of your community, that you lose focus on your goals and become complacent, or support those who are complacent in their decisions and leadership roles within your community.”

-- 13 ways to kill your community, by Doug Griffiths and Kelly Clemmer

Complacency, the dictionaries say, is that feeling of being satisfied with the way things are and supporting the status quo. It is particularly destructive in that it is often accompanied by an ignorance of the dangers that stifle community growth.  Leaders dismiss challenges as temporary obstacles that will pass without any special attention needing to be paid to them and citizens go along with their assumptions.

Wed
06
Apr
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Council Aims To Focus On Cleaning Up Benson

By Reed Anfinson
Publisher, Swift County Monitor-News

 
Driving into Benson from the west on Minnesota Highway 9 your first impression is that of a vibrant smaller community with expanding industry. Benson Power LLC and the Chippewa Valley Ethanol Company, with their plumes of steam rising into the air, the Glacial Plains grain facility, and the other businesses in the area all are evidence of recent growth.

Then you go by Ambush Park, the Benson swimming pool with its tall water slide and then the 18-hole Benson Golf Course behind its decorative stone wall. Across the street from the clubhouse is the Benson Dairy Queen where kids coming from the pool are lined up for a treat.

Pretty good first impression as you pull into town.

But as you get into town a little farther, that first impression changes.

Thu
31
Mar
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Appleton Prison Should Be The Smart Choice

By Reed Anfinson

Publisher, Swift County Monitor-News

Minnesota faces a serious prison overcrowding problem. No one argues that point. It is how that problem should be addressed that is at the root of deep emotional stands on the issue. There are three basic solutions under discussion: sentencing reform, creating more prison beds, or the combination of the two. Tangled within those three solutions are passionate feelings on sentencing fairness, racial inequity in sentencing, and the difference between being tough on crime and compassionate to our fellow human beings who have violated the law.

Wed
23
Mar
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Disallusioned Electorate Wants Punches Not Plans

By Reed Anfinson
Publisher, Swift County Monitor-News

 

“We live in an era where trust has collapsed in every single institution in the country with the exception of the military and it is not without cause,” Republican Strategist Steve Schmidt said on Meet the Press Sunday morning. “An era of systemic fraud in business, in politics, in the culture, in sports, in religion, all of it accumulating to this moment in time where someone has come forward with profound communication skills offering easy answers to people who…have seen no changes.”
 

Thu
03
Mar
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We Welcome Political Letters, But....

By Reed Anfinson
Publisher, Swift County Monitor-News

It is the season of political letters to the editor again. This means those who ardently support one candidate or another will be mailing out letters to area newspapers hoping to put a plug in for voters to cast a ballot for their candidate.

The Swift County Monitor-News has a few rules that we apply to letters that are submitted before deciding whether they will be published.

One of our basic rules is that letter writers should be local, preferably subscribers to the Monitor-News. We get inundated with letters from far and wide. They come from outside this region and even other states. Letters that are not local are unlikely to get printed.

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