"Where Fillmore County News Comes First"
Online Edition
Monday, December 29th, 2014
Volume ∞ Issue ∞
 
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Crisis facing rural ambulance services


By Ryan Throckmorton

Mon, Dec 15th, 2014
Posted in All Commentary



What does your local ambulance service mean to your community? This question is answered many different ways depending on whether or not you have utilized EMS services or have volunteered in your local community.

In Fillmore County, ambulances respond to over 1,500 calls per year. We have been very fortunate to maintain our local volunteer ambulance services in the communities of Chatfield, Harmony, Lanesboro, Mabel, Preston, Rushford, and Spring Valley. But if we look back to 2003, Fillmore County has already lost one BLS transporting ambulance service, which was not the result of not having skilled staff, but because of not having enough volunteers to maintain the service. Losing this service not only affected the residents of that community but also every ambulance service surrounding that community by adding additional calls to already strained services, which leads to the next question, will our communities be able to maintain the seven ambulance services that remain? This crisis is not a local problem; this problem is facing services throughout the state and even the nation.

Ambulance services have been facing the crisis of not having enough trained volunteers for several years, which leaves our communities in jeopardy of losing their local services. Ambulance services will not survive without an increase in volunteers or a very heavy tax increase to offset the expense of staffing ambulances full time. As required by the state of Minn., each ambulance service is required to maintain scheduled staff, minimum of twopeople on-call, 24/7, 365. To meet the staffing requirements, volunteers must cover a total of 17,520 hours per ambulance service per year and a total of 122,640 hours for all seven of the ambulance services in the county.

The value of a volunteer:

Take a look at the value of a volunteer. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, volunteer time is valued at $24.31 per hour. This gives a minimum value of each ambulance service volunteers of $425,911 and all seven ambulance services in the county a value of $2,981,378. This is a general baseline value for all volunteers. This value is probably under estimated if we total wages plus benefits to find and hire a trained Emergency Medical Technician.

Ambulances rely on trained volunteers. This training is generally offered at no cost, with a commitment to provide as a volunteer. The volunteers are often compensa .....
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Look up, Americans, it’s not as bad as you think

By Lee Hamilton

Mon, Dec 15th, 2014
Posted in All Commentary

We are one glum country. Trust in the federal government is at historic lows, according to Gallup. More than half of the respondents to an October Rasmussen poll think our best days are behind us. And just a few weeks ago, an NBC/Wall St. Journa ..... 
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One Moment, Please... Small box vs. small business

Mon, Dec 15th, 2014
Posted in All Commentary

Did you partake in Small Business Saturday and support your locally owned businesses while getting some great deals on gifts for Christmas? I sure hope so. You’ll see an ad that we publish in our newspaper on a regular basis, and here’s what ..... 
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One Moment, Please... Turkey Day Run was no gravy train

Mon, Dec 8th, 2014
Posted in All Commentary

The sixth annual Fillmore County Turkey Day run, this year, was not for the casual weekend warrior. This was the coldest Thanksgiving Day on record, hence it was the coldest event in the short history of our run. At the start of the run, the temp ..... 
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What lies ahead

By Lee Hamilton

Mon, Dec 8th, 2014
Posted in All Commentary

Given all the words and images devoted to the midterm elections over the past few weeks, you’d think the results had told us something vital about the future of the country. In reality, they were just a curtain-raiser. It’s the next few weeks an ..... 
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Thanks and giving

Mon, Dec 1st, 2014
Posted in All Commentary

This time of year, there is one thing on many of our minds: food. Here at Southern Minnesota Initiative Foundation (SMIF), we are especially interested in food, as we just wrapped up the first annual FEAST Festival and Tradeshow in Rochester in ea ..... 
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The Six Amendments

By Yvonne Nyenhuis

Mon, Dec 1st, 2014
Posted in All Commentary

In 1787, 55 delegates from 13 states gathered in Philadelphia and framed what became the Constitution of the United States. When the Constitution was written, compromises were made that were certain to require change in the future. Slaves were incl ..... 
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Depredation tags

Mon, Nov 24th, 2014
Posted in All Commentary

Ah, it’s finally deer season! A time of year thousands of us live for and dream about for the other 11 months of the year. Here in South East Minnesota we are blessed with a healthy deer herd. But not everyone here is in love with this beautifu ..... 
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Viewing political corruption more broadly

By Lee Hamilton

Mon, Nov 24th, 2014
Posted in All Commentary

Earlier this year, veteran political writer Thomas Edsall reported an eyebrow-raising fact about Americans’ views toward government. Polling by Gallup, he noted, found that the proportion of Americans who believed that corruption is “widesprea ..... 
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