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"Where Fillmore County News Comes First"
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Tuesday, May 24th, 2016
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There’s too much secrecy in government


By Lee Hamilton

Mon, Apr 11th, 2016
Posted in All Commentary

We have a secrecy problem. This may seem odd to say during an era in which the most intimate details of individuals’ lives are on display. Yet government is moving behind closed doors, and this is definitely the wrong direction.

In fact, I’m dismayed by how often public officials fight not to do the public’s business in public. And I’m not just talking about the federal government.

City and town councils regularly go into executive session to discuss “personnel issues” that might or might not truly need to be carried on outside public view. And let’s not even talk about what can go on behind closed doors when it comes to contracting.

At the state level, lawmakers exempt themselves from public records laws, underfund public watchdogs, and exempt lobbying expenditures from sunshine laws. “While every state in the nation has open records and meetings laws, they’re typically shot through with holes and exemptions,” the Center for Public Integrity reported last year. “In most states, at least one entire branch of government or agency claims exemptions from the laws.”

In case you’re wondering whether this has an impact on real people’s lives, it’s worth remembering that thousands of emails released in the wake of Flint, Michigan’s water crisis revealed “what appears to be an active effort by state employees to avoid disclosure of public records under [freedom of information laws],” according to Governing magazine.

Meanwhile, there’s no shortage of efforts to keep the public from learning all sorts of details about how the federal government conducts business.

Campaign contributors increasingly manage to avoid disclosure of their political activities. Government contractors are not subject to most of the transparency rules that affect federal agencies — even as more and more business is being done through contractors.

The 72 federal inspectors general who are appointed to ensure the efficiency and accountability of the agencies they oversee face constant efforts to limit their access to records. Routine information is classified and kept secret; members of Congress joke that what they’ve just read in a top-secret document was taken from the front page of the New York Times. Yet they themselves increasingly rely on omnibus spending bills — which are put together behind closed doors by a handful of leaders and congressional .....
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Fiat money?

By Col. Stan Gudmundson

Mon, Apr 11th, 2016
Posted in All Commentary

Fiat money? Some might wonder what that is. It’s actually simple. Let’s pretend I am the government. I print fancy paper with numbers on them and give them to you. You say, what’s this? I, the government, tell you that it is money. Us ..... 
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Opportunities for rural Minnesota

Mon, Apr 4th, 2016
Posted in All Commentary

As Minnesota lawmakers continue through the 89th legislative session, there are several items up for discussion that could potentially benefit our rural communities. At Southern Minnesota Initiative Foundation (SMIF), our work intersects with many o ..... 
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Correction

Mon, Apr 4th, 2016
Posted in Spring Valley Commentary

The March 21 issue of the Fillmore County Journal incorrectly listed the Bolton-Menk representative who addressed the Spring Valley City Council as Brian Malm, when it was actually Bryan Holtz. We apologize for this error.

Journey of the Heart

Mon, Apr 4th, 2016
Posted in All Commentary

Heartland Hospice and Chatfield United Methodist’s Gathering Place, in collaboration with Help Our Neighbors, are co-hosting Journey of the Heart, an eight-week support group for family and caregivers of people with Alzheimer’s/dementia. The ..... 
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One Moment, Please... Some DMV humor

Mon, Apr 4th, 2016
Posted in All Commentary

Our children had been hoping and even begging to see the movie “Zootopia”. Luckily, this movie was playing at the JEM Movie Theatre. To be honest, I had no idea what this movie was about other than the fact that it was an animated movie for c ..... 
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Future talk

Mon, Mar 28th, 2016
Posted in All Commentary

My little girl is over a year old now: she’s walking, she’s talking, and she’s got a very gleeful sort of stubbornness that I wish I could get away with in my everyday life. My wife and I are doing our very best to make sure that, even if sh ..... 
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One Moment, Please... A Wookiee write-in vote?

Mon, Mar 28th, 2016
Posted in All Commentary

Fillmore County has a special tie to presidential candidate Donald Trump. Millard Fillmore, the 13th President of the United States from July 9, 1850 to March 4, 1853, was the last president to become elected under a party affiliation other than ..... 
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What is the Veterinary Feed Directive?

By Michael Cruse

Mon, Mar 21st, 2016
Posted in All Commentary

Extension Educator for Fillmore and Houston Counties The Veterinary Feed Directive (VFD) has been a hot button topic recently. The veterinary feed directive is an FDA rule that looks to ensure the judicious use of feed medications in livestock. B ..... 
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