"Where Fillmore County News Comes First"
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Growth and grassless yards


Fri, Jul 29th, 2011
Posted in Commentary

We were in the midst of the worst heat wave in ten years, forecast to last at least a week. On the first Saturday of this stretch, my husband Art, his sister Susie and I traveled to Minneapolis to visit Art and Susie's brother Bob and his wife Bonnie. As we drove into their neighborhood, we noticed a number of grassless yards filled with flowers, shrubs, trees and vegetables. Bob and Bonnie's yard is also on its way to becoming grassless. They had some standing water due to torrential downpours. On our way to the city, we had also noticed swollen rivers and standing water in agricultural fields.

We were grateful for air conditioning in the oppressive heat, although we stepped outside to see Bonnie's gardens in a backyard that looked cool and inviting. Bonnie told us that grassless yards are becoming more common every year for aesthetic reasons; to provide natural, organic produce; to be kinder to the earth by limiting mowing and chemicals; and to benefit wildlife like birds, butterflies and bees. We talked about the animals, the extinctions of up to 200 species a day resulting from habitat loss, pollution and climate change and discussed the mistreatment of some farm animals confined to feedlots and cages and fed processed food along with antibiotics to make them grow larger.

To lessen their negative impact on the animals and improve their diets, Bob, Bonnie and Susie are joining the increasing number of people who have become vegetarians. Art and I are close behind. We looked at vegetarian cookbooks, tasted Bonnie's homemade non-dairy ice cream and drank rice and almond milk. We had a choice between a meat and a vegetarian pizza. The vegetable pizza disappeared quickly, as did the homegrown raspberries and other fruits.

We talked about budget crises, the Minnesota government shutdown and efforts to raise the national debt ceiling, voicing frustrations with the inability of politicians to compromise. The refusal to raise taxes even a small amount on those who can afford it seems ridiculous to us. What is especially worrisome is with all this petty quarreling that has dire consequences for some, any significant attention to the environment and climate change is lost. Bonnie said she heard that Minnesota will eventually have three months a year of temperatures continuously in the 90s. I read that some scientists feel the planet is now on track to heat up by 29 degrees in the next 80 years. Even if these predictions do not materializ .....
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City mouse, country mouse

Fri, Jul 22nd, 2011
Posted in Commentary

I only recently realized, after living in these lovely hills for five years, that natives saying "they're from the cities" is not just an introduction, it's an inside curse. In these five years I've made many good friends and we have been able to le ..... 
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It's not JUST the budget

Fri, Jul 15th, 2011
Posted in Commentary

As I began to write this commentary for the Journal, the State of Minnesota has been shut down due to failures of the legislative and executive branches to come to an agreement on finances. The reasons for this dilemma could be as simple as the past ..... 
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Progress?

Fri, Jul 15th, 2011
Posted in Commentary

Wow. I did not realize that there are actually people out there who believe it is someone else's responsibility to take care of them. That would certainly not be the case in a Democratic Republic. I thought such people were an invention of Fox News ..... 
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Adherence to "No New Taxes Pledge," a threat to our state and our country

Fri, Jul 8th, 2011
Posted in Commentary

As Minnesotans, we are getting hit with a double whammy of dysfunctional government. The inability of the two major political parties to work in concert causes unnecessary hardship, cost increases, and more inefficiency in government. Politicians ta ..... 
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Guest commentary: Why we need a progressive/liberal American vision

Fri, Jul 8th, 2011
Posted in Commentary

Over the past couple of years we have been bombarded by political attacks from the far right and their fellow Teapublicans blaming our country's ills on liberalism, socialism, big government, and taxation. These are stale, unsupportable arguments th ..... 
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The new "Three R's" needed for a bright future for Minnesota

Fri, Jul 1st, 2011
Posted in Commentary

Legislators and Gov. Mark Dayton have a unique opportunity at this moment to prompt lasting positive changes for our state and position us to be a national leader for decades to come. Despite the rhetoric on both sides, the biggest obstacle facing u ..... 
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The reason we celebrate

Fri, Jul 1st, 2011
Posted in Commentary

"It is not by consolidation or concentration of powers, but by their distribution that good government is effected."

Thomas Jefferson

It has been 235 years since our Founding Fathers signed the Declaration of Independence, which is ou ..... 
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State exports set, first quarter record

Fri, Jul 1st, 2011
Posted in Commentary

ST. PAUL - Minnesota exports of manufactured, agricultural and mining products grew 13 percent in the first quarter from the same period a year ago. According to figures released today by the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Developme ..... 
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