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Make weatherization plans for winter now


Fri, Jun 19th, 2009
Posted in Commentary

Planning to make your home more energy efficient for winter is probably not on the top of your agenda for things to do in June. This is a time for leaving windows open over night to let the cool air in, allowing us to wake to a cacophony of birdsongs and cows bawling or dogs barking. However, planning and getting the improvements installed takes time and winter is inevitable and back all too soon.

Low cost energy sources to heat a home are a thing of the past. A leaky home drives up energy bills and wastes fuel. When my husband and I started out many years ago, we lived in a house where we often joked about the inside "wind-chill" (with the windows closed) as the curtains billowed from the wind. This is not a practical option anymore and not a joking matter. We need to think ahead and make those improvements necessary to save on our energy bills. The greatest energy waste in homes, especially older homes, is the lack of insulation and air leakage.

Fixes, including sufficient attic and exterior insulation, weather stripping, energy efficient windows and doors and an efficient heating unit, will pay for themselves over a period of years. If you can't afford the up front cost for a home evaluation for energy efficiency and the cost of improvements, you may qualify for programs through the Department of Energy (DOE) to make the improvements a reality.

The Weatherization Assistance Program (WAP) funded through DOE was designed to offer monies for energy conservation improvements to households who are at or below 50% of the state medium income. Households with elderly, disabled or the highest heating costs are given priority. To get an application for Energy Assistance through Semcac, the local provider, call 1-800-944-3281. WAP allows low income families to permanently reduce their energy bills with a more energy efficient home. Homeowners and renters eligible for the Energy Assistance Program (EAP), which offers financial assistance to pay heating bills, are income eligible for WAP.

The average investment across the nation with WAP is $6,500 for an energy upgrade. The government estimates that participants could reduce their energy bills by 32%. On March 12, 2009, the federal government announced that $8 billion would be made available for weatherization funding and energy efficiency grants. Three billion of the 8 billion is targeted for the State Energy Program.

Through Semcac the WAP services include participant educ .....
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Wild Ethics

Fri, May 29th, 2009
Posted in Commentary



The cyclist, earphones in his ears, zooms by me, looking neither right or left, intent on speed and endurance and I wonder why he bothers to bike on this section of the Harmony / Preston Trail that runs along Camp Creek where fish swim and ..... 
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A religious conversion: I don't think so

Fri, May 29th, 2009
Posted in Commentary



This week the American Health Insurance Plans organization (insurance trade organization), along with 5 other health care groups, notified the administration they were on board for healthcare reform. The one caveat they have notified the adm ..... 
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One Moment, Please...

Fri, May 29th, 2009
Posted in Commentary

As I indicated shortly after my wife and I purchased the newspaper on February 2, 2009, this is YOUR newspaper.

Last Monday, May 25, I opted to publish a commentary piece at the request of Art Callanan, a resident of Preston and long-time Jo ..... 
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Pawlenty and Legislature fail to best serve the people

Fri, May 22nd, 2009
Posted in Commentary

Sadly, the Republican governor and the DFL-led legislature were unable to compromise and play "let's make a deal" and do what is in the state's best interest as their session ended on May 18th at midnight. Pawlenty had given the legislature an ultim ..... 
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Foxes in the hen house

Fri, May 22nd, 2009
Posted in Commentary



The foxes are not just in the hen house they want to build the next hen house complete with an easily breached fence. The American Health Insurance Plans, the American Medical Society, PHARMA and other healthcare organizations that have pros ..... 
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It costs too much

Fri, May 15th, 2009
Posted in Commentary



The conventional wisdom is that now is the time for healthcare reform. Of course, the Republicans are saying we cannot do it now because of the economic crisis. We couldn't do it before because of the economic boom and anyone that wanted to ..... 
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One moment, please...

Fri, May 15th, 2009
Posted in Commentary



It's not often that we'll have two editorial cartoons on these fashionably sequenced pages, but today is a special treat.

OK, let's not get carried away. Just relax and keep the excitement to yourself.

The reason for two too ..... 
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One moment, please...

Fri, May 8th, 2009
Posted in Commentary



Remember SARS or the West Nile Virus? Ah, those were the good old days.

Back when viruses left food sources alone.

Throughout my 15 years in the media business, it will never cease to amaze me how the national media feasts on ..... 
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