"Where Fillmore County News Comes First"
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All I want for Christmas


Mon, Dec 29th, 2014
Posted in All Commentary



In the spirit of making lists and checking them twice, I’ve decided to come up with a list of my own: what I want for Christmas and for the New Year. And what we at Southern Minnesota Initiative Foundation (SMIF) are doing to make this happen.

Part of our mission at SMIF is that all children enter school ready to learn and succeed. However, we know that despite significant strides that have been made in early childhood awareness, 40% of our Minnesota children are still entering kindergarten unprepared. This leads to them falling behind early, and many never catch up. One way that we have found effective in helping children get a solid early foundation in education is by being in a quality Parent Aware rated pre-school. Whether in-home or center-based, child care settings that are Parent Aware rated are working to provide the best possible environment for future development.

SMIF is working through our Quality Child Care Provider program trainings to help more providers get on the track to becoming Parent Aware rated. This is important in our region because the state of Minnesota is significantly increasing early childhood funding - but only for centers/sites that are rated. We want to prepare more child care providers to meet that standard.

Another important item on our SMIF Christmas list this year is broader access to local foods. We’ve invested in several local foods businesses over the past year, as well as playing a role in the FEAST Local Foods Festival and Tradeshow in Rochester. There is a continued interest in the food industry, and we know our region is well-poised to benefit. Our FEAST Festival helped connect sellers with buyers - and we hope to make it an annual event. We also are looking to grow this sector by directing more of our loans and technical assistance to local foods producers and processors.

And lastly, on the list this year is for community leaders and stakeholders to come together to share ideas and learn from one another. We know there are many individuals across our 20 counties who have the passion and expertise to make a difference in our region. What SMIF wants to offer them is the opportunity to do so.

We will soon host a regional gathering with the Blandin Foundation’s alumni network, as well as Southern Minnesota Initiative Foundation’s network from our 24 community foundation boards, our Community Growth Initiative leadership team .....
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Now it’s time to focus on growing the economy

By Lee Hamilton

Mon, Dec 29th, 2014
Posted in All Commentary

Recent economic news has been broadly reassuring. Retail sales are strong, November saw the best job gains in three years, the federal deficit is shrinking, the stock market is robust, and the Fed is expressing enough faith in the economy that an int ..... 
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Guest Commentary: Response to “the true victims of the nanny state: unintended consequences of liberal policies”

By Herb Panko

Mon, Dec 29th, 2014
Posted in All Commentary

What Jeff Erding tries to pass off as a factual rant in his latest article in the FCJ is in actuality largely fiction. It is freighted with all the usual talking points of conservative Right Wingers. For those of you who may have missed his failed ..... 
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What environmentalists really want?

By Dr. Bryan Van Gorp

Mon, Dec 29th, 2014
Posted in All Commentary

Conservation is a conservative value as evidence by the root word. What is the down side of protecting our resources? Our very lives depend on the ecosystem, not to mention the economy, so why wouldn’t we all be environmentalists. The precaut ..... 
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One Moment, Please... What should we expect

Mon, Dec 29th, 2014
Posted in All Commentary

While I support our Freedom of Expression, a cornerstone of our democratic rights, I also encourage good judgment. If we use our Freedom of Expression to create a movie that presents a plot revolving around the idea of two Americans assassinatin ..... 
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To you and yours

Mon, Dec 22nd, 2014
Posted in All Commentary

Season’s Greetings, everyone. Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, Glad Kwanzaa, and so on. This has been a strange and eventful year for me and mine, and possibly an even stranger and more eventful one for our country at large and the world. Even a ..... 
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Still time to get your influenza vaccine

Mon, Dec 15th, 2014
Posted in All Commentary

“Now is a great time to get your flu vaccine...there is still time (for people) to protect themselves against influenza and you are welcome to come to Fillmore County Public Health to get vaccinated,” notes Public Health director Lantha Stevens ..... 
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The true victims of the nanny state: Unintended consequences of liberal policies

By Jeff Erding

Mon, Dec 15th, 2014
Posted in All Commentary

It is an old saying often repeated by conservatives: “The policies of the Radical Left and Secular Progressives always have exactly the opposite of the originally intended effect!” Can that be true? How can actions with good and noble int ..... 
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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 ..... 
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