"Where Fillmore County News Comes First"
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Shop Fillmore First


Fri, Dec 1st, 2006
Posted in Commentary

Twenty years ago you used to be able to buy jewelry and clothes and shoes in our small towns in Fillmore County. For the most part, you can't anymore, those specialty stores are gone. You feel fortunate if your town has a grocery store, a hardware store and a pharmacy nowadays. Some towns still offer stores that sell appliances; a few have bakeries.

We are a mobile society and many of us commute to work in Rochester, LaCrosse, and other larger cities, and, often times, where we work is where we shop.

Take a walk down any Main Street in Fillmore County and you will likely see a few empty storefronts, or, where you would have found a retail store twenty years ago, you now find an insurance office or a street-front church.

In many cases, our small town businesses have become more service oriented rather than retail. In retail, the margins can be tight and volume often drives profits.

The Big Box stores have had a tremendous impact on small towns. A shopper can go to Wal-Mart or Target and purchase groceries, shoes, toys, buy their drugs, get flowers and pay for it with an in-store credit card. Some Big Box stores will even fix your car while you shop. Both Wal-Mart and Target recently announced programs to sell generic drugs at $4 for a month's supply, a price below their costs, to lure consumers into their stores. How can our rural drug stores ever compete with that?

According to Stacy Mitchell, author of the Big Box Swindle: The True Cost of Mega-Retailers and the Fight for America's Independent Businesses, Wal-Mart captures one of every 10 dollars consumers spend nationally at retail stores.

Big Box stores have such a command of the marketplace that they can often control the cost of a product at its source. And while this allows Big Box stores to offer the consumer the convenience to shop for variety at a low price, the reality is that they don't pay taxes in my home town nor support my local school.

The Rochester Chamber of Commerce recently announced an initiative to encourage consumers in its city to increase their local purchasing by five percent. This phenomena started back in the '80's in Omaha and Des Moines where farm failures led to depressed economies in the rural heartland. Omaha started a campaign called Buy Big O, which encouraged a range of regional trade focused on keeping dollars in the Nebraska city. Des Moines followed suit.

Iowa State University Economics Professor Dave .....
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So, what exactly is the problem?

Fri, Dec 1st, 2006
Posted in Commentary

Ho-hum. Another dire warning about the impending crises and calamities to be visited on us because of "overpopulation." Let's see, how many unfulfilled warnings does that make in the past century or two? I would guess that Herb Panko's makes somewhe ..... 
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Election hangover: Bipartisanship

Fri, Nov 24th, 2006
Posted in Commentary

"Bipartisanship is another name for date rape" Grover Norquist

For those who are not news and political junkies, Grover Norquist is a Republican guru and activist. His statement above, quoted in the Denver Post, is likely to be taken literall ..... 
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The U.S. impending population crisis

Fri, Nov 17th, 2006
Posted in Commentary

Recently we were informed that the U.S. population had just reached the 300 million mark. The announcement was made by most media outlets with little detectable alarm. It was stated as a matter-of-fact occurrence and supplemented with various popula ..... 
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Coup d' etat

Fri, Nov 10th, 2006
Posted in Commentary

When the people are afraid of the government, that's tyranny. But when the government is afraid of the people, that's liberty. Thomas Jefferson

One warm, sunny, tropical morning in December 1989, I stood in a refugee camp in the Phili ..... 
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"Stay-the-course" is no longer official line on Iraq

Fri, Oct 27th, 2006
Posted in Commentary

A few short weeks before Americans go to the polls, the administration is making a significant policy change on Iraq: the president will no longer use the words stay-the-course.

For several months, the President has used stay-the-course to ..... 
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Gil's running on empty

Fri, Oct 20th, 2006
Posted in Commentary

If you take Gil Gutknecht's latest campaign ad at face value, immigration is the most important issue facing America on November 7. And Gil wants you to believe that Seor Tim Walz is muy soft on border issues and illegal immigrants.

One wou ..... 
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"PIG" as a basis for campaigning

Fri, Oct 13th, 2006
Posted in Commentary

It occurs to me that almost all incumbents rely on "pig". It stands for Pork, Incumbency, and Greed in my political lexicon. When I hear an incumbent running on these "principles" it turns me off quickly. This is true whether it is a local, state, o ..... 
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Bush the Elder

Fri, Sep 22nd, 2006
Posted in Commentary

George Walker Bush, also known as Bush the Younger, Bush the Lesser and Bush the Minor, a Texas cowboy who likes to speak to a "higher father," should not be confused with his real-life dad, George Herbert Walker Bush, the 41st president.

B ..... 
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