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99 bottles of beer in the ditch


Fri, Apr 6th, 2007
Posted in Commentary



Ahhh...must be spring in the Root River Valley...flood warnings, chocolate brown water cascading over the Lanesboro Dam, and beer cans leaving a trail in the ditch as if I were Gretel following them home. And by the way, on my last count the actual number was 256 beer cans, pop bottles, plastic bags, paper, and Styrofoam containers in the ditch. Now I realize that the snow has just gone out and there has always been the understanding that melting snow reveals a treasure trove of items. But folks, we only had snow for about two months - surly, not enough time to trap that much junk under the snow and why is it that we expect any litter to begin with?

When I conclude most of my classes at Eagle Bluff, I like to end with a short discussion on what we as individuals and as a society can do in regard to whatever topic we have just covered...how to maintain healthy animal populations, how to ensure water quality, how to reduce waste. Inevitably, a child will always say "Don't litter" whether truly relevant to the topic or not. I really can't blame them because "don't litter" is the message that has been told to us since the days of Woodsy Owl. Anti-littering slogans are the longest running environmental messages ever. "Give a hoot, don't pollute." "Don't mess with Texas." Iron Eyes Cody, the "Crying Indian" It's obvious that we all know what to do with our garbage, right. Right?

According to statistics from the Minnesota Department of Transportation, 55% of littering is done intentionally with the other 45% blowing out of our vehicles as we drive. Cigarette butts and plastic bags are the most littered items; however, food and beverage packaging as a whole accounts for 51% of all roadside litter. Even though cigarette butts seem like just paper and tobacco, according to the same research, it takes up to five years for that cigarette butt to decompose and another 495 for an aluminum can. http://www.dot.state.mn.us/adopt/facts.html

The message I get from these statistics, however, is there is no blame to be placed solely on smokers or shoppers or people who love fast food. What the statistics reinforce is that we all cannot be complacent. There is still relevance to those messages we have heard so long. Summer is fast approaching, and this past summer was the first summer it seemed we saw tourists blatantly littering and behaving poorly on the river; however, we all have a part to play in keeping clean the places that we love, earn .....
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Who was the real fool on April 1?

Fri, Mar 30th, 2007
Posted in Commentary

Last week as I was checking my emails I came across an article The Old Farmer's Almanac had sent dealing with April Fools' Day. Reading the article, I was instantly transported back nearly 50 years ago when I was a pre-schooler playing on the sidewa ..... 
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In New Orleans, injustice and disaster team up to make recovery difficult

Fri, Mar 23rd, 2007
Posted in Commentary

Editor's note: The author spent a week in February as a volunteer working with the Unitarian Universalist Service Committee (UUSC), a non-governmental organization, working with disenfranchised populations in New Orleans.



"A societ ..... 
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Politicians and scientists should try a loveless marriage

Fri, Mar 9th, 2007
Posted in Commentary

The current administration has been, according to observers grounded in science, the most hostile and dismissive administration toward science and scientists ever. The Union of Concerned Scientists has catalogued the egregious episodes of ideologica ..... 
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It's time for Cheney to resign

Fri, Mar 9th, 2007
Posted in Commentary

It is time for Dick Cheney to resign his post and stand down as vice president. He is not fit to serve as the second highest official in the land, a mere heartbeat away from the presidency.

The trial of Cheney's chief of staff Lewis "Scooter ..... 
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Common Ground

Fri, Feb 23rd, 2007
Posted in Commentary



Let's face it - right now on the issue of global warming - there is going to be disagreement. There are people who don't believe that it is happening or that it is caused by human activity and there are the people who agree that global warmi ..... 
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The pause that refreshes *

Fri, Feb 16th, 2007
Posted in Commentary

Our Root River has put up with a lot. One hundred and forty years ago when my great grandfather settled here, he perched a log cabin on the river's edge and built a mill. We've not let the river alone since: we've straightened it then twisted it, dr ..... 
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A flower has more rights than a landowner

Fri, Feb 16th, 2007
Posted in Commentary

I am one of two property owners who has not agreed to sell my land for the Forestville Trail.

On Tuesday night, the Preston City Council may begin discussing whether to use eminent domain to acquire 2 1/2 acres that I own five miles away fr ..... 
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Daylight savings saves more than just daylight

Fri, Feb 16th, 2007
Posted in Commentary

Microsoft Corp. software gurus (or geeks, as many people refer to them as) have been doing a little hand-wringing as the monumental date March 11, 2007 draws nigh. "Y2K07," as March 11 has been referred to, is the new date the federal government has ..... 
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