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Letter from China


Fri, Oct 29th, 2004
Posted in Features

TANGSHAN, CHINA - Most visitors to China stay in the cities. There are hundreds of modern cities with populations of more than a million, where economic development has raised the standard of living, new construction is a 24 hour a day pursuit, and consumer products are in great abundance. It is easy to overlook the fact that the majority of Chinese people still live in rural villages. The economic boom of the past decade has reached into the rural areas of China, as well, but far less dramatically. In many ways, village life is much the same as it has always been for those who have lived and worked on the fertile soil of the north China plain for the past three or four thousand years.

During the recent mid-Autumn holiday, I was invited by my Beijing friend Song Jundong to visit his family in Song village near the city of Tangshan in Hebei Province. It didnt take me long to agree to his proposal. I had met his family once before, visiting them about two years ago, and looked forward to renewing our acquaintance and getting into the countryside again. Its the equivalent of returning to visit Fillmore County for those who may have left home for a career in the Twin Cities. I just wanted to see some cows and walk the open fields again.

I once asked Song about the name of the village, which is the same as his family name. Did that mean that his family was important and the village was named after an ancestor? He told me that many of the people in the village shared the same surname. As for the importance of the name, There was a Song Dynasty, once, he added with a smile. I left it at that.

The first leg of the journey was by bus, two hours from Beijing to Tangshan. Then we searched for a taxi to carry us the final half hour to the village. It isnt always easy to find a driver who will go there, because the journey involves passing through three other villages, and the roads are not so good. But Song soon found a willing driver and negotiated a price of 30 Yuan (a little less than US $4). On the outskirts of the city, we turned off the concrete highway unto a narrower hard surfaced road, which soon gave way to a bumpy graveled lane.

Songs village is a collection of traditional tile roofed brick houses, each facing an enclosed courtyard about the size of an average front yard in small town Minnesota. The houses are mostly three rooms, abut one another and share a co .....
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Civility wins in Hanson - Davids debate

Fri, Oct 29th, 2004
Posted in Features

RUSHFORD - There may not have been a clear winner in last Wednesdays debate between State Representative candidate Peggy Hanson and her opponent, the incumbent Greg Davids, but the whole event could be considered a victory for civility.
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Editorial: County Board needs to say No on Heartland JOBZ

Fri, Oct 29th, 2004
Posted in Features

Perhaps we should call ourselves lucky that Preston native Bob Maust has chosen to bestow his hometown with the benevolence of his good intentions. A real life Sugar Daddy, one might say.

Heartland, will bring good paying jo ..... 
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Fillmore County District Court: Former Lanesboro teacher faces felony theft charges

Fri, Oct 29th, 2004
Posted in Features

Criminal theft charges were filed in Fillmore County District Court on Monday, October 25, against Vernon Wayne Groen, 56, of Lanesboro for misuse of funds from an FFA account at the Lanesboro Public Schools. Groen is former teacher at the school.[Read the Rest]

A Lesson in Intolerance

Fri, Oct 29th, 2004
Posted in Features

The history of our United States is a rich trove of information on human nature. We rarely teach our complete history in our public schools, choosing instead to feed ourselves a fairy-tale, sanitized version, with shining heroes and great achievement ..... 
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Commissioners Report: Citizen voices heard on Heartland about JOBZ

Fri, Oct 29th, 2004
Posted in Features

Citizens took the opportunity on this last County Board meeting in October to voice their concerns and objections to the awarding of JOBZ to Heartland Energy and Recycling.

Fran Sauer requested that the Board carefully consider ..... 
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County EDA recommends acceptance of Heartland pre-application

Fri, Oct 29th, 2004
Posted in Features

The pre-application from Heartland Energy and Recycling for a business subsidy moved one step closer to approval on Wednesday, October 27, when the Fillmore County EDA voted to accept a full application from the tire burning plant. The matter now goe ..... 
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Rushford City Council Report: Bartelson resigns effective December 31

Fri, Oct 29th, 2004
Posted in Features

Larry Bartelson, Rushford City Administrator, officially resigned from his position at the Rushford City Council meeting Monday, October 25. Bartelson said he was resigning for personal reasons effective at the end of the calendar year, December 31 ..... 
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Fillmore Central School Board: District accepts MnDOT offer on sale of land for Hwy 52

Fri, Oct 29th, 2004
Posted in Features

The Fillmore Central School Board, at its Tuesday, October 26 meeting, accepted an offer to sell 3 - 1/3 acres of land near the school complex in Preston to the state of Minnesota for the Highway 52 project.

The district will re ..... 
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