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Harvest is a time of thanks


Fri, Oct 28th, 2011
Posted in Commentary

The first Thanksgiving Days were harvest festivals to thank God for plentiful crops and survival. For this reason the holiday still takes place late in the fall, after the crops have been harvested. On this day, people give thanks with feasting and prayer for the blessings they have received during the year.

In Bluff Country, we can be thankful for abundant crops and good neighbors. After the destruction caused by the tornado last May 22, many of us value living in a rural community, and feel far away from problems encountered by urban dwellers. I am thankful that I grew up on a family farm. I feel that all of the success in my life, and in my family is a direct result of growing up in rural Minnesota. I didn't always feel that way, but as I grow older, I know that a good work ethic, good health, a good education, a lot of wide open space, and faith in God are key elements to being happy.

Images of Thanksgiving bounty flow before our eyes at this time of year. But as farmers harvest their crops, and we enter into the winter season, the question is asked: Who reaps most of the profits from this agricultural bounty? America spends about 12 percent of its disposable income on food, much less than other industrialized nations. According to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), of farm costs such as marketing, processing, wholesaling, distribution and retailing account for more than 80 cents of every food dollar spent in the United States. Farmers and ranchers receive only 15.8 cents of every food dollar that consumers spend on food at home and away from home.

The structure of agriculture is changing every year. Farming methods are becoming more efficient with improved equipment and technology, but it is also becoming more expensive. With the high cost of land, fuel and inputs, there is no room for missed opportunities. It will be a careful balance between credit, production and federal farm policy that will keep producers on their land. One of the biggest concerns to farm families and small businesses is affordable health insurance. The premiums for family coverage are astronomical. Many are left with very high deductibles, and are left to deal with limited coverage and paying for everyday medical expenses.

In the years while I was growing up, millions of farm dwellers left the land and sought new lives in towns and cities. Not because that is what they wanted, but because they had no choice. This removal constit .....
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Schools cannot do it alone

Fri, Oct 28th, 2011
Posted in Commentary

Chatfield Elementary School Reading Specialist

The title of this letter is the name of a book by Jamie Vollmer, a self proclaimed critic of public education who also happened to be the key-note speaker at a conference I recently attended. Hi ..... 
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The Great Divide

Fri, Oct 21st, 2011
Posted in Commentary

Campaign season for both parties is definitely underway. It seems they start earlier every time around. Both sides will attempt to define the parameters of the race, but it appears the Democrats have the edge on taking the offensive. President Obama ..... 
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More important things to worry about than manmade climate change

Fri, Oct 14th, 2011
Posted in Commentary

Two earthquakes and their tsunamis have caused upwards of 300,000 deaths over the last few years. Thus reminding us again that the world we live in is violent and dangerous. By the way, the USGS says that 39 states are in active seismic zones.
< ..... 
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One Moment Please... Opportunities to get involved

Fri, Oct 14th, 2011
Posted in Commentary

Cell phone: 507-251-5297

As you navigate today's Journal, you'll notice an abundance of opportunities to get involved - literally something for everybody. Please consider this commentary sort of like one of the "choose your own adventure" bo ..... 
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Creating jobs v. creating wealth

Fri, Oct 7th, 2011
Posted in Commentary

Unless you have been living in a cave the past few years, you know that our country has been in the midst of a giant recession. Unemployment hovers around 9.4 percent with 37 million on food stamps, and politicians ranting and raving to have the gov ..... 
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Campaigns to be flush despite weak economy

Fri, Sep 30th, 2011
Posted in Commentary

Be prepared to be carpet bombed by political ads as never before leading up to the 2012 elections. There are estimates that from $6 to $8 billion will fuel campaigns, with over half of that money funding TV, radio ads, and to a lesser extent, print ..... 
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Lessons from 9/11

Fri, Sep 23rd, 2011
Posted in Commentary

It's been 10 years since 9/11, and we have learned countless lessons since then. Tom Ehrich is a writer, church consultant and Episcopal priest based in New York. He wrote of ten lessons that we should all keep in mind when the naysayers and critics ..... 
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One Moment Please... A lemonade stand

Fri, Sep 23rd, 2011
Posted in Commentary

As the 25th anniversary of our world famous trails approached, I knew this was going to be one of the most significant news events I would cover in 2011. So, I dedicated my weekend to visiting all eight trail towns to capture the essence of how each ..... 
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