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The road less traveled


Fri, Dec 2nd, 2005
Posted in Commentary

When I used to travel into the remote areas of southwest China in the 90s, it was common to meet villagers who would donate one day per month to work on public projects. In mountainous Yunnan Province, villagers would set off with their hoes, shovels and other odd implements to repair a road, unclog a drainage ditch or repair a cistern at a watering hole. The people took pride in this communal labor and, in areas where resources were tight, it might be the only way the work got done.

Well, the thought has occurred to me lately that this might be the only way we get Hwy 52 between Highway 16 East and West open this year - put out a call for able-bodied men and women to give a day of labor painting stripes and pounding in fence posts.

Much of the new highway has sat idle waiting for signage, paint striping and other odds and ends to be done. On the section between County Road 12 near Preston and Hwy 16 East near Preston Equipment, almost nothing has been done the past few weeks, apart for some landscaping.

Rumors abound of course:

•The signs are back-ordered two weeks, or is it three? (The contractor supposedly forgot to order signs).

•They can’t paint stripes because it has to be 58 degrees, or is it 40? (They will put down temporary stripes and re-do them in the spring).

•The road is closed unless you’re local. (Which means that if you consider yourself local you have been using the road for some time now anyway).

This would all be funny, if it weren’t for the inconvenience these delays are causing the public. It has been very costly to businesses along the Hwy 52 corridor who have dealt with detours for the past six months. And now with the holidays coming they must continue to wait for the road to officially open.

Especially hurt are those business located between Hwy 16 West and Fountain who will have to endure a second year of construction next year as the project fell far short of completion. The decision to go from Preston to Fountain this year was the wrong one, something most old timers could have predicted. According to MnDOT, Ulland Brothers, the contractor on the project, faces up to $5000 a day in fines next spring, once the weight limits are lifted, for each day the project isn’t finished.

But the most frustrating part about the delays has been .....
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Minnesota needs strong state policy for renewable energy

Tue, Nov 29th, 2005
Posted in Commentary

On November 15 The Department of Commerce came to Preston Minnesota and proclaimed Minnesota as “America’s Clean Energy Capital”, but they did not provide you with the entire story. Minnesota currently only generates about 3% from renewables like win ..... 
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Our leaders have failed our country on Iraq

Fri, Nov 25th, 2005
Posted in Commentary

Dick Cheney said his critic’s comments were “reprehensible;” President Bush called them “irresponsible.”

Somehow those words coming from these two men remind me of those Phillip Morris commercials where the tobacco company give ..... 
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Rural schools face a critical future

Fri, Nov 11th, 2005
Posted in Commentary

The recently concluded election highlights the problems the state faces in funding education. On Tuesday, more than 80 school districts throughout Minnesota put levy referendums to their voters; another 26 districts had bond referendums. This include ..... 
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It’s time to investigate the Vice-President’s office

Fri, Nov 4th, 2005
Posted in Commentary

President George Bush did the only sensible thing he could do in the aftermath of the latest debacle to hit his administration, he nominated Samuel Alito to replace Justice Sandra Day O’Connor on the Supreme Court. What better way to steal the front ..... 
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Hearts and Minds

Fri, Oct 7th, 2005
Posted in Commentary

The only people still supporting President Bush today are those stalwart troops hanging around the bunker - flat-earth Christians, Orange County conservatives, and the uber-rich who have come to expect unfettered access to the low-hanging fruit. Thes ..... 
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Compassionate incompetence

Fri, Sep 16th, 2005
Posted in Commentary

Ah, yes, compassion.    I will give the benefit of the doubt (reluctantly) that George Bush and his administration wanted to act, that they felt some sense of duty to respond to their fellow citizens struggling in the gloom o ..... 
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Déja vu all over again

Fri, Sep 2nd, 2005
Posted in Commentary

This has been the summer of the Hollywood remake. “The Longest Yard,” “The Bad News Bears,” and “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory” are all movies with old story lines re-made with new actors and faux glitz and sold to an unsuspecting public as new e ..... 
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A case for Intelligent Design

Fri, Aug 26th, 2005
Posted in Commentary

There are some common misperceptions about the Intelligent Design (ID) theory. It is not an attempt to prove the validity of scripture. Moreover, it doesn’t even have a particularly religious basis.  Historically, the questio ..... 
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