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Nature’s Toys


Fri, Dec 16th, 2005
Posted in Commentary

At this time of the year, when people labor over their Christmas lists, I think looking into your heart and asking what is really important you find that being together and sharing should be at the top of your list.

This collection began as I watched Hunter, my 2-year old grandson delight in a spring puddle. In summer he discovered a hole. Fall brought leaves. Winter gave the gift of snow.

Puddles

One Saturday spring morning, Hunter, his mom and I went to a garage sale to look for clothes and toys. As his mom checked out the stuff I watched Hunter’s eyes catch sight of a very big and dirty puddle.

It had rained the previous night and the driveway entrance was a covered with an enticing collection of sticks, plastic things, pebbles, mud and rainwater.

Hunter looked up at me with wide eyes and in a soft pleading voice asked, “Can I go in?”

I shook my head, “No, you’ll get cold and wet.”

While surveying the contents of the garage, I kept my eyes on Hunter. He poked at the water with a stick and with one quick splash the stick became a paddle. Then he pounded the stick as hard as he could and made a very big splash. Giggling, his eyes darted to mine and I unconvincingly shook my head and assumed the I-don’t-think-so-face. My stern look didn’t phase him. His joy was infective and I couldn’t help but smile.

Hunter let out a big groan as he watched his stick float away. Reaching to grab it his shoe toe entered the water. The temptation was clear. The stick was pulling him into the puddle. Hunter grabbed at the stick as I glanced over to the piles of stuff on the tables. I knew I’d find dry socks and pants there.

As one of Hunter’s Nursery School friends approached, he looked hopefully at Hunter and the puddle, but his parents maintained control. Hunter did his very best to urge others to join in his fun. With a bottle top placed carefully on top of his stick he made a boat. He found little stones and took careful aim at the puddle’s center. His stick became a shovel used to push mud around. Then it became a scoop for a plastic ring. He splashed. He played. Some adults smiled. Some shook their heads.

Hunter was having fun. He laughed. He giggled. His shoes, socks and pant legs were very wet. Slowly he circled the puddle, paused, obviously ma .....
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Minnesota school funding falls $1 billion short

Fri, Dec 9th, 2005
Posted in Commentary

Financial experts announced last week that based upon the educational resources needed to meet federal law and state standards for student achievement, Minnesota schools are underfunded by nearly $1 billion annually.

The study, ..... 
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We can’t wait much longer to fix Congress

Fri, Dec 9th, 2005
Posted in Commentary

I am a great fan of Congress. It is, to my mind, the American institution that best represents our democracy and guards our freedoms.  Without it, there is no way for our nation to guarantee freedom, ensure that the passions ..... 
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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 ..... 
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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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