Opinions

Wed
24
Dec
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Stern's Side of the Story: Merry Christmas, my friends!

By Ed Stern

My, my, doesn’t the time go quickly! Here it is, Christmas Eve already! And some of us are still shopping! But, I can honestly say that this has been a great Christmas season already.

Most of the TV and radio people are already saying “Season’s Greetings” or “Happy Holidays” for fear of offending anyone. I see some carolers from a nearby high school were kicked out of Walmart, with the threat of police intervention if they didn’t leave in an orderly fashion, and some stores have beefed up security to prevent shoplifters from forcing them to raise prices again!  Oh, what a joyous feeling this brings to my heart!

But, look on the bright side...(I didn’t say these things to get you upset. I am just pointing out the facts as we are forced to see them every day. Kind of like listening to Simon and Garfunkel sing “7:00 News/Silent Night.” This is how life is!)

Wed
24
Dec
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Publisher's Notebook: Santa Pete's Christmas message

By Peter Grimsrud

Some things you don’t see every day in Zumbrota are a black Jesus Christ, a black Santa Claus, or a black police officer. I saw the latter issuing a ticket on Main Street, Zumbrota this week. Diversity of beliefs and ethnicity sometimes take a little longer to reach rural areas and are glaringly noticeable when they do.

The show Seinfeld once had an episode in which everyone said, “not that there’s anything wrong with that” after making any comment about gays. This was a way of qualifying their comments so they wouldn’t make others uncomfortable or be accused of being homophobic or close-minded.

One school of thought to achieve normalcy from difference is to openly recognize change. The other is to ignore the change until it becomes normal, because it might be considered insensitive and rude to do otherwise.

Wed
24
Dec
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From Devil's Kitchen: Background

By Jan David Fisher

If you had a job you needed done and you decided to hire someone to do it, you would define the skills that person would definitely need.  You might also define some optional skills that the person might need.  One skill, charisma, is a two-edged sword.  Charisma is that ability to convince you that you need the person who has it.  If you agree, you can wait forever for any other skill to actually do the job you wanted done.

Wed
17
Dec
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Letters to the Editor – December 17, 2014

To the Editor:

The ZipRail Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/ziprail) carried a posting dated 11/25/14: “As the Rochester-Twin Cities Passenger Rail Corridor Project (Zip Rail) enters the Tier 1 EIS process, additional representation from along the identified corridors will be required. We also heard from the public who have expressed interest in becoming more involved in the project in an advisory capacity. To accomplish these needs, the project Technical Advisory Committee (TAC) will be expanded to add representation from additional communities along the corridors, and a Citizen Advisory Committee (CAC) will be formed to involve citizen representatives in the Zip Rail Tier 1 EIS process. Additional information regarding membership on these advisory groups will be provided in the coming weeks.

Wed
17
Dec
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From Devil's Kitchen: Accountability

By Jan David Fisher

Accountability is a nice big word that everyone is impressed by and thinks they want.  Let’s consider the police departments around the country. We should include the local, the county, state, and national law enforcement groups, all of them. Who should they be directly accountable to?  

I suggest that it isn’t you or me. Monitoring any one law enforcement group is a full-time job. For instance, when you are reading the newspaper, do you read the police report column every time it is printed? Or do you casually glance at it once in a while? If you are really interested in what the police and other law enforcement groups are doing on a daily basis, are you prepared to watch hours of videos to see if they responded correctly?  It certainly isn’t Reverend Al Sharpton who is too busy destroying community relations across the country.  It also won’t be the mayor of New York City, who is too busy being mayor.

Wed
10
Dec
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Letters to the Editor – December 10, 2014

Creative solutions for rural roads

To the Editor:

The opening of the new interchange at Highway 52 and Goodhue County Road 9 is certainly cause for celebration. Those of us who travel the corridor on a regular basis know how dangerous that area has been.  Virtually all residents of southeastern Minnesota will be served by this much needed infrastructure improvement.

While there has been plenty of credit to be shared – and rightfully so – I can’t get over the simple question:  what took so long? And just as important: why did an appropriate solution come about only after multiple design iterations and an exhaustingly desperate appeal to MnDOT from area residents and elected officials?   

Wed
10
Dec
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From Devil's Kitchen: Alternatives

By Jan David Fisher

Now we have Ferguson, Missouri, and New York City, New York, with unarmed black men who were killed by police. I am making the following suggestion.  I have tried this several times and it has defused a tense situation every time. I haven’t tried full violence but I can understand the police reaction. My suggestion is simple. Be peaceful, do not resist. Be aware of where you are and who is with you. Think beyond your anger.

Ask yourself this question: “What do the police expect you to do?”  This is not really a racial question, even though current times have made it one. They train intensely so that they react automatically and without thinking to the situation. If you do what isn’t expected, you force them to stop and think. Then the situation is defused. You may still get a traffic ticket, but how the environment of the ticket is marked may change.

Wed
10
Dec
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Publisher's Notebook: Future of the "zip road" is here

By Peter Grimsrud

I know Cannon Falls residents who were upset when the Elk Run Highway 52 interchange was built before one at the stoplights in Cannon Falls. Safety was a legitimate concern at the Cannon Falls interchanges. Crossing both lanes, even with safety lights, was costing lives. 

Highway 52 is becoming a limited-access highway on which cars are traveling at ever-faster speeds. Anyone who has driven on Interstate 35 knows that access is very limited even between interchanges. And an overpass does not mean that a driver will have access on or off the interstate.

The old adage “Be careful what you wish for” is true for Cannon Falls business owners, who are now petitioning the state to reconstruct exit lanes where they were recently removed. The new interchange is so far removed from the old access that businesses have lost as much as three-quarters of their business.

Wed
03
Dec
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Letters to the Editor – December 3, 2014

Find out where your contributions are going

To the Editor:

All veterans, especially those who have experienced combat, and even more so, those wounded or who gave their lives in combat, are deserving of all the public and private support available to meet their hardship needs. Many are yet in dire straits along with their families. Their plight tugs at our heart strings.

Yet, there is a class of gutter livers who take advantage of them and the sacrifices they made. The advantage-taking would include us, as well (although I, too, am a veteran). In that category you will find groups such as the Wounded Warrior Project. Mass mailed fund raising appeals have recently appeared in many of our mailboxes. Other organizations like them abound, including some tying themselves to police and peace officers.

Wed
03
Dec
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From Devil's Kitchen: Destroyers

By Jan David Fisher

What is the real, true story about what happened in Ferguson, Missouri, and will we ever know? What are some of the root causes driving the violence? I believe we can find some of the answers in ethnic and racial histories. Why have some groups become “bad” and others successful?

When the Jews from northern Europe came to the USA, they found two or three points of familiarity. The Jews inhabited their own neighborhoods, but they found work or started businesses outside that neighborhood. Since the Jews came in waves, the early arrivals helped smooth the way for the newcomers with community loans.  They also found prejudice and hate followed them from Europe.  They basically ignored the hate and went to work.

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