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Open Forum

Minnesota Newspaper Week Whiteout August 13-19, 2017

This week, more than 200 newspapers across the State of Minnesota will publish no news on their front pages. This “Whiteout” is taking place during Minnesota Newspaper Week, August 13-19, a part of the Minnesota Newspaper Association’s yearlong celebration of its 150th Anniversary. The Whiteout reminds Minnesotans of the important role that newspapers play, writing the first draft of history and telling the stories of their communities.

“In many communities across the State of Minnesota, the newspaper is the main source of local news,” said MNA Executive Director Lisa Hills. “Newspaper journalists across the state attend city council and school board meetings, they cover town festivals and local sports teams, and they arrive on the scene to document history during natural disasters and other community challenges. We know newspapers play an important role.”

Today, 25 daily and 295 non-daily newspapers, from Worthington to Warroad, Bird Island to Baudette, Elbow Lake to Ely and every community in between, belong to the Minnesota Newspaper Association.

“Minnesota Newspaper Week is a statewide initiative that reminds individuals of the importance of a free press,” reads Governor Mark Dayton’s proclamation. “Freedom of the Press promotes a well-informed constituency, improves public policy, increases responsiveness and accountability, and enhances public confidence in  governmental institutions.”

Minnesotans agree that newspapers play a vital role in the state. MNA’s member newspapers have a total circulation of more than 2.2 million each week. A 2014 Scarborough readership survey found that 89 percent of Minnesotans accessed a newspaper in print and/or digital format in the past month. Minnesotans of all ages read Minnesota newspapers in print and online. It’s no wonder that in a state where many read their local newspaper, the population is also civic-minded and involved in activities like voting in local elections. According to state officials, more than 81 percent of registered Minnesota voters cast ballots in the November 2016 election. That’s just under 75 percent of eligible Minnesotans.

“We are proud to support Minnesota’s vibrant newspaper industry and look forward to being here for the next 150 years,” said Hills.

About the Minnesota Newspaper Association
The Minnesota Newspaper Association (MNA) is the voluntary trade association of all general-interest newspapers in the State of Minnesota, acting on behalf of the newspaper press of the state, representing its members in the legislature and in court, managing local/regional/national newspaper advertising placement, operating a press release service, and working to enhance the quality of the state’s newspapers.

Supporting a Free Press

By Senator Amy Klobuchar

In Minnesota, we understand the importance of a free press. It’s hard to forget in our state – Minnesotans are among the most engaged citizens in the country. Last year we again ranked first in the nation in voter turnout. Minnesotans volunteer at the second highest rate in the country. And we usually look to our local newspapers as the first stop for the information we need.

In my house growing up, it was impossible to forget the importance of a free press. My dad was a journalist.

As a reporter and a columnist, my dad, Jim Klobuchar, covered it all. On the night of the presidential election in 1960, as a young stringer for the Associated Press, he was among the first in the country - if not the first - to call the race for President John F. Kennedy. He was fearless, whether it was reporting from Moscow with a Soviet Intourist guide assigned to him at all times or taking tear gas covering protests outside of a political convention. Digging for the truth was his job. Finding the truth made it all worth it.

From children with cancer to Minnesota veterans, he covered the stories of every day heroes, too. He believed that all stories needed to be told, and that by sharing these stories, we deepen our understanding of one another and become more united as a country.

So, from a very young age, I understood the important role the press has played in our democracy. And today, I understand a free press is as important as ever.

Minnesota reporters have been on the frontlines of major stories since the founding of our first newspaper in 1849. They’ve covered good times and bad. From enlisting with the Union in the Civil War, as Hastings Democrat publisher Charles P. Adams did in 1861, to tireless investigating and reporting on the abduction of Jacob Wetterling, Minnesota journalists have always been committed to telling our stories.

Over the past few months, we have heard about “alternative facts.” We have heard an Administration official suggest that the press should “keep its mouth shut.” And we have even seen efforts to limit journalists’ access to elected officials.

None of this is acceptable.

Our founders enshrined freedom of the press in our Constitution for a reason. Thomas Jefferson said that our first objective as a nation should be to leave open “all avenues to truth,” and that the most effective way of doing that is through “the freedom of the press.”

Today, Minnesota reporters continue their dogged pursuit of the truth day after day, story after story. That reporting is on display all across Minnesota, and the Minnesota Newspaper Association has played a big part in supporting Minnesota reporters for 150 years now. From Deborah Howell, who oversaw the Pioneer Press’s first Pulitzer Prize, to Mark Kellogg, the first Associated Press reporter to die in the line of duty, reporters all across our state are carrying forward a remarkable legacy.

I’m determined to protect journalists and defend freedom of the press. My dad expects me to. The oath I took to “support and defend the Constitution” demands that I do.

Ac-cent-tchu-ate the Positive

Letter to the Editor

In 1944, Bing Crosby introduced this song, which today undoubtedly would not be considered politically correct , but with a little tongue in cheek, just sing along.

You’ve got to ac-cent-tchu-ate the positive illuminate the negative , latch on to the affirmative. Don’t mess with Mr-In-Between. You’ve got to spread joy up to the maximum. Have faith or pan-de-mon-ni-um. Li’lble to walk upon the scene. To illustrate my last remark, Jonah in the whale, Noah in the ark, What did they do, Just when everything looked so dark? “Man”, they said, we better ac-cent-tchu-ate the positive, eliminate the ne-ga-tive, latch on the affirmative, and don't mess with Mr-In-Between.

Good thought... right? Because it seems everyday 95% of the media along with too many members of both parties are out of tune with the majority of Americans and are wallowing in the ne-ga-tive. Nothing positive about Pres. Trump’s accomplishments (in fact according to the media and everyone and their brother there aren’t any). Instead it’s constant investigations and putting the president under a microscope 24/7 while the crimes of Hillary Clinton have gone off the radar. So, we’ll just have to ac-cent-tchu-ate the positive, latch on to the affirmative and don’t mess with Mr-In-Between. Won’t be easy, but all we can do is pray this nation will straighten itself out, put God before government because when ever someone from the government comes around and says, “We are from the government and are here to help”, look out, because we are then in deep trouble. God Bless America.

Dolores Zaske
Pine River, MN

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City of Emily seeks community input for a Parks, Trail and Open Space Plan

Letter to the Editor

The City of Emily is developing its first Parks, Trail and Open Space Plan and is seeking community input to help create community-developed goals and aspirations to guide future planning efforts.

The City of Emily’s Parks, Trails and Open Space Plan will be a tool used to provide direction for the City Council, the Park Board, and city staff to guide them in decision making that will impact the park, trail and open space system. This plan will provide guidance and direction based on the community’s expressed needs and desires, as well as analysis of future trends, demographic changes, and the existing park, trail and open space network in Emily.

In May, a steering committee appointed by the city meet to begin the planning process. The role of the steering committee is to collaborate with and involve stakeholders to ensure that community aspirations and concerns are understood, considered, and reflected in the plan.

The survey will be available online through the city’s website, http://www.cityofemily.com until August 11, close of business day. This survey will provide you an opportunity to provide input to the process. If you would like to fill out a paper copy, please stop by City Hall and ask for a survey at the clerk’s office. They can be returned to the clerk’s office once completed, or placed in the city’s bill box after hours.

For questions regarding the plan’s process and purpose, contact Darrin Welle, Zoning Administrator, at the City of Emily at zoning@emily.net.

Darrin Welle,
Zoning Administrator

Term limits

Letter to the Editor

While watching the news lately, there has been a fight going on about petitions being added to the ballot for a minimum wage of $15.00 an hour. Now, I have my own feelings about that issue, but it brought to mind an issue that people have brought up time and time again in normal political discussion. Term Limits! I think people should get on the bus and talk more about this issue, possibly start a petition about term limits. Let’s get this on the ballot and see what people think! Some of our politicians have been in office way too long. It seems that they are doing more for themselves then for us, the people they represent. They have voted themselves raises, better hospitalization, life long pensions after only one term, which the normal person could never achieve, all at the taxpayer’s expense. I think the time has come to stand together and see some of these represenitives go. Voting along party lines, (gridlock) is not the answer to getting anything done. None of them can work together. It is time for a change in the way politics are done. This is not only for Minnesota, but for all States.

George Pepek, Emily MN

League honors Sen. Carrie Ruud as a 2017 Legislator of Distinction

The League of Minnesota Cities has selected 32 state lawmakers, including Senator Carrie Ruud, as Legislators of Distinction for 2017. The honor recognizes legislators for specific actions that aided efforts of Minnesota cities during the past year’s legislative session.

Legislators of Distinction are approved annually by the League’s Board of Directors to recognize that in order to successfully serve shared communities, state and city officials must work together to meet the unique needs of rural, suburban and urban residents all across Minnesota.

To be eligible for the Legislator of Distinction honor, legislators must achieve one or more of the following criteria: be generally and reasonably accessible to League representatives, seek input on issues of importance to cities, listen to League concerns and be receptive to League-provided information on issues, sponsor and/or support League initiatives, speak out on behalf of the interest of cities, and/or work to demonstrate the importance of partnership between the state and cities.

Sen. Ruud used her position as a chair of the Senate Environment and Natural Resources Policy and Legacy Finance Committee to lead efforts to give cities the tools they need to be successful in protecting Minnesota’s environmental resources. She was the lead Senate author of successful League-supported legislation making it easier for cities to have projects that reuse stormwater, instead of it just running out to local lakes and rivers. Sen. Ruud also authored legislation to provide city wastewater treatment facilities with assurance that once they improve their facility to meet new environmental standards, they will not need to rebuild until they have been able to pay off a reasonable portion of the debt they incurred. Sen. Ruud and her staff were readily available to discuss city concerns and priorities with League staff throughout the legislative session.

Recipients of the recognition received a letter of appreciation and a certificate. Additionally, a copy of the Legislator of Distinction acknowledgement letter was sent to the mayor of each city in the district of each award winner. A complete list of all Legislators of Distinction can be found at http://www.lmc.org/lod.

The League of Minnesota Cities is a membership organization dedicated to helping cities throughout Minnesota build quality communities through effective advocacy, expert analysis, trusted guidance, and collective action. The League serves its more than 830 members through advocacy, education and training, policy development, risk management, and other services. For more information, visit www.lmc.org.

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