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Open Forum

Wealth isn't created by moving paper around

Letter to the Editor

Some economist stated recently that by definition capitalism requires that some people will get left behind. I don’t remember his name; it wasn't until I'd had time to think about his comment that I realized the importance of what he'd said.

When I was young, I asked an economist, "Why don't we just make everyone rich? Just print more money, spread it around, and make everyone a millionaire." He answered that if we did that, money would lose it's value, and we'd be right back where we started.

I have to think of things in simplified terms, that fulfill basic rules, because I'm not educated in economics. For my own use, I compare accumulation of wealth to the physicist's law of Conservation of Energy: Energy can't be  created or destroyed.

Energy can be changed from one form to another, for example kinetic into potential, as when you lift something and place it on a table; or light energy into heat energy, as when you turn off a light in an enclosed room. It gets dark and the light energy is absorbed into the walls, turning into heat energy. And energy can be moved from one place to another, as when you place a pot of water onto a hot burner. The heat energy from the burner moves into the pot and water.

Wealth is only created when someone does something useful for someone else.

When a farmer grows some tomatoes. When a factory worker builds a car. When an accountant helps a business with its books. Wealth isn't created by moving paper around; by speculation. This is what George Bush's good friend ‘Kenny Boy’ Lay of Enron was doing with the electric power industry; moving wealth from one place to another, skimming off the top, contributing nothing, until it necessarily all collapsed.

It's why I have a slogan, "A dollar can only be in one place at a time". If they have it, you don't (referring to the wealthy and us).

By definition, capitalism requires piling up more wealth in some places than others. If we accept capitalism, who is going to get left behind? We look around quickly; no one wants to get left too far behind.

I know: let's do it to minorities; it's easy to identify them through skin color.

Thank god (or the Trumps and Kochs of the world), I'm not on the very bottom!

A. Martin
Merrifield, MN

MPCA to begin water quality monitoring field work in Mississippi River-Brainerd Watershed

Monitoring crews from the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) will be focusing on the Mississippi River-Brainerd Watershed beginning this May in an effort to assess the condition of rivers, streams, and lakes throughout the watershed. The work is being funded by the Clean Water Fund from the constitutional amendment passed by voters in 2008. The biological monitoring on streams will be performed by the North Biological Monitoring Unit located in the MPCA Brainerd Regional Office. Water chemistry monitoring on lakes and streams will be led by staff out of the central MPCA office in St. Paul, with a large portion of the stream water chemistry monitoring being collected by the Soil and Water Conservation District’s (SWCD) of Aitkin and Crow Wing Counties.

The Mississippi River - Brainerd Watershed monitoring will include most of the tributaries that enter the Mississippi River from northeast of Aitkin to south of Little Falls across portions of Aitkin, Crow Wing, Morrison, and Todd counties. The watershed includes 2,149 river miles and 212 lakes greater than 10 acres in size. Approximately 65 monitoring stations will be scattered throughout the watershed on waterways which include the Ripple River, Rice River, Daggett Brook, Nokasippi River, Little Elk River, Swan River, among many others. The monitoring is designed to measure and evaluate the condition of rivers, streams, and ditches by studying the biology including fish, aquatic invertebrates as well as habitat, flow, and water chemistry. Examples of aquatic invertebrates include insect larvae, crayfish, snails, small clams, worms, and leeches.

Water chemistry sampling will provide information about the quality of the water in which these fish and invertebrates live and the recreational suitability of the water. In addition, MPCA lake monitoring crews will sample all lakes greater than 500 acres in size, and as many lakes over 100 acres as possible. The lake monitoring teams will focus on water clarity, nutrient concentrations, and other water chemistry parameters to assess the lakes for their ability to support recreational uses such as swimming. The MPCA partners with the Minnesota  Department of Natural Resources for the collection of fish and plant data to help determine the support of aquatic life use (i.e. the health of the community in the lake). The MPCA has standards for what the biology and water chemistry should look like at a given sampling location. If a specific sample does not meet those expectations, the sampling location could be considered impaired and restoration activities will be undertaken. For lakes and streams that are meeting standards, protection strategies may be warranted. The MPCA relies on a large contingent of volunteers and local partners to collect water quality data on lakes and streams as well as assist in the overall planning of the monitoring.

In an effort to inform the public about the comprehensive watershed project being launched this spring by the MPCA and its local partners, an open house will be held May 19th from 4:00-7:00pm at the Northland Arboretum, 14250 Conservation Dr., Brainerd, Minnesota 56401. Please come and learn more about this important project which is designed to first assess the health of the waters through an Intensive Watershed Monitoring effort and then develop a long-range water quality plan. If you have any questions concerning the monitoring please feel free to contact Chad Anderson at chad.anderson@state.mn.us and/or 218-316-3910.

Concerned Citizens for PUBLIC right of ways and boat landings

Letter to the Editor

Last week the City Council of Crosslake and Parks and Recreation Department, on recommendation of Parks and Recreation Director John Henke and the Whitefish Area Property Owners Association (WAPOA) and led by  Councilman Mark Wessels, entertained a proposal to attempt to close four public right of way boat landings located on the Whitefish Chain and within the Crosslake City Limits. These boat landings have been open and used mainly by local residents for years. The City Council and Mayor are entertaining a motion to close these boat landings permanently to all but a select group of the public (canoes and commercial dock companies) under the guise of prevention of AIS spread. The DNR has spent unknown dollars and created specific departments attempting control the spread, all while AIS continues to spread. The City of Crosslake could save the state a lot of money by advising them that if they just closed all of the public access to the lakes they could stop the spread of AIS. That being said there are no less than 3 major tributaries flowing into the Chain from uncontrolled upstream sources of water, 6 DNR public accesses, numerous small public access points, commercial and residential accesses. The concept that the closure of these four access points will have any impact on the prevention or velocity of AIS spread is ludicrous.

It is thought, and confirmed by at least one city official, that neighbors of the right of way accesses decided they don’t like the traffic (that has always been there) and now want to close the accesses.

We have obtained many signatures in a relatively short amount of time from concerned citizens who are in agreement that these public right of way boat accesses should remain open. We feel the taxpayers of this community should be heard on this issue prior to the City spending unnecessary money on surveys and adopting ordinances.

The four accesses being discussed are on Robert St, Ginseng Patch, Ivy Lane, and East Shore Blvd. There are over 50 other right of ways on the lakes in the City of Crosslake, many of which are being taken over by the surrounding property owners. Why are we closing down the right of ways used by the public, as they were intended, while allowing a few lucky property owners unrestricted access?

Jim Martin and Concerned Citizens of Crosslake

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Responsible Government Unit assigned to the Sandpiper/Line 3 EIS

Letter to the Editor

Concerned citizens who support a change in the RGU (Responsible Government Unit) for the EIS on the Sandpiper and Line 3 will address their concerns at the Environmental Quality Board meeting on WEDNESDAY, APRIL 20, between 1 and 4 PM in St. Paul.

According to the chair of the PUC, this is a HUGE project, comparable to the PolyMet's EIS. However, the PUC has designated the Department of Commerce as the agency responsible for supervising the Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) on the Sandpiper and Line 3.

Petitioners requesting a change of RGU contend that the DOC lacks the neutrality, experience, and scientific expertise necessary to create an honest process and a competent EIS.

Advocates for a change in the RGU want the MPCA and the DNR to be responsible for scoping, monitoring and supervising this "first ever" EIS on an oil pipeline.

Friends of the Headwaters has requested a panel of experts to advise the responsible government unit (RGU). They have also advocated for a revised Memo of Understanding, in an effort to ensure that Minnesota’s lead environmental agencies are not marginalized by Enbridge preferences that the Department of Commerce wants to imagine are DOC prerogatives.

The meeting next week is an opportunity to explore Minnesota citizens' concerns around the Responsible Government Unit assigned to the Sandpiper/Line 3 EIS.

Melodee Monicken
for Friends of the Headwaters

May is Lyme Advocacy Month

Letter to the Editor

While we are enjoying walks through the woods and fields on beautiful spring days, we need to remember to prevent Lyme, anaplasmosis and babesiosis by checking for the very small deer ticks when you get home.

Ticks know no borders and respect no boundaries. The patient’s county or residence does not accurately reflect his or her Lyme disease risk, because people travel, pets travel and ticks travel.

Lyme disease is a systemic infection that can affect almost any part of the body.

While a bulls-eye rash is a definite indicator of the disease, many patients don’t develop a rash at the site of the tick bite or recall being bitten.

Misdiagnosis is common because the disease has symptoms similar to Fibromyalgia, Multiple Sclerosis, Parkinsons, ALS and Alzheimers.

Co-infections exist along with Lyme disease.

Babesiosis is a parasitic malaria-like illness caused by a protozoan that lives in red blood cells. As with Lyme, ticks transmit babesiosis. Treatment with antimicrobial drugs is recommended.

Anaplasmosis co-infection with Lyme can result in more severe symptoms, such as seizures, ataxia, and confusion. Treatment with doxycycline is recommended.

Health care reform relies on an educated citizenry, responsible for their own health.

“Under Our Skin is an essential contribution to the national debate on health care reform. It exposes a complex story of politics and conflict of interest among researchers, insurance and pharmaceutical companies.

The documentary “Under Our Skin” is loaded with information for patient and professionals alike. DVD’s are usually available if you ask at your local library.

Prevention is wise as we continue to enjoy nature.

Bob Uppgaard
Pequot Lakes, MN

Thank you to the area volunteers

Letter to the Editor

April 11 - 16 is National Volunteer Week and we would like to thank all of the volunteers in our area, especially the volunteers at Essentia Health - St. Joseph's Medical Center and Clinics. Every one of the volunteers who so generously give of their time and talent, make our organization proud. The dedication of these volunteers to help in the comfort of our patients is immeasurable and appreciated by all staff.

The Independent Sector announced that the estimated value of a volunteer hour is now $23.07. In 2015, volunteers gave 22,745 hours at the hospital and clinics which is valued at $524,727.00. The valuation of volunteer time provides one way to measure the impact hundreds of individuals make with each hour they dedicate to make a difference.

Volunteering is one way that people say they want to "give back.” It is unique and distinctive. Whether volunteers help a single patient or ignite change that benefits many, volunteers are making a difference in the community. Children who grow up learning to give back not only strengthen their communities but enrich their own lives in countless ways. Please join us in celebrating that spirit of selfless service, and extend your appreciation to area volunteers at schools, nonprofit organizations and all throughout Crow Wing County.

Deb Anderson
Volunteer Supervisor Essentia Health

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