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Open Forum

Flying Squirrels

Letter to the Editor:

I first became aware of flying squirrels when they came down the chimney to the basement, where I would catch each critter by hand and place in a bucket for release. Turning the floodlight on the suet feeder outside, I saw all 23 squirrels taking turns and preparing for another trip down the chimney.

Eventually, all 23 were moved more than a quarter mile away, where there were no houses.

Now that I have a new heating system, with no chimney, I do miss my flying squirrels who are not capable of flight in the same way as birds or bats but are able to glide.

Bob Uppgaard
Pequot Lakes, MN

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Climate Change

Letter to the Editor:

I would encourage everyone to review the “Fourth National Climate Assessment” issued last month under The Global Change Research Act (GCRA) of 1990, a law initiated under the Reagan administration. It charged the U.S. Global Change Research Program (USGCRP) with a legal mandate to conduct a scientific assessment on the effects of global change not less frequently than every four years. It is available at https://nca2018.globalchange.gov/chapter/1/. The program is comprised of 13 US government agencies and the assessment’s preparation was administered by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

When asked to comment on the assessment’s dire warnings (presented by the top experts in his own administration) the president responded that he had read some of it and that he doesn’t believe the assessment. If you have any interest in the future of our planet you must consider what prompted his response. With the ongoing revelations of his connections to Russia and Saudi Arabia two countries with economies that are highly dependent on petroleum sales, is it as simple as him serving his own business interests above our national interests? The science is clear that human activities, especially fossil fuel extraction and combustion, are driving the acceleration of climate change. Does he have a personal motive for taking an unsupportable stance against the assessment delivered by his own administration?

We have been way too late in reacting to this threat to our nation and our world. Now even the small steps that we have taken politically toward addressing the problem are being rolled back. We are rapidly approaching or may already have reached tipping points that will drastically alter the livability of our world within a lifetime. Please make your voice heard on this matter and work to save the future of our species.

Dean Borgeson
Crosslake, MN

Charitable gambling taxed too much

Letter to the Editor:

I think there are approximately 1,200 licensed charitable gambling organizations in the state of Minnesota. During the year of 2017 these organizations paid to the state $70 million in tax revenue. Of the $70 million I believe  approximately $30 million went to pay for the new stadium. Some of these organizations paid as high as 50 percent taxes on the money they raised and many paid 32 percent. Most of them pay higher taxes then most corporations in the state. I am a board member of the Ideal Community Service Organization and I think we pay approximately 32 percent and we are a small operation that helps fund many area organizations that need our help. We help area food shelves, high school trap shooting, college scholarships for area high school grads, area fire and police, Boy Scouts and many other organizations that need funds to help the community. The state is taxing these organizations to death and some are ceasing to exist when they send more funds to the state than to their  communities. These organizations helped build the new stadium and are paying a higher rate of taxes than the billionaire Wilf brothers who own the Vikings. Please help us and contact your area legislators who represent you in St. Paul and let them know what these organizations do for your community and to help reduce their tax burden. If things don't change we won't be here to help the communities, and for sure the state or the Wilf brothers won't fund the food shelves and other organizations that need this revenue to exist.

Ron Engblom
Breezy Point, MN

Friends of the Headwaters: Taking the PUC to the Court of Appeals

Letter to the Editor:

Last time Friends of the Headwaters (FOH) was in the Court of Appeals, they won the first Environmental Impact Statement ever done on an oil pipeline in Minnesota. That was during 2014 and 2015. Now this small group of volunteers from northern Minnesota is in court again, challenging both the adequacy of the Line 3 EIS and the Public Utilities Commission’s conditional approval of Line 3.

Richard Smith, Friends of the Headwaters’ president, contends that the PUC should have heeded the recommendations of the Administrative Law Judge and Minnesota’s lead environmental agencies. “Even the Department of Commerce determined that Enbridge’s Line 3 was unnecessary, “ he said. “The Department of Commerce was the agency the PUC relied on to examine the Enbridge application in depth, and the DOC said a new Line 3 was not needed. But the PUC put the interests of the Canadian tar sands industry ahead of the interests of Minnesota citizens and the preservation of our environment. We can’t just let that stand. The PUC’s decision was contrary to the law, and we are confident that is what the court of appeals will conclude.”

Friends of the Headwaters' attorney Scott Strand pointed out, “This is why we have appellate courts. The PUC acknowledged that we do not need this oil, that the environmental and climate risks of a new pipeline over the next forty or fifty years are enormous, and that there are alternatives available, but nevertheless gave Enbridge exactly what it wanted. We hope and trust this decision can be corrected at the next level.”

Melodee Monicken
for Friends of the Headwaters
www.friendsoftheheadwaters.org

Review your Property Evaluation

Letter to the Editor:

If you are a property owner in MN you have receive your notice of “proposed taxes 2019”. 0ne of the questions you should ask yourself was your estimated market value correct. Over my working years of over five decades in several states and mostly in MN I have reviewed my property valuation 8 times. Would like to guess how many times I have found errors, both written and verbal.

If you guess 8 times you are correct. The errors ranged from recording nonexistent items, wrong physical size of dwellings, wrong statements of the sale price of adjacent dwelling or similar properties, wrong components of the  dwelling, etc. They are good about recording any and everything that adds to value like type of wood, length of driveway, how God created the landscape and the list could go on and on. A few years ago I super insulated a home which was reflected in the dollar value of the permission to build permit, which was reflected in the original market value, which is reflected in the property tax. Interesting and almost comical that government promotes energy conservation but taxes energy conservation.

In many instances property taxes are based on how an individual’s choose to live and are therefore based on perception of dollars available to pay taxes. Is this how government pushes many seniors out of their lifetime home?

Every property owner should make it a point to review their property evaluation.

Kent Rees
Emily, MN

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