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Open Forum

Learn from history

Letter to the Editor

I find it interesting that the major early push for legislation by Republicans this year is booze in the state legislation. Sunday sales, last year it was being able to have beer for breakfast, that wasn’t the exact title but it was called having an adult beverage with your meal in the morning. When I was in the military in combat areas it was called beer for breakfast. I pretty much stuck with 12 hours bottle to throttle but it was not a universal thing, stress was a real factor. I guess for some having a drink on the way to church on Sunday morning is a real need, and stopping for a bottle after the sermon is too.

On the national level it seems that making it ok for companies to bribe foreign government officials, and hide the facts so that foreign courts can’t prosecute corrupt officials, is good business. I would imagine that they are counting on reciprocal action from our friends that need the cover.

These are the group that claims to be Christians, represent Christian values and a few years ago said that I wasn’t Christian enough. In my understanding one sin is no different from another all but one is forgivable but any will send you to hell.

On another note the rhetoric in this Muslim debate and attack on them for their Religion it is old stuff. It is nearly identical to that used to try to prevent Irish from coming to this country they were those terrible Catholics. Nothing but no good drunk’s, thieves, couldn’t be trusted as Americans because they would do what their Priest or Bishop or Cardinal was told to tell them by the POPE, “for God’s sake we can’t have that”. The end of that finally came when we elected JFK.

Those who fail to learn from History are doomed to repeat it.

Jesse Nix
Emily,MN MN

“Illegals”

Letter to the Editor

A family here ‘illegally’ from Mexico was allowed to stay under President Obama’s leniency policies. Under Trump, they were deported today. Their children were US citizens and could’ve stayed, but chose to leave, staying with their family.

None of them could be shown to be “terrorists”, any more than someone can prove that I or Trump are terrorists.

It’s way past time to ask why we’re so obsessed about terrorists. The Boston Marathon incident killed 3 innocent people. We kill that many innocents in one of our cowardly drone strikes, and think nothing of it, then wonder why there’s terrorists!

Our reckless attitudes toward guns here killed around 30,000 last year. The only reason absolutely nothing is being done about that is the NRA. They used to be a gun owners group promoting safe firearms use (I once was a “card-carrying” comrade) but now they’ve become a gun manufacturer’s front, promoting sales. One of their most evil and insidious moves has been a national push for “stand your ground” laws, one of which they handed to our Republican Representative Heintzeman to promote.

The parts of the US where most “illegals” live are states “illegally” stolen, by the US from Mexico, by force, in the mid-1800’s. Look it up; it’s easy. We’ve got computers and internet now, so there’s no excuse to be stupid and ignorant. Mexican people have more right to be in Laredo, TX and Los Angeles, CA than any of us Euros do.

This is one of the many parts of US history that right-wing or racist groups insist we don’t teach our children,  making them ignorant, “ugly Americans” as they grow up.

If we’re going to deport anyone, let’s first deport all racists. They spread hate, anger, and ignorance throughout our communities and country. “Illegal immigrants” are here to work, to find a way to provide for their family. Sometimes it’s the only hope they have.

Some time ago, the US flooded Mexico with cheap corn, causing many Mexican farmers to lose their farms. That’s when the flood of “illegals” started. We did that under a program called “Food for Freedom”, a scam and a sham, meant to help out US auto manufacturers ‘relocated’ to Mexico, in order to make the rich richer. (Always beware anything with the word Freedom, Patriot, etc. in the title. Like the Patriot Act.)

I could go on.

Sad. Love. Amen.

A. Martin
Merrifield, MN

Mid-Minnesota Legal Aid awarded Older Americans Act funds to provide legal services for seniors

The St. Cloud office of Mid- Minnesota Legal Aid has received a grant of Older Americans Act funds from the Central Minnesota Council on Aging to provide legal services for seniors residing in Cass County. The funds will be used to provide legal advice, counseling and representation in court and administrative hearings. There is no cost for these services.

If you are 60 years or older and reside in Cass County, you can get help with legal problems involving Medicare, Social Security, eviction or other housing problems, public benefits, such as medical assistance, food support and fuel assistance, family law issues, including domestic abuse and income maintenance, nursing home problems, home care services, powers of attorney, health care directives and debt collection. NO help is provided for criminal matters, wills, estate planning, or real estate transactions.

Seniors can also call the St. Cloud office of Mid-Minnesota Legal Aid toll free at 1 (888) 360-2889 for help scheduling an appointment.

Mid-Minnesota Legal Aid accepts contributions for the legal services, but contributions are not required to receive legal help.

Much at Stake for Older Minnesotans in Health Care Debate

By Will Phillips,
Director, AARP Minnesota

The new political year has started with a bang and many of us have been left a bit dizzy wondering just where everything stands. One issue that Congress has left especially fuzzy is health care.

What’s in, what’s out and what comes next is anyone’s guess, but there are three health care provisions that should be top of mind for anyone near or over the age of 50. They deal with the future of Medicare, the cost of health insurance and support for Minnesota’s Medicaid program.

The biggest thing Minnesota voters need to be aware of is the plan of Congressional leaders to fundamentally change Medicare by shifting the costs away from insurance companies and onto seniors. If this sounds familiar, it’s because it is. This is the same unpopular Medicare voucher plan which gives seniors a limited amount of money to pay for escalating Medicare premiums, leaving them to make up the difference.

Nearly 900,000 Minnesotans are currently enrolled in Medicare and in the next 15 years an additional 1.1 million  will become eligible. If Congress follows through with their efforts to end Medicare as we know it, all of these people could pay significantly more for their health care.

With the debate over the future of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) underway, several policy proposals have been introduced to change the law. One is particularly bad for older Minnesotans. A key part of the ACA is a limit on “age rating”, which controls the amount of money that insurers can charge an older individual based on their age alone. Current law sets that limit at 3 times the amount of a younger individual. Early plans to replace ACA have included increasing that limit to 5 times the amount of younger people, which will allow insurance companies to charge Minnesotans in their 50’s and 60’s even more.

Even with the current 3 to 1 rating many older Minnesotans have seen their premiums skyrocket. If Congress raises it to 5 to 1, premiums for people between 50 – 64 years of age could increase by an average of $3,000 a year.

The third bad health care idea floating around Congress is a plan to transform Medicaid into a block grant program. Supporters say such a change will return “control” of the program to the states. In reality block grants result in overwhelming cost-shifts to states who are unable to shoulder the costs of care without sufficient federal support. With a growing senior population, Minnesota already spends a great deal of money on Medicaid. Block grants would mean that our state would be forced to spend hundreds of millions more or discontinue health care and long term care to thousands of families, people living with disabilities and seniors living in nursing homes. Nationwide 65% of nursing home residents rely on Medicaid.

The debate over health care is just starting and Minnesota’s Congressional delegation needs to hear from their constituents. Over the upcoming President’s Day Congressional recess AARP volunteers and members will be attending town hall forums across the state to urge our Congressional leaders to say no to the big insurance companies and stand up for the millions of Minnesotans who need affordable health care.

If you share our opposition to higher health care costs for older Minnesotans, please contact your members of Congress to make sure your voice is heard.

Standing Rock & Faux News

Letter to the Editor

Months ago I began to follow the struggle at Standing Rock. This is something you can only do online, since the news media has ignored or lied about it. It is about oil, and oil owns the government, law enforcement, and television media, specifically Fox News. Nothing you've seen on television about Standing Rock is true, and in fact last week the protectors (not protesters) got footage of the Morton Cty dumptrucks full of landfill garbage, dump them at the site, took video footage and sold it to guess who...Fox News. Who then reported it as the city trying to deal with the garbage ...the protesters having defiled the land they profess to protect. When I saw this Fox News segment, this total frame, this vicious lie, my heart broke. These people, amazingly brave and spiritually ascended, are once again being broken through violence, a corrupt police department (over 700 indigenous people in jail on wrongful charges), hired mercenaries from all over the country, billions of dollars worth of military equipment, cannons, dogs, mace, missile rockets etc. These are your tax dollars at work. Paying for a militia to scare unarmed, peaceful, prayerful people. To break them, to hurt them, to kill them if necessary to finish this pipeline. It was initially designed to go through Bismark, but hey, the white people fought that and won...

I have been to Standing Rock twice. To be there once is to want to go back because the overwhelming spiritual depth, love, kindness, determination,courage and intelligence you are surrounded by makes you want to be that kind of person. And I do indeed stand with them in spiritual solidarity. But since I can't be there now, my purpose is to educate you.

On Dec. 4 Obama signed the order to stop the DAPL. I was at Standing Rock that day. It was my birthday. I was alone because I couldn't (and still can't) find anyone to go with me. It was an amazing day, as 15,000 people  convened on the camp. Supporters who had driven and bussed from all over the country. All faiths, buses of catholics, buses of interfaiths, thousands of vets, truckloads of supplies, donations from everywhere. This onslaught of support was completely unexpected and there was no place to facilitate the goods, so they were just piled outside. I left late that day, since I was not equipped to camp. Two days later came the crippling historic blizzard. People there said it felt like an earthquake, like the earth was exploding. Injuries, chaos, mass evacuation ensued, followed by another blizzard and then record high temps, which was catastrophic for the goods buried  under the snow. So cleanup has been all there could be. And it has been diligently done to the ability of the hardworking people who stay there and are willing to die to protect the water.

Now about that storm: Also included in your tax dollars, aside from the jillion watt lights that shine down on them all night and the hundreds of soldiers suited up for war standing there all day for no reason but to terrorize, there are planes and helicopters flying above 24/7. The sky is streaked with chemtrails constantly, and poison has been sprayed down on the campers. But about that storm: Please google if you can: HAARP These are active  governmental tactics to control the weather, used in warfare....be careful what you contribute to "Acts of God"l

There have never been "riots". Only unprovoked attacks. The pictures you saw of cars on fire made to look like protesters rioting were cars of the campers the police set on fire. That was a horrible day. Countless injuries. One girl lost her arm, another her eye...horses and dogs injured or killed...it was basically a massacre.

I will close by saying this: I realize we all listen to the things that resonate true to us, so if Fox News is your source of information, and it resonates true to you, you are part of the crisis our country is facing now. We have embraced and normalized Untruth. What could go wrong?

Lynne Marchese
Fifty Lakes, MN

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Thank a Veteran: National Salute to Veteran Patients is Feb. 12-18

The National Salute to Veteran Patients is observed annually during the week of Valentine's Day, a day of caring and sharing which underscores the Salute's expression of honor and appreciation to inpatient and residential  Veterans. This year’s observance will be Feb. 12-18.

The 2017 National Salute to Veteran Patients is an opportunity for citizens of the nation to express personal gratitude to Veterans and to learn how individuals and groups can use their unique talents to serve as volunteers to help Veterans.

There are many ways to participate:

The National Salute to Veteran Patients gives every American the chance to thank Veterans for their freedom by sending Valentines, cards and letters to VA medical facilities. Send yours today. In the St. Cloud area, please address Valentines, cards and letters to:

Any Veteran
Attn: Voluntary Services
St. Cloud VA Health Care System
4801 Veterans Drive
St. Cloud, MN 56303

More than 98,000 Veterans of the U.S. armed services are cared for every day in VA medical facilities, outpatient clinics, domiciliary sites, and community living centers, including approximately 350 residents at the St. Cloud VA Medical Center. You can make a difference in their lives with a visit or by volunteering. Find out more at http://www.stcloud.va.gov/giving/index.asp, or by calling Voluntary Services staff at (320) 255-6365 or email at: vhastcvavsstaff@va.gov.

To inquire about making a donation to benefit Veterans, contact staff at the St. Cloud VA Voluntary Service office at (320) 255-6365, or email at: vhastcvavsstaff@va.gov. Honor a Veteran today. If you don’t live in the St. Cloud area, find your local VA medical facility at https://www.va.gov/, and learn how you can help at http://www.volunteer.va.gov/.

New York Times Feb. 3

Letter to the Editor

The New York Times, Friday, Feb. 3, 2017: White House Defends Deadly Commando Raid on Qaeda Branch in Yemen by Eric Schmidt, highlights the following:

“The White House on Thursday defended the planning and execution of the Special Operations raid in Yemen on Sunday – the first approved by President Trump since taking office – that left on American commando dead and three others injured, and most likely killed several civilians, including children. “

“Planning for the mission began six months ago,” Mr. Spicer said. “On Jan.6, a meeting of senior Obama security aids, called the deputies committee, recommended that the plan go forward. Military officials have said that Mr. Obama did not act because the Pentagon wanted to launch the attack on a moonlight night, and the next one would come after Mr. Obama’s term had ended.”

“Members of Mr. Obama’s national security team said: The attack had not been approved by Mr. Obama, and that materials left for the Trump team emphasized considerable risk.”

After meeting over dinner with members of the Principals Committee of the National Security Council, Mr. Trump signed a memo on Jan. 26 authorizing the raid. Schmidt wrote, “Almost everything on the mission that could go wrong did. On Wednesday Mr. Trump flew to Dover Air Force Base in Delaware to be present as the body of the American commando killed in the raid was returned home, the first Military death on the new commander in chief’s watch.”

I wonder how much influence Steve Bannon had over the decision as opposed to military and intelligence experts. Bannon has a permanent seat on the Principals Committee of the National Security Council. Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and Director of Intelligence are invited “when matters pertaining to them arise.”

Bob Uppgaard
Pequot Lakes, MN

In Response to Kat:

Letter to the Editor

Well, Kat, your first letter fired me up...the one thanking your new president from saving you from the atrocities of President Obama. I can't for the life of me imagine what those atrocities were, aside from your having to endure a black president for 8 years.

Now you've got this big new letter that I can't ignore. It sounds as if you've had a steady diet of Fox News and hate radio talk shows.

Now that we have a racist president, have legitimized and normalized the KKK, now that racists feel free to shout it from the rooftops, we have a meaner world. The racists believe that getting rid of all those pesky people of color will do the trick and make us safer. Terrible psychology.

While you are rejoicing the building of that wall without concern for the the ghastly expense of it with so much human suffering in our midst, great heartache and unnecessary cruelty will rule this ailing country.

And you who fought so hard to ensure your white privilege, you who disregarded all signs of this man's vile character and incompitence in lieu of maintaining that white privilege will thankfully become a minority. New generations of intelligent, empathetic and non racist attitudes will come forth, and in fact already have. They are marching, listening, learning and resisting what must be resisted. They are paying attention. They are our hope for peace.

Lynne Marchese
Fifty Lakes, MN

Community Outreach Day

The Cass County Sheriff’s Office announces that the next “Community Outreach Day” will be held on Tuesday, February 21, 2017 from 3:00 to 5:00 PM at the Cass Lake Municipal Center, located at 330 2nd St NE, Cass Lake, MN 56633. We invite you to come and visit with Sheriff Tom Burch and members of the Sheriff’s Office staff. Learn about initiatives within the Sheriff’s Office. Applications for a Permit to Carry a Firearm or Purchase a Firearm, Alarm Permit Applications and Event Permit Applications will be available. Our portable “Take It To The Box” prescription drug disposal box. Staff can assist you in signing up for our instant emergency notification program “Nixle.”

We look forward to hearing how we can improve public safety in your neighborhoods.

CRMC to restrict visitors

Because seasonal flu activity has reached a widespread level in the state, Cuyuna Regional Medical Center Clinic is restricting visitors to protect patients and residents.

Visitors under age 16 are being limited to compassionate care visits only, on case-by-case basis. CRMC is also asking people not to visit patients if they have flu-like symptoms or have been around someone in the past seven days with fever, muscle aches or extreme fatigue, congestion, cough, sore throat or chills.

Visitors should cover coughs and sneezes with tissues. Staff may request that a protective mask be worn. Those visiting are also encouraged to limit visitation to one room and wash or clean their hands before and after entering patient rooms. Easy access to sinks and waterless hand sanitizer are available throughout the facility.

People can still get a flu shot at CRMC, call 218-545-7000 for an appointment. It takes about two weeks for protection to develop after vaccination and protection lasts throughout the flu season.

Additional flu information is available from the Minnesota Department of Health at http://www.health.state.mn.us/divs/idepc/diseases/flu/basics/flufacts.pdf

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