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Open Forum

The Old Lamplighter

Letter to the Editor:

Back in the mid 1940’s a song came out at Christmas time titled “The Old Lamplighter”. It has been a favorite of mine ever since. Back in the days before electric street lights there were street lights that had to be lit each night. And so the song goes....”He made the night a little brighter wherever he would go. the old lamp lighter of long ago. His snowy hair was so much whiter beneath the candle glow the old lamp lighter of long ago.”

When you stop to think of it how much more cheerful a room becomes even with one little candle that has been lit. Unfortunately, we live in time where darkness, division and hatred seem to cloud out all light, warmth, happiness and hope.

So what will be on your Christmas wish list? Here are what my wishes would be. A country no longer divided by strife and hate. That political correctness would meet its final fate. Nor any fear to speak about our faith or pray in public even if it be a silent one. School children would again be able to sing “Away in the Manger” without fear of law suits by those who don’t believe. Such a simple song I learned as a wee child. “Away in the manger no crib for his head, the little Lord Jesus laid down his sweet head.” You know the rest I am sure but it has come about that sex, gender identification and even some schools Muslim prayers are taught taking precedence over the true meaning of Christmas. Being offended and hatred have become a plague. My wish is that all these issue be ended and like the Old Lamplighter, lets spread the light and love of freedom to every day of our lives.

Dolores Zaske
Pine River, MN

Crosslake Ace Customer Appreciation Prize winners announced

Letter to the Editor:

Crosslake Ace Hardware would like to thank all the customers who shopped locally at Ace Hardware, November 25th Small Business Saturday, and participated in our Customer Appreciation Day. The following people were the winners of our drawings and games played for prizes.

Harvey Baxter-Engine repair/tune-up $150 Value
Mike Schram – Outdoor Firepit
Mary Henke – 25.00 Ace Hardware Gift Certificate
Kent Blakeman – 2# Giant Salted Nut Roll
Finn Buckley – 7’ ready Basket Ball Hoop
Mark Pasvogel – 12pc Rock Cooking Set
Sam Hanson – Sterno buffet set
Becky Scheiber – Small Sterno buffet set

One hundred and eighty of our customers also participated in the 7th annual bucket sale, the customer donated $5  to the Crosslake food shelf and received a 5 gallon bucket and 20% off anything that fit in the bucket. Crosslake Ace matched $5 for every bucket sold bringing the grand total (and largest so far) to $1800 for the Crosslake Food shelf. Thank you again to all who supported shopping local on the 25th and donated to the food shelf. Spending locally-supports locally, spending in another town…supports that town.

Dan and Betty Soller
Owners

PUC Approval of Environmental Impact Statement for the Line 3 “Replacement” Project Ignores Tribal Concerns, Is Based on Biased Oil Industry Assumptions, and Fails to Fully Investigate Risks to Land, Water, and Air

HONOR THE EARTH VOWS LEGAL CHALLENGE TO PUBLIC UTILITIES COMMISSION DECISION TO APPROVE THE ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT STATEMENT FOR THE ENBRIDGE LINE 3 ‘REPLACEMENT” PIPELINE

St. Paul, Minn., -- December 7, 2017 – Honor the Earth vowed to bring legal action today challenging the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission (PUC)4-1 vote to approve the Final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS) -- once three minor, technical "inadequacies" are addressed that PUC Commissioners called for during its meeting this afternoon -- for Enbridge's proposed Line 3 "replacement" pipeline in northern Minnesota.

The vote generally affirms that the state's FEIS for Line 3 is adequate to meet the environmental review requirements of the Minnesota Environmental Policy Act and to inform the PUC's decision to either grant or deny permits for the project. If it is ultimately  approved next spring, the divisive pipeline could transport nearly 1 million barrels per day of tar sands crude oil through treaty-protected lands, wild rice beds, and pristine waters.

Winona LaDuke, Executive Director and co-founder of Honor the Earth, condemned the decision: "We are deeply disappointed with the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission’s approval of a profoundly flawed Environmental Impact Statement. Honor the Earth will challenge this decision in court."

"The EIS failed to include a proper cultural resources survey that respects tribally owned resources and native spiritual practice, and it is based on biased assumptions provided to the state by Enbridge," she added. "It also fails to consider significant risks and impacts, such as an oil spill into Lake Superior and the Duluth- Superior Harbor. To quote Brent Murcia, one of our Youth Climate Interveners in this process from today's meeting, 'If we were to turn in this FEIS to one of our professors we’re not sure we would get a good grade on it.' "

"The purpose of the EIS was to fully inform the MNPUC about the impacts of and reasonable alternatives to the proposed tar sands pipeline. Unfortunately, the approved EIS does neither adequately. Its deficiencies include:


• A failure to consider any route that avoids the land, water, plants and animals that Ojibwe rely on for survival.

• A failure to include a proper cultural resource survey to protect Ojibwe resources and spiritual sites.

• A failure to ever seriously consider a 'No Build alternative' since fundamentally it is not the state of Minnesota's responsibility to accommodate a Canadian oil pipeline corporation.

• Evaluation of preposterous alternatives proposed by Enbridge instead of reasonable commercial alternatives to building a new pipeline.

• Oil spill modeling based on an assumption that the pipeline would transport 760,000 bpd, when in fact Enbridge has admitted that the pipeline is designed to transport up to 915,000 bpd of tar sands crude oil – more oil than the Keystone XL Pipeline.

• The absence of a survey for leaked crude oil from Enbridge’s existing Line 3 pipeline to determine how much it will cost to clean up the existing pipeline corridor.

• A failure to model an oil spill into the St. Louis River, Duluth- Superior Harbor, or Lake Superior, despite the fact that the proposed pipeline would pass through their watersheds to a tank farm near the shores of Lake Superior.

• A failure to respond to almost all of the 150 pages of detailed comments submitted by Honor the Earth on the Draft EIS."

“This EIS is another example of government paperwork that contains many words but nonetheless fails to protect us," LaDuke stated. "We wanted the EIS to fully address the legitimate and heartfelt concerns of real people, including concerns for the safety of the land and water that give them life and give their lives meaning. We wanted the MNPUC to take a hard look at impacts and alternatives, but it didn’t.”

In addition to responding in court, Honor the Earth noted that the Minnesota Ojibwe tribes are preparing their own impact assessment, called the Anishinabe Cumulative Impact Analysis (ACIA). "When the state ignored most of our comments on the Draft EIS, the writing was on the wall that native people would themselves need to assess the impacts and risks of this proposed pipeline. We have a long history of broken promises,” LaDuke emphasized.

The failure by the state and Enbridge to respect the environmental review process was also exposed by an Honor the Earth investigation into the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency’s illegal approval of Enbridge construction permits for pipe storage yards for the Line 3 project. This approval allowed Enbridge to buy and store all of the pipe needed for the Line 3 project in Minnesota – nearly a year before the MNPUC will make a final decision. State documents show that it agrees that Enbridge broke the law.

Martin Keller,
Media Savant Communications

Final Environmental Impact Statement for Line 3 Replacement Project Determined Inadequate for Three Items

Letter to the Editor:

Today [Dec. 7, 2017], the Public Utilities Commission (PUC) found the Final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS) inadequate for three very narrow items. We thank the Department of Commerce and the supporting agencies for their considerable work to date and administering the process in a professional manner. We look forward to their refining the existing information as directed by the Commission so that it more clearly conveys those limited environment impacts associated with the project.

Also today, the PUC indicated that a Traditional Cultural Resource Survey currently underway for the Army Corps of Engineers by the Fond du Lac Tribe must be complete before construction begins in Minnesota.

We will be taking some time to review the commission’s decision and the three narrow items being revised. Our focus will continue to be on following the process, ensuring adequate public input and, in turn, we believe that the state will adhere to a reliable timeline.

This decision does confirm that the FEIS addresses the potentially significant issues and alternatives raised in scoping and provides responses to the substantive comments received. We also believe this decision confirms the November 1st recommendation of Administrative Law Judge in which he recommended that the FEIS be determined adequate. Judge Lipman thoroughly examined the important environmental aspects of this project, the potential alternatives and, importantly, concluded that, from an environmental perspective, replacing Line 3 is superior to maintaining the existing line.

Replacing Line 3 is part of Enbridge’s safety driven maintenance program and we continue to work cooperatively with regulatory and permitting authorities, government agencies, elected officials, Tribal leadership and the public as we proceed with the regulatory process in Minnesota.

Shannon Gustafson
Communications Supervisor, U.S. Liquids Pipelines & Projects

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Reflection

Letter to the Editor:

Thanksgiving is a time to reflect on our blessings of the past and present. So many of our blessings are just excepted as what happens or we planned them or they are coincident.

As someone who has lived awhile, I know that planning helps, but the best laid plans of mice and men fail. It is a blessing when they don’t fail. I regularly except blessings as coincidences and fail to thank God for blessing me with the wonderful blessings that I have received. In reflecting I realize that there are many little things and large things that I received, that while I received them, there was no reason that I should have. I was born an American, I live in Minnesota, I received a good education, I have received enough income that I have a comfortable life, I am healthier than most, I have a wonderful family, I have enough that I can contribute to my church and to others that are less fortunate.

I am truly blessed. I have enough and I realize that I have abundance and I have an education that taught me that  those who have should share with those who have less. We were put here to be stewards of the planet and all that is on it. We don’t own it we are just caretakers. Until such time as we pass it on to the next generation, which should receive it, in better shape than we received it. To pass it on in better shape than we received it, we will have to work together to prevent greed from causing us to degrade things for private gain. I have reflected and I know that I have done a little this past year to improve the small part of the planet that I live on. I also realize that I could have and should have done more.

Part of my reflection had also to do with the current state of our current events that are in the news. This evening I  heard for the first time that our congress was going to have anti-sexual harassment training which is good. All I heard for the last couple of weeks was that they were going to receive sexual harassment training and from the news they were pretty good at that already. I suspect that they need to provide an education on how to respond to it, and de-escalate the situation. As I look back on my life there were times that things escalated much further than I was comfortable with however both people involved were unwilling to let the other get the last comment in and there could have been sexual harassment complaints on either side. It was just plain mutual harassment with no disrespect or hard feelings on either side, however, someone else listening to or seeing it may have come to a different conclusion. We do have those who are in a position of power that take advantage of those in a lesser position. I have also seen those in a lessor position use that position to harass those over them.

Jesse Nix
Emily, MN

Sexual harassment climate

Letter to the Editor:

Lots of interesting things going on lately. Who would have ever thought that we would see the sexual harassment climate change so quickly. And what’s particularly surprising is that we’re seeing prominent people being taken to task over their actions. Usually when there’s a price to pay for inappropriate activity, the little people are the ones who are held accountable and the supposed important people are exempt. Not so these days.

I don’t know many of those involved. During the last presidential election I occasionally watched Bill O’Reilly. I also heard the allegations that he had paid off women to avoid lawsuits. But anyone who has money is subject to being sued, regardless of whether or not they did what they were accused of. Often lawsuits are settled out of court as the legal expense of a defense can be more than the amount being sued for. I was really surprised that he was fired. He was a big dog. But he certainly wasn’t the last.

This Harvey Weinstein guy was apparently a mover and shaker in Hollywood. But we all know that the  hypothetical casting couch has existed as long as there’s been a movie industry. I have mixed feelings about females subjecting themselves to the various crude behaviors that have been described as being attributed to the Harvey Weinsteins of the world. The mixed feeling part comes from the fact that many have apparently done so with little or no objection until recently. They say that we all have a price, I suppose.

Kevin Spacey is one of my favorite actors. Geez, Kevin - what happened? You’re a talented actor. You surely have millions of dollars. Is it a self confidence thing? I would think Kevin Spacey would have more class. And Matt Lauer. Sorry, I’m not a Matt Lauer fan. I didn’t care for Bryant Gumbel ahead of him either. Stories have circulated for years about Lauer’s womanizing. His power on the “Today” show pretty well lets him decide who is,  or is not, interviewed, who is hired or fired, and earns him some $25 million dollars a year. Not bad for a guy who was age 39 before he got his undergraduate college degree. And this is the guy who has to expose himself to women in his office?

End of the day and I’m so ready to lay my head on the pillow. I can’t begin to put into words my feelings about all of the “sexual misconduct” stuff going on. Matt Lauer AND Garrison Keillor go down today. Who’s up to be fired tomorrow?

Explosive!! Thing is, we all know there are so many, many, many more about to be exposed (I’m sure), and it’s just kind of crazy to think about how this could potentially bring about a huge shift in the world.

I’m kind of excited to see what this brings.

Kat Beireis
Pequot Lakes, MN

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