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Our Opinion: This area at high risk for radon

Jeers to apathy, a condition that afflicts too many Minnesotans when it comes to radon gas in their basements.

According to state health officials, more than 40 percent of Minnesota homes have dangerous levels of radon gas. Radon causes lung cancer, and they say every home should be tested.

The average national indoor radon level is 1.3 picocuries per liter (pCi/L.)

The average indoor radon levels of Becker County, as determined by radon test results from Air Chek, Inc, is 4 pCi/L — more than three times higher than the national average.

In fact, it’s right at the level where action should be taken. The federal Environmental Protection Agency has established the action level for deciding when you need to do something about the radon in your home, school, or work place is 4 pCi/L.

In Becker County, 37 percent of homes tested at 4 or higher.

The average indoor radon level in Hubbard County is 3.8 and 39 percent of homes tested at 4 pCi/L or higher.

It’s even worse next door: The average indoor radon level in Otter Tail County is 5.5, and 52 percent of homes tested at 4 or higher.

The average indoor radon level in Clay County is 5.5 and 51 percent of homes tested at 4 or higher.

It’s a big problem in the area.

Radon is odorless, colorless and tasteless, so the only way for homeowners to know if their home has radon is to test, and this is the best time of the year to do it.

Pick up a radon test kit next time you’re at the hardware store.

Cheers to keeping ROTC at North Dakota State University: After U.S. Sens Amy Klobuchar and Al Franken and U.S. Rep. Collin Peterson urged the U.S Army to keep the Reserve Officers’ Training Corps program at NDSU open, the Army announced that the program would not be closed.

The unit, which also serves students at Minnesota State University Moorhead and Concordia College, will now have two years to prove that it is a viable ROTC program.

“Students in Minnesota and North Dakota that want to serve their country depend on the program at NDSU to receive the training they need to become effective officers,” Klobuchar said. “I’m pleased with today’s decision by the Army, and I’m looking forward to the Bison Brigade’s continued strength and dedication to our country.”

Added Franken: “It makes me so proud to come from a state where so many young men and women want to serve their country. I’m very pleased by the Army’s decision to keep the pathway to service open through NDSU’s ROTC program, which is used by so many students at Minnesota State Moorhead and Concordia College.”

Peterson agreed: “I’m happy that the Army reconsidered and will keep this unit open,” he said. “These students do an excellent job and I’m proud of their commitment and their service to our country.”

Earlier this year, the Army notified the NDSU ROTC that it intended to close it and 12 other programs throughout the country.

In response, Klobuchar, Franken and Peterson sent a letter to Secretary of the Army John McHugh urging him to reconsider, and pointing out that the battalion is among the top performing in the nation.

The decision grants the program a two year probationary period, after which time its status will be reassessed.