Alexandria Echo Press
Here's a heads-up for young people who are starting another school year: Do some homework on cigarettes, certain e-cigarettes and other products containing nicotine. If you decide to light up or vape, you're putting your future health at risk. We're not just blowing smoke. The Minnesota Department of Health issued a health advisory last week regarding the latest studies, which show early nicotine use increases the risks of addiction for youth now and later in life.
We have been closely following the U.S. Department of Commerce's actions last January to impose a tax, or tariff, of more than 30 percent on Canada's uncoated groundwood paper — paper that newspapers use for newsprint. Anyone who enjoys reading newspapers that they can hold in their hands and keep should be keenly interested in the issue as well.
Kicking someone when they're down is always a low blow. Here's something just as bad: Scamming someone struggling debt who is trying to get their finances back on track. Unfortunately, it's a common practice. Earlier this month, the Minnesota Commerce Department emailed warnings about debt settlement scammers who will take your money but never deliver on their promises of quick debt relief.
When talking about a particular topic, it's helpful to know the lingo. If you're a baseball fan, for instance, it's useful to know what an ERA is (earned run average for pitchers; the lower number, the better) or what OPS means (on-base plus slugging percentage for batting; the higher number, the better). If you get everything all balled up, it can cause confusion. Similarly, it helps to know the correct terms for the different kinds of items a person reads in the newspaper.
If you're an employee with job openings — and there are a lot of them in our area — consider hiring a veteran. They make excellent workers, so much so that Gov. Mark Dayton has proclaimed the month of July as "Hire a Veteran Month" in Minnesota. His proclamation encourages all Minnesota employers to help connect military service members with employment opportunities during the month of July, and to continue hiring veterans throughout the year.
Instead of complaining about "fake news" and hurling insults about how unfair and biased the media are, readers should be paying more attention to where they are getting their news and what they are actually reading. Granted, with so many purported news outlets out there, this is a more difficult task than it once was. These days, with so much information that's just a Google click away, it's tempting to believe whatever search result fits in with whatever you were hoping to find.
Every day, the lives of 760,000 Minnesota children are in their hands. They're school bus drivers. Wednesday was Minnesota's second annual School Bus Driver Appreciation Day. School districts across Minnesota celebrated the day by passing out student-made thank you cards and providing food and beverages to bus drivers.
OK drivers, take a little time to answer these questions and be truthful. Have you ever: • Tailgated to punish or coerce another driver? • Sped up to proceed through a yellow light? • Changed lanes frequently? • Blocked an intersection? • Failed to round out your turn? • Passed when it is not necessary? • Passed illegally on the right or on the shoulder? • Made an improper or erratic lane changes? • Driven 5-15 mph over the posted speed limit? • Ran a red light? • Not signaled when you were required to?
Don't get caught out of heat and out of money. And don't try to heat your home by relying on space heaters or ovens to keep the cold at bay. We've had too many terrible fires this winter and trying to take unsafe shortcuts puts your family in danger. There is help available for families struggling to pay their heating bills.
If you find yourself driving behind a snowplow or see one coming toward you on the road, you should know what to do. One key strategy: Replace panic with patience. Not enough drivers do that. So far this winter season, there have been at least 22 crashes in Minnesota involving vehicles and snowplows. With more snow likely to fall sometime this winter, danger looms. The Minnesota Department of Transportation is urging motorists to use extra caution during plowing and snow removal operations.