DL News Staff
Thanksgiving should be a time for celebration, not cruelty, yet approximately 45 million turkeys -- gentle birds who enjoy having their feathers stroked and gobbling along to music -- are killed every year for Thanksgiving dinner. Before they're killed, turkeys spend several months packed tightly together in filthy, dark sheds. To keep them from pecking one another in stress and deprivation, factory workers cut off part of the birds' sensitive upper beaks with a hot blade -- using no pain relievers.
We are fast approaching that time of the year when we strive to be less concerned with ourselves and we become more aware of our blessings and the gift of giving. Thanksgiving should put us in a frame of mind where we reflect on the many blessings that have come our way through our own efforts and those blessings that have been made available to us by the opportunities that others have given through their concern, love and example. If we give ourselves some time to review our lives, we will find that we have had many doors opened for us that give us reasons to be thankful and the incentive
On Monday, Nov. 5, 2012, there was a story on WDAY TV in regards to public employee pension programs. They took a feed from ABC Channel 5 in the Twin Cities and it was filled with misinformation. The story stated that the state government was paying into the retirement programs. I cannot speak to Public Employees Retirement Association (PERA) or Minnesota State Retirement Systems (MSRS), but the information on the Teachers Retirement Association (TRA) was false. The state government does not pay into the TRA program.
In 2008, Minnesota ranked No. 1 in the nation for voter turnout in the presidential election and will no doubt place highly in 2012 as well. But despite decades of record participation and a well-educated, involved electorate, our fair state was mostly overlooked by both candidates in 2012. This is due in large part to the role of the Electoral College in our elections, an antiquated institution that distorts our politics and bestows great power on a handful of states while leaving the majority largely ignored.
I have known Kent Eken since he started his public service to the people of western Minnesota. Eken has been elected by the people of our area to represent us in the Minnesota House since 2002 because of his passion for our communities and his strong work ethic. I have had the privilege to work with Eken on a variety of issues over the years and have been very impressed by his knowledge of the issues and his ability to get the job done. Kent Eken understands the importance of compromise and works across party lines for the good of western Minnesota.
The elimination of the Homestead Credit led to unfair and unnecessary high property taxes in rural Minnesota. That is why a top priority for the Minnesota Legislature in the next session must be to restore the Homestead Credit. Senate District 4 candidate Rep. Kent Eken is standing up for rural Minnesota and has vowed to fight to return the Homestead Credit back to our senior citizens, families, and farmers. Eken understands the importance of this rural property tax relief program that homeowners had enjoyed for over four decades.
In just a few days, the citizens of the Frazee-Vergas School District will be going to the polls to cast their vote on a couple of issues that may have a long lasting affect on the school district. The first issue deals with school board members. As it stands now, if a board member wants to bring an item up for discussion, the member is more than likely to be told to let it be handled in committee rather than bring it up at a public board meeting. The comment usually made is, don't rock the boat or don't make any waves.
I know Phil Hansen to be an honest, intelligent, and energetic person that would do a great job in St. Paul representing the people of this area. Phil is the kind of guy who will do what he can to end gridlock and bring issues to a conclusion that will benefit the people that he represents. He was raised on a farm and has strong Midwest values. I believe that electing unbiased new blood to our governing bodies is what Minnesota needs and Phil is the right choice. -- John Bellefeuille, Detroit Lakes
Like many citizens in western Minnesota, I consider myself an independent. I carefully weigh the strengths and weaknesses of candidates and make my choices based on character, experience, intelligence and leadership qualities. As a lifelong resident of the Red River Valley and an owner of a fifth generation family farm, it is important for me to have a senator who shares my deep lifetime love and respect for this land, and the people of all ages and stations in life who live here. Public service is a calling, not just a bucket list check off. Kent Eken, like Sen. Langseth and Sen.
My husband, Kurt Bills, is running for U.S. Senate. I don't want to bring up issues -- just challenge you. We've never been a political family or had aspirations to run for elected office. I'm a licensed, in-home child-care provider, and Kurt is an economics teacher. However, involvement in government and political affairs isn't someone else's job. It's our right and responsibility. That's how it all began for us.