DL News Staff
About this time of year, I ask myself: What is an allegedly grown man like myself doing getting butterflies over Opening Day of baseball season? What mature person would waste time watching a bunch of spoiled millionaires throw around a ball? Who cares if Johan Santana's change-up is working? What does it matter if Joe Mauer goes four-for-four? Well, I care and it does matter. In this crazy world, baseball is a stable ritual, as inevitable as the seasons. It starts every April, just when the clocks move forward.
Anyone who writes for public consumption understands that there are those who might only take small bites, if any, and won't care for the offering. And that's quite allright. If the presentation happens to be one in the polarized political arena, well then right from the start at least half of your consumers won't care for the product. That's a given, and that's allright too. Disagreement is the natural byproduct of public discourse. It is inevitable. Nevertheless, one should always try to focus on facts and substance.
April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month. This month, sexual assault programs in Minnesota and across the nation are working to focus public awareness on the epidemic of sexual violence and encouraging all Americans to become part of the solution. Sexual assault has reached epidemic proportions. In the United States, sexual assault occurs every 2 minutes. Rape and sexual assault affect women, children, and men of all racial, cultural, and economic backgrounds. Last year alone Lakes Crisis & Resource Center assisted 70 victims of sexual assault.
When United Airlines beckoned "Come fly the friendly skies," travel by air indeed was friendly. No more. The "friendly skies" of every major air carrier have become downright unfriendly, uncomfortable and, for most travelers, little more than a teeth-grinding necessity. The airlines are getting away with treating customers like commodities -- bodies to fill seats, period. The airline industry has become one of a handful of businesses (oil companies, for instance) that need not honor the "service" in "customer service." The deterioration of the quality of the flying experience is ubiquitous.
The Becker County Highway Department has closed several roads due to high water and washouts. County maintenance supervisor John Okeson said County Road 157, which is in Walworth Township, is washed out in two places. Okeson said work crews are waiting for the water to go down before repairing the damage. He said the repairs would likely be done at the end of this week. County engineer Brad Wentz said several other roads incurred washouts last week due to the sudden melt. Another road is County Road 106 north of Audubon.
The main job of Minnesota legislators this year - funding a package of public works projects - may not be so hard after all. House Republicans unveiled a bill Tuesday that would spend nearly as much as Senate Democrats already approved. Differences remain, but there is optimism that they are can be bridged. "The Senate bill was met with a lovefest and I think the House bill will be met with a lovefest," said Rep. Alice Hausman, DFL-Minneapolis. House Speaker Steve Sviggum, R-Kenyon, predicted 110 of the House's 134 members will vote for the bill when it is debated a week from today.
The regional representative for U.S. Sen. Norm Coleman (R-Minn.) is visiting 10 northwest communities this week because of the flooding. Matt Ketelsen plans to meet with local mayors and officials to discuss the current flooding in the region and to update the senator on local concerns. Stops include Mahnomen, Ada, Hendrum and Moorhead.
The Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community has released its annual donation report, Indian Gaming: Working for Indian People and Minnesota. The 28-page report details $15.7 million in charitable giving made by the community in fiscal year 2005 to Indian tribes, education and youth programs, and charitable organizations. "As Dakota people, we have a long tradition of sharing with others in need so it is important for us to give back to the larger community. Before Indian gaming, our community lived on dirt roads and many of us lived in poverty and struggled to survive. Times were hard.
Ten free white pine trees will be given to each person who joins the National Arbor Day Foundation during March 2006. The free trees are part of the nonprofit Foundation's Trees for America campaign. "The white pines will add year-round beauty to your home and neighborhood," John Rosenow, the foundation's president said. "They are fast-growing landscape trees with soft needles and graceful branching. You can use them as specimen trees or as a privacy screen or windbreak...