Alexandria Echo Press
"Bees don't really affect me. In fact, I'd like to see less of them so I don't have to worry about getting stung." It's that kind of apathy that's allowing a bad problem to get worse. Simply put, our bees are in trouble and they need our help.
Here's some heartening news on the political front. Young people are taking an increased interest in politics — at least in Minnesota. The state's youth voter turnout was tops in the United States in 2018, according to a new study. Minnesota has long had a solid track record when it comes to voting, consistently ranking number-one in the nation. For the 2018 election, 64.25 percent of the state's eligible voters cast a ballot.
Like it or not, a basic knowledge of money — how to save it, how to wisely spend it, how to plan your future with it — is important. One could argue that it ranks right up there with reading, writing and arithmetic. Yet many young people, even in this high-tech world with financial information at our fingertips, fail to possess basic money management skills.
More young people are using e-cigarettes, JUUL and other forms of vaping than ever before. A 2018 survey conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Federal Drug Administration found a dramatic increase in vaping among high schoolers — 75 percent are vaping more this year than last year. Use among middle schoolers increased nearly 50 percent. The trouble is that nearly all e-cigarettes contain nicotine, a highly addictive chemical that can harm the developing adolescent brain because it's still developing until about age 25.
With the soaring popularity of social media, nothing much is private anymore — what you're doing for fun, what you're eating, where you're going, who you're dating, what you're buying, the list goes on. But some information should remain private — especially if involves your financial information. Last week, as part of Data Privacy Day, the Better Business Bureau of Minnesota and North Dakota sent out information and tips about online security that could save you a lot of headaches down the road.
Here's a quick quiz: You're driving your car, the roads are slippery because of blowing snow and ice, and you end up going into the ditch. Can you get a ticket for that? Surprisingly, the answer is yes. As State Trooper Jesse Grabow recently explained in his column, you could be issued a citation for failure to drive with due care.
Getting a driver's license is a major milestone for teens. But it's also one that can lead to tragedy. Motor vehicle accidents are the leading cause of death for teenagers. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 2,082 teen drivers were involved in fatal motor vehicle traffic accidents in 2016. Roughly 10 percent of those drivers were distracted at the time of the crash — oftentimes by the teens who are riding with them.
A new tool should help people in the battle against identity thieves. As of September 21, consumers can take advantage of a new federal law that allows them to protect their personal financial information at the three major credit agencies by ordering a "credit freeze" — at no cost.
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.