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4/20/2005 – Editorials

By Richard Peterson

Some readers may have noticed that the Shell column in last week’s (April
6) newspaper was the same as the column which was printed in the March 30 issue. No, that wasn’t a mistake. We published it twice to make sure you readers got the message.
Well, actually, it was a mistake. The above excuse is about the best we could come up with to cover our error. It’s my fault, although I don’t know how it happened. I’m glad you don’t see all the mistakes the sharp eyes around here find before we go to print. Somehow, doubling up on Shell’s column was missed by four sets of critical eyes.
We’ll try not to do that again.
I was surprised to see water on US 281 north of Minnewaukan. It hadn’t been raining and the wind wasn’t blowing for a change. How did that water get there?
There’s only one explanation. The water is seeping up through the roadbed.
It’s seeping through in many places. The ND Department of Transportation
(DOT) plans to put an overlay of pavement on the highway between Minnewaukan and the north junction of ND 19. The highway, even with an overlay, won’t last very long with the seepage we’re seeing. The sooner that highway is moved out of the water, the better. If we’d had a crystal ball to see into the future, it would’ve been done 10 years ago. Once the new highway is built, the DOT will turn old US 281 over to the county. The county has no money to make major repairs to the highway, so it’s unlikely it will last five years after being turned over to the county.
According to The Forum at Fargo there are plans to demolish some downtown Fargo buildings and create a new "Renaissance Center." As usual the preservationists and the project proponents are at odds. We could have the same problem in Minnewaukan.
The new $10,000 siren for the city was installed last week. Several cities in our county got new sirens under the Homeland Security Program. Homeland Security money paid about 80% of the cost. The new sirens have three
sounds: fire, bad weather and military attack. They will be activated from the Lake Region Law Enforcement Center in Devils Lake.
As a result of receiving the new siren, there is no need for the old siren, which is mounted on top of a bell tower on the fire hall – senior citizens community center. Minnewaukan is faced with the question of what to do with that bell tower. Because of serious leaking problems a new roof is needed on the building and the bell tower creates a problem for that project.
Roofers will have to go around it which will increase the possibility of leaks in the future. The old siren is pretty heavy and rotten wood is prevalent on the tower. We can’t take a chance on the siren falling off the bell tower onto the new roof. Either the tower has to be repaired or it has to be torn down.
I have reservations about tearing it down because it’s been there ever since I can remember. I guess there’s a little bit of the preservationist in me. Should the city spend $1,000 to $2,000 to repair the tower? Should it be torn down and done away with? Should it be taken down and set up near the gazebo as a monument of sorts? Or is there another solution? Let city council members know what you think.

Should the bell tower be saved?
Finally, we’re getting some information on George Bush’s plan for Social Security. Here’s what he said on Feb. 4, 2006 in Tampa, Fla. concerning his plan for the future of Social Security:
"Because the — all which is on the table begins to address the big cost drivers. For example, how benefits are calculate, for example, is on the table; whether or not benefits rise based upon wage increases or price increases . . . There’s a series of parts of the formula that are being considered, and when you couple that, those different cost drivers affecting those — changing those with personal accounts, the idea is to get what has been promised more likely to be — or closer delivered to what has been promised. Does that make any sense to you? It’s kind of muddled.
"Look, there’s a series of things that cause the — like for example, benefits are calculated based upon the increase of wages as opposed to the increase of prices. Some have suggested that we calculate — the benefits will rise based upon inflation, as opposed to wage increases. . .
"There is a reform that would help solve the red if that were put into effect. In other words, how fast benefits grow, how fast the promised benefits grow, if those — if that growth is affected . . . it will help on the red."

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