5/31/2006 – Editorials



By Richard Peterson

 

I got a major surprise in the mail the other day. The North Dakota Telephone Company sent a letter saying it was going to drop my rate for high-speed connection to the Internet by $30 per month! Can you believe it? Whoever heard of a company dropping its rates?

We have what’s called DSL Advantage Plus at the Farmers Press. It’s a high speed connection that previously cost $84.95 per month. Now it’ll cost $54.95 per month.

I don’t know what we’d do without this service. We get 90 percent of our ads and news items by e-mail, which comes through the Internet.

We really like it because the ads are generally ready to plop onto our pages. We like the news items to come by e-mail because they’re already keyboarded and we don’t have to type them again. It’s really amazing.

It used to be that we got everything by mail in the morning. Now we get e-mails 24 hours a day. Only about five percent of our news comes by mail. The other five percent comes from faxes.

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High school seniors went through the ceremonies of graduating from high school as did several generations before them. Today everyone is expected to graduate from high school. It wasn’t always so. I’m not sure my dad finished eighth grade before striking out in the world of work as a barber.

He certainly didn’t have a graduation reception and neither did I. As far as I can remember neither did anyone else in my Minnewaukan High School class of 1959. This is something that probably came into vogue in the 1970’s.

Graduation is supposed to be a memory to cherish, but I don’t remember much about my graduation. We marched across the stage of the Memorial Hall to get our diplomas. With my diploma in hand I got in the family car with my folks and brother and we drove home to the farm in Aurora Township. No reception, no party, nothing special.

Maybe there was a party but if there was one, I missed it because I didn’t have a car.

There must have been a ceremony of some sort when I graduated from the Lake Region Junior College in 1961, but I sure don’t remember it.

I don’t remember any party, either.

Graduation from UND in 1963 was nothing special either. My folks came to Grand Forks and when it was over we went home. I seem to remember that we had dinner at Whitey’s Cafe in East Grand Forks, Minn.

The graduation I remember is the one in February of 1968 when I graduated from the Infantry Officer Candidate School at Fort Benning, Ga. The graduation was preceded by six months of grueling, difficult training and hazing and when the little gold bar of a lieutenant was attached to my shoulders, I was as proud as all the other guys in the class. Only about 40 percent of those who began the course finished it successfully. We threw our enlisted men’s caps in the air just like you see in the movies. We didn’t bother looking for our caps because we now wore officers’ caps, which are slightly different.

There was no party after this graduation either. I jumped in my car and headed for home for a two-week leave.

Don’t feel sorry for me. Over the years I made up for those missed parties many times.

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People who care will be going to the polls on June 13 to pass judgment on candidates and issues.

Voters in most cities will be voting on whether or not the governing body of the city should appoint a five-member advisory study committee to study and report on the performance of local government functions and restructuring options available to the city.

I can tell you that this is an absolutely unnecessary committee. City councils in our small towns are approachable by all citizens and this extra committee is not needed. Getting people to serve on the committee is futile. In many cases it’s almost impossible to get people to run for council and park board positions. The state legislature should amend this law to exempt towns of less than 2,500 from having to vote on this issue every five years. In the meantime, I urge you to vote NO on this issue.

Minnewaukan will not be voting on this issue. Instead, a home rule charter and the adoption of a 1.5% sales tax will be put before the people.

For the sales tax to be adopted, the charter has to be adopted. I urge Minnewaukanites to vote YES on both issues.

A sales tax is the best way the city can get an estimated $6,000 per year in revenue. It will not be earmarked, but will go into the general fund, where it can be put to the most pressing use.

The city is not in financial difficulty, but if the 1980 tractor blows up or the 1977 pickup dies, there is no money to replace these essential vehicles.

The city has to stand the cost of water and electricity at the fish cleaning station because, according to federal and state rules, no fees can be charged to those who use it. This is about the only way we can get out-of-town fishermen to help pay the cost of operation.

There are two constitutional measure on the ballot, placed there by overwhelming majorities in both houses of the state legislature.

Passage of these two measures will remove outdated language from the state constitution. Passage of Measure 2 might even result in increased economic activity in North Dakota.

Vote YES on both these measures.

County Measure No. 1 would just continue a $1 per month fee on telephones for another six years. The money goes to operate the 911 system. We need the 911 system. Definitely vote YES on this one.

Again, vote NO on that one city committee issue and YES on all the other measures.

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We have a letter to the editor endorsing Preston Meier for the state senate. Earlier we had a letter endorsing Dr. Frank Walker for the state senate. They are running against each other in the Republican primary election June 13.

This newspaper will publish no more letters endorsing candidates and will not publish any letters pertaining to the candidates in the next issue, which is the last issue before the election.


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