2/17/2010 – Editorials


By Richard Peterson

 

I got a call from Barb Mullins of the ND State Climate Office at NDSU inquiring about a story that appeared in the July 24, 1969 issue of the Farmers Press. It was reported that hail up to eight inches in diameter fell north of Warwick. The hail hit the farms of Carroll, Lee and Wendell Anderson and Gust Berg.

Ms. Mullins wants to speak to anyone who remembers this phenomenon because it might be a world record as far as hail size is concerned.

She’s especially interested in any photos that may have been taken of the hailstones. Her phone number is 701-231-8574.

She said she had spoken to Lee Anderson. I don’t know where Wendell Anderson is. Carroll Anderson and Gust Berg are deceased.

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Devils Lake will continue its rise this spring and there will be major problems. One of the biggest problems will be right here at Minnewaukan.

I’ve said many times in this column that if the lake rises to 1455, Minnewaukan will no longer be viable as a city.

The National Weather Service will make its prediction of the lake’s likely level on Friday. That prediction is based on the present amount of snow in the Devils Lake Basin and factoring in "normal" precipitation for the rest of the spring. It’s an educated guess, but it’s been pretty accurate in the past.

One major weather event can throw all the predictions in the world out the window. A heavy snowfall in March or April could be the death knell for Minnewaukan.

Unless, of course, the residents of the city ask the US Army Corps of Engineers to build a dike for $8 to $10 million (25% local match) plus annual maintenance costs indefinitely. Those maintenance costs include pumping rainwater and seepage water from the dry side into the lake. It would be terribly expensive for the citizens who remain. I don’t think it would be very effective because the high ground water would flood virtually every basement in town and infiltrate the sewer system.

As the National Flood Insurance Program buys out people who have the flood insurance endorsement, the viability of the town goes down with every settlement.

No, folks, I don’t think a dike is the answer. I think the least bad solution would be a buyout of the town. I don’t think we’re at that point just yet, but I fear it’s close. We’ll see what the National Weather Service says on Friday.

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The right-wingers are now tea fanciers, attending so-called tea parties where they can spout their hatred of government.

But without government and its programs, this would be a pretty bleak place.

Government supported schools educate the populace. Many veterans have taken advantage of the educational opportunities offered by the GI Bill.

That investment by government has resulted in an economic engine that returned the original investment many times over.

The hated government provides roads and bridges. The federal government provides federal aid for many of our county roads. Without that money, those roads simply could not have been built.

The hated government provided loans and subsidies to electrify rural areas through Rural Electric Cooperatives after private utilities said they weren’t interested.

Government programs got many people through the Great Depression by providing jobs. Some of the projects are still giving benefits after 70 years.

Social Security is a socialistic program that tea party fanciers hate with a passion. They hate it mostly because it is very successful and popular. Another socialistic program is Medicare, an equally popular program that the tea partiers would like to end. Once again, they hate it because it’s a government program that works well and proves that government can do something right.

We can thank the hated government for FDIC insurance which guarantees that our bank accounts won’t vanish when banks go bust.

There are many, many more government programs that we really don’t want to be without. I wonder how many tea partiers are refusing Medicare and Social Security benefits out of principle.


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