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February 4, 2004     Sentinel Tribune
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February 4, 2004

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SENTINEL TRIBUNE V leWpolnt Wednesday, February 4, 2004 I i il; , BETWEEN THE By Tom Merchant Sentinel Tribune LINES Prescription drugs I am not always in agree- ment with Governor Pawlenty, but I must applaud him and his administration for setting up a state run website to give infor- mation for Minnesotan's to pur- chase prescription drugs from Canada, through the mail. On the other hand there are some serious issues to deal with\\; One of them is making sure seniors who are not com- puter savvy, get the help they need to access these sources for cheaper drugs. Another issue is how is this going to affect our independent pharmacies in the state. Another question, and I think possibly the most critical. What are the drug companies doing to stop people from tak- ing advantage of the program. Governor Pawlenty addressed these issues on his weekly radio show Friday morning. He said there are- services to help the elderly work the system. Although I am not sure just what that might be. He also said that many peo- ple are already getting their drugs over the internet and from other sources, so it should not affect the small retail phar- macies that much. I am not so sure about that. On the last issue the drug companies are not taking this thing lying down. Some Canadian Pharmacies have received letters from the drug companies indicating they might have their supplies reduced or eliminated if they sell drugs to people in the United States. Just how deep are these drug companies in the pockets of our legislators? Are the drug companies immune to anti trust laws and collusion laws? It seems it is high time the federal government should begin an immediate investiga- tion into the pharmaceutical companies. The drug companies are enjoying the largest profits of any industry in the world. Remember back in the sev- enties when the Arab oil Cartel decided they wanted to make more money and doubled or tripled the price of crude oil? It wasn't long after that the government established a windfall profits tax imposed on the oil companies. If memory serves I believe this is where a lot of our energy conservation programs were started, includ- ing the low income fuel assis- tance program. Perhaps that is what is needed to be imposed on the pharmaceutical companies. It might be a way to fund a pro- gram to assist those who can- not afford both drugs and food. Have a great Week Gutknecht, Agriculture Committee discuss BSE First District Congressman Gil Gutknecht recently participated in a House Agriculture Committee hearing to review USDA's response to Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (BSE), or 'mad cow disease.' 'l'his could have been a total disaster for our livestock produc- ers," Gutknecht said. 'l'hanks to bold action by (Agriculture) Secretary Ann Veneman and USDA, consumer confidence has remained high. While beef prices have come off earlier highs, they remain higher than one year ago. This is good news for everyone involved with agriculture." The Committee heard testimo- ny from Secretary Veneman, who described USDA's reaction, investi- gation and future plans regarding the isolated case of BSE in Washington State, and potential future risk of BSE in the U.S. "I have complete confidence in our food suppb; and I congratulate all of those involved who helped mitigate risk from this single case of BSE. I am hopeful we can quick- ly reopen critical export markets to U.S. beef," Gutknecht concluded. LETTER TO THE EDITOR /, J i s!t!.,7"; iltl00 Ettt'tlA00 AI Bart... "Stories from the Batt Cave" Don't Let the Cat Out of the Bag My neighbor Crandall stops by. "How are you doing?" I ask. "Everything is copacetic. Let me tell you a tale that will melt your cold, cold heart. You know my sis- ter CrueUa. Were always been close. When we were kids, the two of us would sit around the table. Then one of us would get up and leave and the other one would try to guess who left. Cruella went shop- ping the other day. Her mind was elsewhere. She had dug her old miniskirt that she had worn in high school out of the closet. She had tried it on, but couldnl find room for more than one leg. She was driving her Yugo to the mall when she runs over a black cat. Cruella thought, "That's going to leave a mark." it was bad luck for the black cat to cross the road in front of a Yugo. Well, sir, Cruella felt plenty bad about it. She likes cats, but she went shopping anyway. She fig- ured that the cat was dead and there was nothing that she could do about it. She tried to forget about the cat. She bought a few things and then her guilt kicked in. She's Lutheran, you know. She couldnl stbp thinking about the cat. She hadnl finished her shopping, but she had to go back and get the cat off the road. She put her purchas- es into the Yugo and headed back to the scene of the crime. She found the cat right where she had left it. It was a feline in some state of decline." "What did she do?" I say. "Well, CrueUa got out of her Yugo and looked at the dead cat. She decided right then and there to give the cat a proper burial. She put all of her purchases from one shopping bag into another and put the cat into the emptied bag. She jumped into her Yugo and headed back to the mall. She needed to finish her shopping before she could bury the cat. It was crowded in the Yugo. If you'll excuse the expression, there wasnl enough room to swing a dead cat, but there was room for more shopping bags. As she neared the mall, she remembered that she had not put the bagged cat into the Yugo. In her haste, she had put the cat on top of the Yugo. She made an illegal u-turn and headed back to where she'd come to see if she could find the critter. It was then that she saw a big old fancy car pull off to the side of the road and pick up the bag. Cruella- watched the snazzy car drive away and she did what she had to do." "Make another illegal u-turn?" "Exactly. She followed the luxury car as it made its way towards the mall. The lady driving the car pulled into the shopping mall park- ing lot and parked her car kitty-cor- ner across three lanes so nobody would be able to ding the doors of her prized automobile. Cruella was surprised to see that when the lady got out of the car, she was carrying the shopping bag holding the dead cat." "1 bet the store with its name on the bag would have been so proud." "Cruella decided to follow the lady carrying the dead cat into the mall. The lady went right to the food court and bought herself a big cup of steaming hot coffee. I think it was the one-gallon size. She found herself a clean table and sat down, cup of joe in her hand. Cruella watched as the lady looked at the bag for a bit and she said she could almost see the wheels turning in the lady's brain. The woman decided to open the shopping bag and see what wonderful item Lady Luck had given her this day. She opened the bag. She let out shock. She poured the hot coffee in her lap. another scream backwards in her chair, herseff out cold." "Oh, my goodnessr I "Someone called 911 phone. There who has a cell long before ambulance came They put one of around the lady's neck. of like the one him to stop chewing put the lady on had begun to carry her mall when the pened." "What?" "Another woman came carrying the shopping dead cat in it." She paramedics, "Wait! shopping bag." --AI Batt 2004 71622 325 St. Hartland, MN 56042 ALASKA Please join AI Batt as tour to Alaska in July For a trip of a lifetime, ! 800-328-4298 or ask for information Batt in Alaska. NEBRASKA Interested in Crane migration along River in March? Join he leads a tour to America's greatest cle. For information, Mary Newhouse at National School Counselors Week Dear Editor: Did you know that there are people in your community and in your schools that assist children in managing all of the things they are faced with every day, whether that is poor grades, friendship problems, depression, anxiety, a parent being sent overseas because of the war, divorce or other difficulties? These same people help encourage children to do their best and help them cele- brate getting accepted to a col- lege, getting a part in a play, improving their grades, dealing with difficult situations, making a new friend--all of those moments in life that sometimes go unrecognized. These people are school counselors. The job of a school counselor is to help all children be success- ful in school and life, and your local school counselors do this in a variety of ways. They meet with children individually when they are struggling academically or emotionally. School counselors go into classrooms to teach skills necessary to be successful in our world. They work with parents to meet student needs. School coun- selors are advocates for children in all they do. The week of February 2rid is National School Counselors Week. Please take a moment during this week to let a sc[aool counselor know how much you appreciate what they have done for you or your child or your com- munity. Sincerely, JoanWisnlewski President, SW MN School Counselors' Association Sentinel Tribune Thomas Merchant Roxy Soil Wayne Rue Junette Merchant Nancy Goring Joan Spielman (ISSN 875O-39O5) Managing Editor Ad Layout & Office Manager Advertising Sales Westbrook Office & Production Production Production Carolyn Van Loh assignment reporter Teri Herder Walnut Grove news correspondent Published every Wednesday at Westbrook, Minnesota 56183 Periodicals Postage Paid at Westbrook, Minnesota 56183 SUBSCRIPTION PRICE FOR THE SENTINEL TRIBUNE WILL BE: In the following counties: Cottonwood, Redwood, Lyon, Murray 'and Nobles $25.00 Per Year - $17.00 6 Months (includes Mission Statement The Sentinel Tribune serves the residents and business community of Cottonwood, Redwood, Murray and Lyon County and southwest Minnesota by applying its available resources to accu- rately and consistently pro- duce a quality newspaper which thoroughly covers the news of the area, stimulates thought and conversation, delivers advertising mes- sages in a timely manner, and provides information of general value to its public. 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