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March 30, 2011     Sentinel Tribune
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SENTINEL TRIBUNE \\;\ VIEWPOINT Wednesday, March 30, 2011 Page 4 BETWEEN THE LINES By Tom Merchant - Sentinel Tribune -- tmerchant@ncppub.com Inequality... Last week I received an op-ed piece from the MinnPost.com written by Nancy Maeker and Dane Smith. It talks about the grow- ing disparity between the rich and the poor. It goes on to state; the rich are indeed getting richer and the poor are indeed getting poorer. The top one percent of us on the income ladder are benefiting from unprece- dented share of income and wealth, while enjoying historically low federal and state tax rates despite chronic budget shortfalls. The sad truth is those of us stuck on the bottom or near the bottom of the lad- der are officially impover- ished, and are once again the targets for all the bud- get cuts at the federal and state level. Poverty trends over the past ten years for Minnesota are embarrassing to say the least. Recent recessions, while inconvenient for wealthy investors (most which have already recov- ered) have been devastat- ing for many Minnesotans who lost jobs, or benefits, or got swindled by unscrupu- lous mortgagers and lost their home and life savings. Our poverty rate has dropped us out of the best ten states with the lowest percentage of people living n poverty. Only four states have had a higher poverty rate over the past ten years. Only Mississippi, Georgia, and South Dakota got poor- er faster! In one year from 2008 to 2009 we added 57,000 people to the official poverty ranks leaving 563,000 Minnesotans or about 11 percent of our population in that category. Maker and Smith say in 2011, the top 10 percent of households are projected to have about 45 percent of the state's total income, while the bottom 10 percent will have less than 1 percent of income. Thus, if the bot- tom ten percent could dou- ble its share of income, the other 90 percent would only lose 1 percentage point of its share of the total personal income. They go on to say while our state and federal gay- ernments are not solely responsible for alleviating poverty, they must play a stronger role providing a modernized education sys- tem, and the best work force in the world. They need to restore work as a pathway out of poverty. Help Minnesotans build and maintain financial assets. Refocus and redesign public assistance. I feel overall, this is not the time to be slashing pro- grams that help people work their way out of pover- ty. It is a proven fact, chil- dren who grow up in pover- ty will be much more chal- lenged in finding their way out of poverty. Students that go to school hungry have a difficult time concentrating on their studies. Children liv- ing in broken families also face challenges in school. Children who are homeless face even greater challeng- es, from hunger to negative peer pressure. There is plenty of wealth in this country, for all people to live and prosper. But until we solve the growing prob- lem of poverty, we will always have to deal with it at great expense to our soci- ety. I was reading the Declaration of Independence, and it states: We hold these truths to be self evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happi- ness. I think most people are familiar with that sentence. However I wonder how many people are familiar with the last sentence in the Declaration? It states: And for the support of this decla- ration, with a firm reliance on the protection of Divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our lives, our fortunes and our sacred honor. Nancy Maeker is a Lutheran Pastor and execu- tive director of A Minnesota Without Poverty. Dane Smith is the president of Growth & Justice. Have a great week! Mission Statement The Sentinel Tribune serves the residents and business com- munity of Cottonwood, Redwood, Murray and Lyon County and southwest Minnesota by applying its available resources to accurately and consistently produce a quality newspaper which thoroughly covers the news of the area, stimulates thought and conversation, delivers advertising messages in a timely manner, and provides information of general value to its public. In so doing contributes to the overall quality of life and economic health of its readers, advertisers and community in general while stimulating the professional development of its employees. AI Bart... "Stories from the Batt Cave" Cow tipping I was in the Indianapolis Airport. I walked by one of those shops selling items at prices that convinced me that the propri- etors had no clue as to what the going price was for anything. It was there that I saw a T-shirt that read, "Nothing tips like a cow." Maybe it was made to be worn by waiters at vegetarian restau- rants. A week later, a fellow from Boston asked me about the rural pastime called cow tipping. Supposedly, bumpkins like me sneak up on a dozing cow, give it a push, and then run as if our feet had wings. Not the greatest entertainment value even at no charge. The Bostonian asked me how often I tipped a cow. He was disappointed to hear that I had never tipped a single bovine. You wouldn't want to bother a bull, it's not easy lneaking.up on a cow, and cows do not tip easily. It'd be like tipping a 1000- pound concrete statue that is capable of running. If we could tip cows, the wind would be able to as well. I gave the man from Boston some good advice. Tip your waitress. Don't tip cows. Have you ever wondered? If the U.S. Weather Service has a window? If Jimmy cracks corn and no one cares, why is there a song about him? Did Prozac end the Great Depression? Would people read more if there was a remote control that turned the pages for them? If violence is never the answer, why is football so popular? If you buy something you don't need, are you stealing from your- self? Will the wind power farms use up all the wind? How do you find out who is the president of the Liars' Club? Why someone who plays the President in a movie or in a TV show makes so much more money than the actual President makes? Poodles wear sweaters. Do they ever wear poodle skirts? Did you know? That even after laser surgery, you will be unable to make toast by staring at bread. It was Colonel Mustard in the study with the candlestick. One hundred percent of the people bitten by a rattlesnake were close to the snake. Ask AI Customers of this column ask the greatest questions. The answers are mine. "When can I drive on a frozen lake?" When you don't fall in. "How can deer tell me what kind of winter is coming?" If the winter is going to be harsh, the . fur on the north sides of their bodies will be thicker than that on the south sides. "What is the secret to suc- cessful home repairs?" To have them finished before someone tells you that you are doing them wrong. "Why shouldn't I use wet logs in my fireplace?" Because you should always let weeping logs dry. "Why do women love men in uniform?" Because those men have shirts and pants that match. "What is a group of skunks called? A phew. "My air conditioner doesn't work. Any suggestions?" Have you tried shampooing the air first? "Did your father-in-law give your wife away at your wed- ding?" He wouldn't give her away. I'm renting her by the month. "What was Isaac Newton famous for?" Universal gravita- tion, the three levels of motion, and having a delicious filling. "1 put a seashell to my ear and didn't hear the ocean. What's wrong?" You likely had a shell that was playing the Dead Sea. Hartland news I have a neighbor named Hartland Harold. He knows what is going on. He is a newspaper in Red Wing boots. Here are the local headlines according to Hartland Harold. Police search for jokester who sprayed the watermelons with hair-in-a-can at the Aisle See What We Have Grocery. The Burp and Belch Buffet offers wheelbarrows to frequent eaters. Story about amphibians to be on the evening newts. Because Monday comes on Tuesday next Wednesday, the regular Thursday meeting of the Farming Philosophers Forum will be held on Friday this Saturday because Sunday is a holiday. The $1.29 Store opens, hop- ing for a higher clientele than those of the dollar stores. Two small cities, Two Bits and One Horse, decide to share a policeman. He will be the area's first sharecopper. The Sausage Shop opens a bed and breakfast. Guests will have the opportunity of going from bed to wurst. Longtime vinegar factory worker, Dan Druff, suffers from pickled hearing. Doctors without boarders. Splint Eastwood's Clinic unable to rent out apartments. Ray King's Landscaping Service offers on-the-job terrain- ing to new employees. AI Batt 2011 71622 325 St. 1-1, MN 56042 http://albatt.net/ What can you do to prevent illness? Now is the time to get the most from your Medicare. The best way to stay health is to live a healthy lifestyle. Medicare can help by paying for many preventative services to keep you healthy. You can stay healthy, live longer, and delay or pre- vent many diseases by doing the following: * Exercise: Do any physical activity you enjoy for 20-30 minutes, 5 days a week. Talk to your doctor about the right exercise program for you. * Eating well: Eat a healthy diet of different food, like fruits, vegetables, protein (such as meat, fish or beans), and whole grains (such as brown rice). You should also limit the amount of saturated fat you eat. * Keeping a healthy weight: Watch your portions, and try to balance the number of calories you eat with the number you bum by exercising. * Not smoking: If you smoke, talk with your doctor about getting help to quit. * Get preventative services: Delay or lessen the effects of diseases by getting preventative services, such as your Annual Wellness visit or Welcome to Medicare physical to find disease early, and shots to keep you from getting dangerous illnesses. Call the Senior LinkAge Line for assistance with questions related to your Medicare coverage. Help is available over the phone or in-person. The Senior LinkAge Line is a free service of the Minnesota Board on Aging, as well as the State Health Insurance Assistance Program (SHIP). Specialists provide one- to-one assistance with all Medicare and health insur- ance issues and also provide in-depth long-term care options counseling. Call 1-800-333-2433 for assis- tance or go to www.MinnesotaHelp.info to chat live with a Senior LinkAge Line specialist. Sentinel Tribune (ISSN 8750-3905) Thomas Merchant Managing Editor Junette Merchant Office & Production Joan Spielman Office & Production Jessica Noding Marketing Specialist 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, and Murray $38.00 per year. Elsewhere in Minnesota $42.00 per year. Out of the state $48.00 per year. Canada and foreign countries inquire at the Sentinel Tribune Office. If wrong amount is submitted subscrip- tion will be pro rated accordingly. "Snowbirds" may put their paper on hold at no extra charge while they are gone, or pay $5.00 extra to have it mailed out of state. Missed copies cannot be furnished because the cost of mailing single copies is about $2.00. Any request for a back copy must include $3.00. Newstand price is $1.00 per copy. Copyright 2011 Sentinel Tribune a New Century Press Newspaper Mail Change of Address Notice to: P. O. Box 98, Westbrook, MN 56183 CALL WESTBROOK OFFICE 507-274-8136 FAX 507-274-8137 TOLL-FREE 1-800-410-1859 News Desk E-mail sentrib@ncppub'cm Editor tmerchant@ncppub.com OR DROP NEWS ITEMS AT THE OLESON'S MERCANTILE WALNUT GROVE Monday thru Friday 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Saturday 9:00 a,m. to 4:00 p.m. (Ads & News items are picked up 9:00 a.m. on Friday) DEADLINES All news 12 Noon Monday All Peach Ads 9 am Friday Sentinel Tribune Ads 12 Noon Monday Classified Ads 9 am Friday (All non-business ads must be pre-paid) WESTBROOK SENTINEL TRIBUNE OFFICE HOURS Monday, Tuesday 8:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m. Wednesday 8:30 a.m. - 12:00 p.m. Thursday 8:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m. Friday 8:30 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.