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April 27, 2011     Sentinel Tribune
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April 27, 2011

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SENTINEL TRIBUNE VIEWPOINT Wednesday, April 27, 2011 Page 4 BETWEEN THE LINES Minnesota has the 10th lowest rate of state and "Businesses have joined with Gov. Mark Dayton local business taxes on new investment, according to in seeking moderation in cuts in these areas. The a study released Wednesday by Ernst & Young for cuts proposed by the legislature would eliminate 500 the Council on State Taxation, a study group of 600 faculty from the University of Minnesota. By Tom Merchant - Sentinel Tribune -- tmerchant@ncppub.eom OK irs spring m Already? Yesterday I blew a path through a 2 foot snow drift in my back yard so I could get to my bird feeders easier. I thought maybe with Easter being about as late as it can be that my snow would be gone by then. Now it looks like the first week in May. It's kind of hard to get fired up about spring when the seven day forecast looks like rain, rain, cloudy, partly cloudy, rain, chance of rain, and more rain. I have to think it is hard not to get depressed when it stays cold, wet and cloudy for several days in a row, especially when the calen- dar says Spring! I guess we have to think positive, things could be a whole lot worse. Just ask the people in Japan, Haiti, or Libya, and a whole raft of other places around fine world. Also the deep south has had way more than its share of tornados, snow storms and floods. Then there is the floods along the Red River and out in South Dakota. I guess when you consider all of those things, maybe we don't have that much to complain about. But I sure will appreciate it when Spring actually pops into the area. On the other hand, is this just a publicity stunt to bol- ster his TM ratings? He really seems to be whipping a dead horse, by asking President Obama to produce a valid birth certifi- cate. Even Michele Bachmann has gone on record as accepting Obama's birth record. Do you know where your birth certificate is? I think mine is in our safe deposit box. But honestly do you think anyone could get past the vetting process without being able to prove that they were in fact born a natural citizen of this coun- try? Not to mention the scru- tiny he received from politi- cal opponents? A friend of mine sent me a forwarded email that questioned that and several other things about President Obarna and first lady Michelle. For the fun of it I looked up several of the items on snopes and found all of the ones I looked up were false except one about Michelle. It asked why she had to have 22 White House assistants while other first lady's only had one. Well that one was cor- rect, except for one thing, Laura Bush actually had between 24 and 26 assis- tants! I emailed back my friends with the facts and told them that sending these forwards, while false in nature, also help spammers create lists to sell to other spammers. Especially bad are the ones that ask you to forward them to 10 or 20 of your friends ..... If you want to cut down on the spam, quit forward- ing all of this junk email. Don't we all have better things to do? Have a good week and do good! Trump for president... One program I kind of enjoy is Donald Trump's Celebrity Apprentice. The main reason I like it is because of the mix of ego- tistical, and somewhat dys- functional people that he .--essembles for his competi- tive tasks. Of course now he is toy- ing with the idea of running for president, I am assuming he means president of the United States. Of course he can't throw his hat in the ring until after the comple- tion of his number one hit show. Social s00curity . and pu lic service By Elizabeth Anders SS District Manager Public Service Recognition Week takes place from May 1 to May 7, 2011. We at Social Security appreciate the hard work and dedication of not only our own employees but all people who serve the American public. Celebrated the first week ofMay since 1985, Public Service Recognition Week is a nationwide public education campaign honoring the men and women who serve our nation as Federal, State, county and local government employees - such as school teachers, police officers, and fire fighters - and who ensure that our government is the best in the world. Recognition of public service goes back further than 1985. In 1961, President John F. Kennedy said, "Let the public service be a proud and lively career. And let every man and woman who works in any area of our national government, in any branch, at any level, be able to say with pride and with honor in future years: 'I served the United States Government in that hour of our nation's need.'" Social Security employees consider it a privilege to serve the American public. You only need to visit an office, call our toll-free number, or visit to see that when it comes to serving the public, we want to be the best. A convenient service option for many Americans is our web site. For example, if you need to obtain general information about Social Security, apply for benefits, or get an estimate of your future benefits, visit us online at or go directly to our online services page at www'scialsecurity'gv/nlineservices. You also can call Social Security toll-free at 1-800-772-1213 (TTY 1-800-325-0778) or visit your local Social Security office. If you're not sure where the nearest office is located, just visit www.socialsecurity. gov/onlineservices and select the "Social Security Office Locator" at the left side of the page. Learn more about Social Security at corporations. "Minnesota has a tax system that is very favorable for businesses," Wayne Cox, executive director of Minnesota Citizens for Tax Justice, said. "The Council on State Taxation also found last year Minnesota is 15th lowest in business taxes as a share of business activity. "These findings conducted by the nation's largest corporations provide an accurate picture of why Minnesota is a great place for businesses. But there are danger signs. Leading studies also show taxes aren't a major factor in business growth decisions. Adequate transportation, quality education and access to a talented workforce count more. The bud- get cuts proposed by the Minnesota legislature would weaken these areas. "Minnesota doesn't need a brain drain. Other areas where business groups seek to protect services important to their future include transit, light-rail, better outcomes in education and maintenance of essential local services." Several local chambers of commerce have urged Dayton to protect local government aid so their cities can retain jobs and fulfill their economic-growth plans. Thus far, the legislature has not acted on Gov. Dayton's plan, also backed by some local chambers, for increased employment through rebuilding efforts at universities and other public facilities. The new COST study can be found at http://www. A I BaH... "stories from the Baft Cave" Itwas a fair ride Do you remember your first time? I remember mine. The older guys had told me that it would be wonderful. But I was nervous. I had reason to be nervous. I was only seven-years-old. It was a day of destiny. It hap- pened at the county fair back in the day when a trip to the fair was considered a vacation. It was the day I finally got up the courage to ride one of the scary amusement rides on the mid- way. It was called the Satanic Stomach Pumper. I had to ride it in order to give meaning and purpose to the universe. "When will we get to the fair?" I asked as we left home. "It isn't far," answered my mother. "How far?" I was insistent. 'Vhen you get on that ride, you'll wish the fair was a good deal:fartl'ier away than it :iS/' my father chuckled. Dad parked the car and we walked the fairgrounds to the midway--a noisy street of loud voices, carnival games, and amusement park rides. My mother asked if I was sure that I wanted to go on the ride. I didn't know much, but I was proud to know a little. I wanted to go on that ride. Hiding my anxiety, I claimed to be ready, willing, and able to tackle the Satanic Stomach Pumper, my personal Mount Everest. I watched the ride. It was a nasty blur. A parade of strobe lights. I got in a line to get on the ride. There was no sign telling me how tall I needed to be in order to ride. A carnival worker, burnt brown from distant fairs, seated me securely, locking me in place with a bar across my lap. No safety helmet. He was wearing gloves so that he would leave no fingerprints at the scene of the crime. He had found the secret to happiness was to charge those looking for happiness. "Keep your mouth shut, kid," advised the guy running the ride. 'q'here are a lot of bugs out today." Saying that, he gave a lever a shove and I took off as if I were late for lunch. Suddenly I was spinning, bouncing, and twirling as if I'd swallowed a jet-powered marshmallow. The operator's life might have already been on a downward spiral. My descent had just begun. I could see the man's lone, yellow tooth in the middle of what I took for a smile. It could have been a sneer. He reminded me of that friend that everyone has who owns a vicious dog. The dog is snarling at the world when the friend says, "Do you want to see something funny? Pretend you're going to hit me." I was spinning at supersonic speeds. I screamed but heard no sound. My stomach struggled to keep up. My goal had been to ride the Satanic Stomach Pumper. It had been replaced by a new goal. To keep from losing last year's Thanksgiving meal. I was thankful that I had limited my grease intake at the fair. It became apparent that my expectations and reality were not aligned. I wondered if any- one had lived through such an adventure. There might have been a light at the end of the tunnel had I been able to find the tunnel. Every so often, I could see my parents smiling and waving as I zoomed past. They could smile. Their feet were planted firmly on terra firma. My cheeks (all of them) flapped from the effects of the G-force. It was a ride that Job went on. Toto flew by. Images of the Inferno from Dante's Divine Comedy hobbled past. I became one of the ride's harsher critics. Somehow, I kept from cry- ing. The ride came to a merciful end after I had yelled, "Make it stop" 97 times. I staggered from the ride and sniffed myself thor- oughly. I didn't want any dogs rolling on me. I didn't get a single frequent flier mile. I unfriended the ride. The fellow in charge of the ride asked me if I would like to take another cruise. If the Satanic Stomach Pumper had been a phone, I wouldn't have pressed the "redial" button. I learned that we all make hor- rible decisions. It's good when we live through them. I wasn't going to trip over the same rock twice. Think twice, do once. "Nice going," said the man operating the Satanic Stomach Pumper. "Way to cowboy up." I nodded modestly. He was still a burnt brown. My tan had faded to green. AI Batt 2011 71622 325 St. 1-1, MN 56042 Seedlings to be given away on Arbor Day McDonald's(r) and Minnesota Forest Industries team up b More than a half-million trees have been given away in ten years For the tenth consecutive year, McDonald's restaurants through- out Minnesota are teaming up with Minnesota Forest Industries (MFI) to give away more than 55,000 free seedlings to McDonald's cus- tomers on Arbor Day, Friday, April 29. Red Pine seedlings the Minnesota state tree - will be available at more than 225 partici- pating McDonald's in Minnesota, while supplies last. No purchase is necessary. KARE-TV in the Twin Cities is also a sponsor. "McDonald's is pleased to once again team up with Minnesota Forest Industries in what has become an annual tradition of helping Mirmesotans plant trees in yards all over the state," said Paul Ostergaard, McDonald's Twin Cities co-op president and owner/ operator of three Twin Cities-area McDonald's restaurants. "Many people come back to McDonald's every Arbor Day to get a new tree to add to their own backyard." Again this year, jMcDonald's and MFI are inviting people to enter to win one of five large, free trees that will be given away and planted in winners' yards. In 2010 more than 2,100 Minnesotans entered. Winners were drawn from the Minnesota cities of Circle Pines, Moose Lake, Parkers' Prairie, Red Wing, and Stacy. Wayne Bran&, MFI executive vice president, said people have four ways to enter: clipping an entry form from McDonald's Arbor Day trayliners that will be in restaurants in April; download- ing an entry form from www.min-; filling in the entry form provided with each of the 55,000 free seedlings; or sim- ply by mailing in their name, address and phone number to: Minnesota Tree Contest, 903 Medical Arts Building, 324 W. Superior St., Duluth, MN 55802. The entry deadline is May 13, 2011. More than half a million seed- lings have been given out to peo- ple across Minnesota during these past 10 years, while also helping educate residents about the impor- tant role trees play in the state," said Wayne Bran&, MFI executive vice president. "Minnesota has more trees today than we had 50 years ago, thanks to our state's for- est management practices and efforts like this one. MFI, an association represent- ing Minnesota's forest products industry, encourages conservation, proper forest management and industry development that foster sound environmental stewardship, multiple uses of timberlands and long-term timber supply. 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. 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