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May 12, 2004     Sentinel Tribune
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May 12, 2004

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SENTINEL TRIBUNE e lewpolnt Wednesday, May 12, 2004 EDITORIAL Don't kill the messenger The United States has a black mark on it's image, with recent revelations of abuse in Iraqi prisons. The persons responsible must be held accountable for their actions. How far this will go is open for question. Were these soldiers ordered to do what they did? Or was it spontaneous on their part. It is probably not fair to blame Secretary Rumsfeld for what has happened in this case. However it sounds as though he has known about the problem at least since January. Although he and president Bush claim they found out about it the same time we did. Some people have said it's the fault of the medial because they only cover the bad things, that happen in Iraq. It certainly is true, the media does tend to cover a lot of bad news, particularly at the national level. Although in fairness, there has also been stories aired on the humanitarian efforts of our troops abroad. It is said that the media sensationalizes the news. In actuality the media does report sensational news far more than it does the less sensational. But that is not sensationalizing the news -- there is a difference. If these pictures had never come to light, would we be any better than the former dictatorial regime of Saddam? I think not, for those who think anything goes, because we are at war. Think again -- the United States military is bound to uphold the Uniform Code of Military Justice, and the Geneva Convention. It is unfortunate that these infractions of the Geneva Convention are sometimes compromised by a few of our military personnel. But it would be a far worse crime ff the facts were never brought to light through the media. Others have said we have nothing to apologize for after the way our citizens were killed, and their bodies burned, dragged through the streets, and hung from a bridge. These are horrible crimes, and the rest of the world should have been as appalled as we were. But the bottom line is, if we expect others to do what is right, then we must take the moral high ground, and show by our own example what freedom and democracy are "about. BETWEEN THE By Tom Merchant Sentinel Tribune LINES No smoking please Recently several cities have tried to implement no smoking bans in bars and restaurants. Naturally that has stirred more tF, an a bit of controversy among the die hard smokers. (pun intend- ed) I am sorry folks to me this is a no bralner. It is purely a public health problem. Recently the city of Helena Montana implemented a no smok- ing ban in its bars and restaurants. A funny thing happened. The heart attack rate declined dramatically. This leads researchers to believe second-hand smoke is much more deadly than first thought. Seems to me those in charge did the right thing But then the ban was chal- lenged in the courts and ultimately struck down Well, guess what? Almost immediately the heart attack rate climbed back to its previous level. Of course the problem you have with a ban in metropolitan areas is the fact that some bars might lose business to nearby sub- urbs that do not have smoking bans. That is why I feel if a smok- ing ban is to work, it must be a state wide ban. Then it will work. Of course the smokers say the government should not regulate where a smoker can light up. Of course they already have done that. It is now illegal to smoke in any public building in the state. I also believe it is against the law to smoke on any public school prem- ises. Although I see that one bro- ken all the time. We have a lot of laws that are in the best interest of the public in the state. Seat belt laws, speed- ing, drinking and driving, and a host of others. We had a good helmet law at one timed and that was eliminated. I am not sure why, it can't be for safety reasons. Well I have been on my soap box long enough for this week. Have a great weekt LIKED TI41S... AI Bart... "Stories from the Batt Cave" The Bank Robbery That kind of thing isn supposed to happen in a small town. That's why some folks choose to live in a small town--to avoid such happenings. The Farmers State Bank located in Freeborn was robbed. A man armed with an assault rifle did the job. That's definitely not supposed to happen in a town of 300 people. "A nice, quiet town," is the way many people have described Freeborn. Small towns are supposed to have people like Jan Beach. People like Jan Beach are the reason that a lot of us choose to live in small towns. Jan has worked at the bank for 32 years. The robber came into the bank after firing his gun twice outside the bank. He told the bank employees that he wanted all of the money in the bank and fired his weapon into the ceiling. The robber was wearing a ski mask marked with swastikas and a bulletproof vest. This was a criminal with villainous intent. He told Jan to get the money for him. She didn know what to expect from the robber. Thoughts of being shot or taken hostage ran through her mind. She could see his gun, but she couldn see his intent. There was a fear of the unknown. There was a fear of the known. Jan asked the robber if he had brought a bag. He hadnl thought of that. Without asking if he wanted paper or plastic, Jan pulled a garbage bag from the waste basket. The robber hurried her on her way with a nudge of the gun. The robber said, =Move it!" and fired another round into the ceiling. While Jan was getting the money, a loan officer was forced to lie on the floor of the lobby of the bank. A customer was curled up under the counter near the robber. The robber was yelling and curs- ing about the US government and what they owed him. He com- plained about =the bunch of Nazis in the White House." Then he looked at Jan as if it were her fault. She told him that it wasn't her fault. She had emptied three teller drawers of money and put them into the plastic bag along with the facial tissues and other garbage already residing there. The robber cOmplained about the denominations of the bills, thinking they were all ones and fives. He asked for the money in the vault, but Jan told him that a time lock prevented her from getting to it. The robber mentioned something about tracers being with the money, swore profusely and left the buiidincJ. Jan's coolness and calmness m dealing with a life-threatening situa- tion had made sure that no one in the bank was injured. She dealt with frightening circumstances with bravery and resolve. As soon as the robber had left the scene, the bank's alarm was set. off and 911 was dialed. The alarm company called the bank to see if it was a false alarm, but no one in the bank was able to answer the phone as they were busy dealing with customers and getting their wits together. The alarm company called Jan's house and talked to her husband, Jim. Jim called the bank about the alarm. That learned about the robbery. By the time the em able to exit the bank, three worded husbands side for them. i al The employees were physically. Professionals were talk to them about the incident would have on t Jan says she doesnt as she used to. mares. She has felt . and anger. The robber was not until after he shootout with One squad car su holes. Things like a bank supposed to happen in like Freeborn. Local folks breathed sigh of relief when they no bank employees were We love our small We want them to the kind of place that move to and never away from. As long as we have Jan Beach-this will be We may have lost a bit c cence, but thank our good people. Beach. You dont need to famous to find your heroes." . . Ill t There are heroes ngtt hometown. -,1 Batt 2004 71622 325 St. Hartland, MN 56042 SPEAK UP We welcome your participa- tion, whether in letters or com- mentary. If possible, please make your submission by e-mail to sen- Conventional mail address is Sentinel Tribune, P.O. Box 98,. Westbrook, MN 56183. Our 'Fax number is 507- 274-6137. We require submis- sions be exclusive to us in our market area. All must include writ- ers name, address, and day time telephone number. Letters should be brief, up to 250 words, other submissions should be no longer than 500 words. Original items can not be returned unless the writer would pick them up at the office or send self addressed stamped envelope. No items will be kept longer than 30 days. 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Sentinel Tribune Thomas Merchant Roxy Soil Tom Merchant Junette Merchant Nancy Goring Joan Spielman i (ISSN 8750-3905) 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 Peach). Elsewhere in Minnesota $29.00 per year. Out of the State $34.00 per year. Canada and foreign countries inquire at the Sentinel Tribune Office "Snowbirds" may put their paper on hold at no extra charge while they are gone, or pay $6.00 extra to have it mailed out of state. Missed copies cannot be furnished because the cost of mail- ing single copies is almost $1.50. 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