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May 19, 2004     Sentinel Tribune
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May 19, 2004

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SENTINEL TRIBUNE Vi ewpolnt Wednesday, May 19, 2004 BETWEEN By Tom Merchant Sentinel Tribune THE LINES Gay marriage? Recently it became legal for gay couples to become married in the state of Massachusetts. I am really not in favor of the idea, at least not in the sense of using the word marriage specifically. I think the whole matter should be a problem of religion and not the state. But then I wonder, even though the state of Massachusetts is not supposed to marry gays from states where it is not allowed, it seems they are defying their own laws by doing so. Also the federal government does not recognize these unions in matters concern- ing medicare and social security. Then there is the problem of those gay couples returning to states that do not recognize gay marriages -- in this case I ask what is the point? Of course in the context of reli- gion I wonder why religion consid- ers this more of an abomination than other things we Christians are guilty of committing that are also considered sinful by scripture-- divorce for one. Fifty percent of all marriages end up in divorce, a sin according to scripture. Yet this is accepted even for clergy. I recall a biblical lesson about a woman accused of adultery, that was about to be stoned for her indiscretions. I believe Jesus said something to the effect, let the man that is without sin cast the first stone. I think these are pretty good words to live by. The sad part of this whole thing is I think this issue is going to divide many families, and church- es. It is hard to say where our country will go with this issue but it is certainly going to be a divisive issue for the churches and their members. The bottom line :s politicians need to stay out of this one. You can not legislate morality. Have a great week! LETTER TO THE EDITOR TOM'S Serf Serve Cash or Credit ARB00 G ' 00iorrSnt 9 You ain't seen nothin yet! Dear Editor: The Senate DFL began-the 2004 Legislative Session with three main goals: balance the state,s budget; approve a bonding bill to create jobs across the state; and toughen sentences for sex offenders. The Senate kept its promises to Minnesotans..We passed bills to: wipe out the $160 million budg- et gap by closing corporate tax loopholes and reducing the num- ber of high-paid political appointees; repair and build state- owned facilities at colleges and universities, veterans, homes, parks, and roads and bridges; and keep serious sex offenders locked up much longer, up to 60 years on a first offense and life in prison for a second. Unfortunately, the House Republicans and governor refused to work with us on these issues. As chair of the Senate Agriculture, Veterans and Gaming Committee, I was chief author of legislation impacting these areas. I was pleased the Senate and House were able to agree on retention and recruitment incen- tives for Guard members and pro- grams to benefit veterans, as well as a bill to promote ag livestock and protect farmers, rights. In Representative Elaine Harder to other news, the Legislature agreed to new science and social studies standards for students, and lower- ing the drunk-driving limit to .08. The session may be remem- bered for being extremely partisan. I am disappointed to see this hap- pen. In these economic times, it,s important to come together, not divide apart. There was an oppor- tunity to balance the budget, approve a bonding bill, and lock up sex offenders for longer sen- tences, but it slipped through our fingers. I appreciate all the calls, let- ters, e-mails, and visits from you this session. I always appreciate your input. Please continue to contact me at 226 State Capitol, 75 Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Blvd., St. Paul, MN 55155, sen.jim.vickerman @ or 651-296-5650. Sincerely, 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. Jim Vickerman State Senator, Dist. 22 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- ducea quality newspaper whicfi 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. In so doing contributes to the overall quality of life and economic health of its read- ers, advertisers and commu- nity in general while stimu- lating the professional devel- opment of its employees. down from Minnesota State H Following 10 years of serving southwest Minnesotans in the House of Representatives, State Representative Elaine Harder (R. Jackson) announces that she will end her legislative service when her term expires on December 31. "It has been an honor and a privilege to represent the citizens of District 22B," Harder said. "The people in southwest Minnesota gave me the opportunity of a life- time, and I thank them for allowing me to serve them for a decade." Harder, who currently chairs the House Agriculture and Rural Development Finance Committee, was first elected in 1994. She has also served as chair of the Sales and Income Tax Division of the House Taxes Committee and previ- ously was Chair of the House Ethics Committee, and Assistant Majority Leader. "During my tenure in the Minnesota House, my first two terms were spent in the minority; my last three terms were in the majority," Harder said. 'These dif- fering viewpoints gave me a ttnique perspective on how the legislative process truly works." Harder worked hard in the areas of mar- riage and parenting education in the Minnesota House, especially with the Premarital Education Incentive bill she authored. When asked about the highlights of her career, Harder points to the Woman's Right to Know Act, prop- erty tax reform, and economic development initiatives she helped approve. But agriculture issues were always a top priority with Harder, and she said the expansion of the ethanol, biodiesel, and wind generation industries and animal agriculture issues are among her top legislative accomplishments. Harder said that as She leaves the Minnesota House, she is look- ing forward to new opportunities where she can continue to f "I enjoyed a great pride for the people ties of our district," thank the wonderful District 22B for their the past ten years." From 1995 to redistricting moved the west, Rep. Harder western areas of Martin counties, and a Brown and Redwood ]HE Find us orl Web at _ www.lyoO" siouxpreSS" corn FIX TI4F. PlZOBLEI Sentinel Tribune (ISSN 8750-3905) Thomas Merchant " Managing Editor Roxy Soil Ad Layout & Office Manager Tom Merchant .Advertising Sales Junette Merchant Westbrook Office & Production Nancy Goring Production Joan Spielman Production Carolyn Van Loh assignment reporter Ted 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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