Letters to the Editor
April 9, 2014
To the Editor:
April 6th through the 12th is National Volunteer Appreciation Week. Hands of Hope Resource Center would like to take this time to recognize and honor our volunteers that dedicate themselves to our agency in many ways. No matter what role each plays they are all an important part of our agency. Without them we would not be able to do this work.
Hands of Hope Resource Center
To the Editor:
April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month
Each year, county boards, governors and the President of the United States proclaim April as Sexual Assault Awareness Month. Like all proclamations, this one is about creating a public awareness of an issue that is affecting our lives, communities and nation. In the United States each year, there are over 237,000 victims of sexual assault and or rape, and those victims are ages twelve and up, and can be boys or girls. These crimes can and do happen in any community. This year’s focus of Sexual Assault Awareness Month is on youth with a theme of “It’s Time….To Talk About It”.
Teens and young adults are a very vulnerable population when it comes to being sexually assaulted, and knowing as many facts and as much information about preventing these attacks as you can is of vital importance to parents and youth. A twelve year old is most likely dealing with changing emotions, a physically changing body and some new found desires brought on by puberty, all of which are natural, but can also put them in harm’s way.
So here are a few facts to help us understand sexual assaults. For instance would you have guessed that two-thirds of sexual assaults are perpetrated by someone that the victim knows? I am guessing that most of us prefer to think that it is the person in shades and a leather jacket that jumps out of the bushes. Not so, and another unsettling fact is that over fifty percent of rapes and/or sexual assaults happen within one mile of a victim’s home or in the home. Scary thought, right? So how do we protect our youngsters from these life-altering victimizations? We do it by having an open and honest conversation about healthy sexuality, supporting and portraying healthy sexual development, and by talking, talking, talking to our young adults about healthy relationships and respect for one another, and providing them with safe environments.
If you would like more information about staying safe, or have been a victim of a sexual assault, and would like someone to talk to, or to know your rights as a victim of a crime, please feel free to contact Hands of Hope Resource Center. We have free and confidential advocacy services. You can contact us at 320-732-2319, toll free at 888-732-2319, or on our 24-hour crisis line at 1-800-682-4547. If you would like to stop in and talk in person we are in the Courthouse Annex 1 (Health and Human Services) building at 119 3rd St. So. in Long Prairie, and we are in the office Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Stay safe!
Respectfully submitted by,
Connie J. Nelson,
Hands of Hope Resource Center
April 2, 2014
To the Editor:
Random Thoughts by Marlo Benning caught my eye regarding being an independent newspaper.
It will be two years in September since I sent a first cousin reunion article and picture to a different paper. Eighteen cousins came including me! They ranged in age from seventy to the early nineties, and all were originally from or around Wadena, Deer Creek, Hewitt, Bertha and Eagle Bend.
When it wasn’t printed I called and talked to the editor at that time. His only answer as to why it wasn’t published was, they don’t print family reunion articles! I was angry, and hurt at the same time. All these cousins have health problems and now one, Laura Barnhart from Deer Creek, has passed away. I’m so glad your paper is independent and doesn’t have to dance to corporate rules and regulations!
March 5, 2014
To the Editor:
Well, here it is the first week of March and we’re still hitting well below zero temperatures (like 20 below). The snow piles are mammoth, the wood pile is miniscule. The price of heating oil and propane gas is obscene. The days are getting longer but tempers are getting shorter.
Not to worry though my friends, these problems are trivial and we should be ashamed to even mention them. I heard right from the mouth of our Secretary of State that global warming is the biggest and most immediate threat we face. Makes you kind of wonder where he’s from, doesn’t it? Oh to be in warm and fuzzy liberal la la land!
Oh well. I know you will find this hard to believe but even my mind goes adrift occasionally. Our local auto parts store has a birdcage. If you have an item to trade you put it in the birdcage and the local radio station will announce it for several days. After many days of cold weather and boredom setting in, I had the bright idea to ask my wife to go shopping with me. When asked why, I told her I wanted to go to the auto parts store to see just how big that birdcage was. Some people sure react strangely to being asked to go to an auto parts store!
Hang in there my friends, Spring is not far away now. I know this because when I was standing out in the cold I saw my shadow. Well, if a wood chuck in Pennsylvania can prognosticate, why can’t a partially Norwegian wing nut in Minnesota?
Stay warm and happy my friends,
February 19, 2014
To the Editor:
We just celebrated Valentine’s Day last Friday, a time that brings love and relationships to the forefront. Unconditional love and a healthy relationship is truly one of life’s finest blessings. Sadly for all too many this kind of relationship is not a reality.
Many lifelong relationships begin in our teen dating years, be they friendships or the love of their life, so it is vitally important that we understand what constitutes a healthy relationship, and that we have a right to expect that from the important someone’s in our lives.
So what does a healthy relationship look like? Well, one of the most important ingredients is RESPECT, respect of body, mind, and soul. Perhaps a good listener, someone that is trustworthy, kind, polite, considerate of you and others, is happy to let you be you, and respects that you are an individual in the relationship and that’s ok. Everyone has the ability to be all of these things, if they choose!
February is Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month, so an excellent time for a self-examination of ourselves and how we treat people we care about and spend time with. Are you kind and respectful or do you need to be in control of the relationship and where it goes? Proms, spring dances, and grad parties are all on the horizon, and should be exciting, fun-filled, safe times for all participants. One in three teens report that they have been in an abusive relationship.
I shared some things that make a relationship good, but what things should you be looking for, if your relationship isn’t feeling so good, or may even be making you feel unsafe? How about; jealousy, explosive temper, possessiveness, checking your cell phone or e-mail without your permission, isolating you from your friends or possibly also from your family, insisting that you should spend all of your time with him or her “if you really love me”, telling you what to do, put-downs or name calling, and last but not least, physically hurting you.
Now you choose which kind of relationship you want, because it is YOUR choice, as well as it is YOUR choice which kind of partner you will be!! Kind of a “no brainer” isn’t it? We all like to feel loved and safe. If you have concerns about your relationship please know that Hands of Hope Resource Center is a FREE and confidential resource that is as close as your phone or computer. We can be reached at 1-888-732-2319 or at 1-800-682-4547 (crisis #) or e-mail an advocate at: firstname.lastname@example.org or stop by our office in the Health and Human Services building in Long Prairie. We serve all of Todd and Morrison counties.
Hands of Hope Resource Center
February 12, 2014
To the Editor:
It seems there are more and more individuals, as well as groups, misusing the term, “Sustainable Agriculture.” Depending on what the agenda might be, the careless and totally wrong use of this word is used to make it more difficult for food producers of Todd County as well as other areas.
For the information of your readers:
“Sustainable Agriculture” was defined by an Act of Congress (Food, Agriculture, Conservation and Trade Act of 1990, Public Law 101-624, Title XVI, subtitle A, Section 1603).
We therefore believe there should not be confusion within the various groups who oppose farmers producing food in the best and safest manner in the world.
The following five criteria are not that difficult to understand as per the Act of Congress.
“The term sustainable agriculture means an integrated system of plant and animal production practices having site specific application that will, over the long term:
• satisfy human food and fiber needs;
• enhance environmental quality and the natural resources base upon which the agricultural economy depends;
• make the most efficient use of nonrenewable resources and on-farm resources and integrate, where appropriate, natural biological cycles and controls;
• sustain the economic viability of farm operations;
• enhance the quality of life for farmers and society as a whole.”
Todd County Farm Bureau Directors
February 5, 2014
To the Editor:
Affordable Horse Act....
The U.S. Government has just passed a new law entitled “The Affordable Horse Act” declaring that every citizen MUST purchase a new horse by April, 2014. These ‘affordable horses’ will cost an average of $10,000-$50,000 each. This does not include boarding, feed, vet and training fees, and the riding equipment.
This new law has been passed because, until now, typically only wealthy and financially responsible people have been able to purchase horses. This new law ensures that every American can now have an ‘affordable’ horse of their own, because everyone is ‘entitled’ to a new horse. If you purchase your horse before the end of the year, you will receive free turnout sheets (does not include S&H).
In order to make sure everyone purchases an ‘affordable horse’ the cost of owning a horse will increase on average of 250-400% per year. This way, wealthy people will pay more for something that other people don’t want or can’t afford to maintain. But, to be fair, people who can’t afford to maintain their horses will be regularly fined and children (under the age of 26) can use their parents ponies until they turn 27, after which date they must purchase their own horse.
If you already have a horse, you can keep yours (just kidding; no you can’t). If you don’t want or don’t need a horse, you are required to buy one anyhow.
If you refuse to buy one or can’t afford one, you will be regularly fine $800 until you purchase one, or face imprisonment. If you cannot (or don’t want to) purchase an ‘affordable horse’ from a private business, you can buy a starter pony from the U.S. Government ‘affordable pony exchange’. Such a pony will fulfill the basic requirements as far as soundness and trainability and will only cost ‘slightly more’ than a similar horse purchased from a private breeder.
Plus, since your tax dollars will subsidize the purchase of a horse from the U.S. government’s ‘affordable pony exchange,’ it will appear that you are getting a good deal.
Failure to use the horse will also result in fines. People living in the desert, ghettos, inner cities, or areas with no access to trails and/or farms/boarding facilities are not exempt. Pre-existing conditions such as age, lack of experience, nor general fear of animals are not acceptable excuses for not using your horse.
A government review board (that couldn’t tell the mare from the gelding) will decide everything, including when, where, how often and for what purpose you can use your horse, along with how many people can ride it. The board will also determine if one is too old or healthy enough to be able to use their horse, and will also decide if your horse has out-lived its usefulness or if you must purchase specific training accessories (like a $2,000 saddle) or a newer and more expensive horse.
Those that can afford horses will be required to do so...it’s only fair.
The government will also decide the name for each horse. Failure to comply with these rules will result in fines and possible imprisonment. Government officials are exempt from this new law. If they want a horse, they and their families can obtain mounts free at the expense of taxpayers.
This includes lifetime training, riding lessons, tack and automatic adjustments for boarding their animals at top notch facilities.
Unions, bankers and mega companies with large political affiliations ($$$) are also exempt.
Submitted by Larry Hudalla, Clarissa
January 29, 2014
To the Editor:
Are You Being Stalked?
January is Stalking Awareness Month. Just to clarify, stalking is defined as a course of conduct directed to a specific person and that would cause any reasonable person to feel fear.
Stalking is a serious crime, often times violent and can escalate over a period of time. Over six and a half million Americans are stalked every year, and the majority of people who stalk, are acquaintances of their victim.
So what behaviors constitute stalking? Following or spying on an individual, showing up at events or places without a legitimate purpose for being there, perhaps monitoring cell phone or computer use, sending unwanted cards and gifts, posting information or spreading rumors about the victim in a public place or tracking you through your GPS on your car.
The newest trend in stalking is, of course, technology, all the devices and social media that we use every day can be a stalker’s best friend. All of this is done with the intent of causing you fear.
Most stalking victims are female, in fact statistics say 80%, and most of the stalkers are partners or ex-partners. In domestic homicides, nationwide, 76% of victims had been stalked before they were murdered
Stalking behaviors are almost always a part of domestic violence scenarios, but can also be a factor in sexual assaults, physical assaults, threats, and property damage. We often hear of movie stars, famous singers and politicians being stalked by individuals who are angry with them or have uninvited fantasies of them. We really don’t have to look that far though to find stalking happening. It happens here as well, neighbors stalking neighbors, officials and agencies are stalked, causing threats and fear that often times includes the victim’s family and friends as well.
Stalking is a crime in all fifty states, though a very under-reported crime. There is not much you can do to prevent stalking, but what you can do if you think that you are being stalked by someone is to increase your personal awareness of your surroundings, report any suspicious events and document the events. If you are in great fear, you should call law enforcement.
Hands of Hope Resource Center can assist you in getting a restraining order if there is a documented pattern of events that have caused you fear. We can also help with safety planning or if it would be a criminal issue, we can be there to walk you through that process as well. To contact Hands of Hope Resource Center, call 320-732-2319 or our crisis line is 800-682-4547. We are also on the web at: www.handsofhope.net.
Respectfully submitted by
Connie Nelson, Hands of Hope Resource Center
January 8, 2014
To the Editor:
It seems there is not an end to the relentless, unfounded assaults on agriculture in Todd County. Much of this is do to NIMBY’S (not in my back yarders). Everyone demands the best food, while criticizing the practices and those who produce it for them. If everyone in this nation would produce more than they consume, there would not be a need for production agriculture. Anyone who does not feed themselves, does not have a basis for complaint. We would appreciate the opportunity to provide the following information for the readers of your paper. This is not based on hysterical emotionalism. It is based on facts collected from NASS, and other government agency’s presented at the Minnesota State Farm Bureau’s meeting and other sources.
In 1960 there were 59 million pigs in this country. It took six pounds of feed to produce one pound of pork. Today, there are 59.8 million pigs in this country and it only takes 3 pounds of feed to produce that same one pound of pork.
In 1960 there were 96.2 million beef cattle. The feed conversion was eight pounds of feed to produce one pound of beef. Today, there is 98.1 million head and the conversion ratio is four to one.
In 1960 there were 19 million head producing 123 billion pounds of milk. Today there are only 9.2 million head, producing 189 billion pounds of milk. This area alone reduces the carbon footprint needed to produce milk and cheese for the world by 70%.
Today, mainly due to urban sprawl and the unincorporated decimation of open space, there is 50 million less crop acres as there was in 1930. That is 15% less acres for food production. This is all occurring, while there are three times more people in the world since 1960.
In 2010 there was 87% more corn produced in this nation than in 1980, while applying 4% less nutrients. In approximations, that amounts to twice as much food with the same amount of crop nutrients.
Do people realize about 17% of the arable land is irrigated, while the same produces well over 40% of the food. It is estimated over 90% of potatoes grown is irrigated. If one does not like irrigation, quit eating french fries.
Unfortunately, these facts seem irrelevant to some NIMBY’S and as a consequence it is becoming more and more difficult for local food producers to stay in business.
Roger Zastrow, Long Prairie
Todd County Delegate,
MN Farm Bureau
Roger Dukowitz, Browerville
District 4 Representative,
MN Farm Bureau
Rita Decker, Eagle Bend
Todd County Farm Bureau Secretary
November 13, 2013
To the Editor:
March 21, 2010 to October 1, 2013 = 3 years, 6 months, 10 days.
December 7, 1941 to May 8, 1945 = 3 years, 5 months, 1 day.
What this means is that in the time we were attacked at Pearl Harbor to the day Germany surrendered is not enough time for this federal government to build a working webpage.
Mobilization of millions, building tens of thousands of tanks, planes, jeeps, subs, cruisers, destroyers, torpedoes, millions upon millions of guns, bombs, ammo, etc. Turning the tide in North Africa, Invading Italy, D-Day, Battle of the Bulge, Race to Berlin—all while we were also fighting the Japanese in the Pacific!!
And they can’t build a webpage.
November 6, 2013
To the Editor:
Hats Off To Public Schools
American Education Week, November 18th through the 22nd, is a great time to thank everyone that works or volunteers in any school. The staff and board of the Freshwater Education District want to extend a “thank you” to everyone in central Minnesota that is in any way affiliated with schools.
As public schools strive to provide great educational opportunities to every child, the Freshwater Education District partners with many area schools to efficiently provide joint programs in special education, alternative learning centers and community education.
Some of the daily events in many of the area schools this American Education Week will include the following recognitions: Monday the 18th: Kickoff Day; Tuesday the 19th: Parents Day; Wednesday the 20th: Education Support Professionals (teacher assistants) Day; Thursday the 21st: Educator of the Day; and Friday the 22nd: Substitute Educators Day.
As Director of the 13 member central Minnesota Freshwater Education District, I am very pleased with the quality of education that our member schools provide both jointly and independently. Eagle Valley, including neighboring districts Bertha-Hewitt, Browerville and Long Prairie-Grey Eagle are local members of the Freshwater Education District.
Jerry Nesland, Director
October 23, 2013
To the Editor:
For the protection of Todd County residents and water; we, a group of concerned citizens, are asking for a temporary moratorium that would last one year. This gives our Todd County Zoning Department time to research others counties who have dealt with similar large operation feedlot issues. This moratorium would effect only new operations with over 1000 animals, not already existing operations.
We are asking that these facility operations have “set back” requirements from all residence and natural waterways.
We are asking that Bio air filters be required as they are in many counties in Minnesota.
By putting this moratorium in place we are hoping to prevent future conflict between residents and the county. Having the proper feedlot requirements in place only protects everyone in the future, the county, the operators and the residents.
Please call your commissioners and voice your support and your desire to have a say in growing our community safely for everyone.
October 16, 2013
To the Editor:
Our Community Is Blessed
Well, here it is, the end of another year of gardening. Seems to have been a good year for crops and a great year for weeds. It’s now time for folks to have their gardens cleaned off so they can be tilled. If for some reason you can’t get them cleaned, give that big Swede down at the EDA/Chamber office a call. That would be Lyle Danielson, of course.
Speaking of cleaning, did you notice we have gotten some clearing done around the shelter? I tell you, I love the people in our community. This past Friday morning I had the tractor and loader at the gardens to pick rocks. As I was picking rocks, a group of school children were picking litter from the streets. As soon as they approached me, a couple of them, followed by the entire class, came off the street and picked rocks. What would have taken me several hours and much back pain was accomplished in a very short time. Some of them even asked if they could come back and help me more after school. What an awesome group of children. Not only are their parents blessed to have them, but we as a community are also blessed. I can’t thank them enough, neither can my back.
Isn’t fall a great season? This is the time of year that our daughter Sheila, who loves to bake, starts to notice how incredibly skinny I’ve become. She lives in fear I’ll soon have to stand twice just to make a shadow. To prevent this we practice preventative medicine. She brings over a plate full of goodies, I empty it, wash the plate and send it back. While I was gone the other night, Sheila did her part by bringing my plate back, full of course. I returned home and proceeded to take my medicine. Imagine my surprise when my lovely wife called out that Sheila had said she had sent two pieces for each of us. Good thing she called out when she did, I had unknowingly already eaten one of her pieces and had begun to ogle her second.
Have a great fall my friends,
Wake Up America
It was disheartening to listen to our news media several months ago when they all seemed so excited about the Supreme Court rulings.
It doesn’t matter to God how any legislature or court rules on marriage, God instituted marriage between one man and one woman as stated in Genesis 2:18-23.
God has given all of us the free will to make choices in our lives. We are all sinners, but to live in an unrepented state is damnation. Being gay is a sin of choice. God didn’t create any person that way. It is our TV, movie industry and media that tries to convince us that lifestyle is normal.
Leviticus 20:13 says “If there is a man who lies with a male as those who lie with a woman, both of them have committed a detestable act; they shall surely be put to death.”
We have seen devastating fires in California and Colorado, floods in Colorado, the Boardwalk in New Jersey destroyed by Hurricane Sandy and now a fire. Paraphrasing 2 Chronicles 36:14-21, ‘And the Lord, the God of their Fathers, sent messages to them again and again, but they continually mocked the message of God, until the wrath of the Lord arose against His people.’
Wake up America. God is in control.
Mrs. Joseph Bleess
October 9, 2013
To the Editor:
What do these four people have in common?
Jack Nicholson: Actor and three-time academy award winner; born to a mother who did not know his father, but still chose life.
Steve Jobs: Founder of Apple Computers; his mother was a single college student and he was placed up for adoption.
Andrea Bocelli: Opera singer; his mother had an appendicitis attack during a difficult pregnancy and the doctor recommended abortion.
Justin Bieber: Pop singer; his mother was single.
All four of these mothers chose life for their children. Three were born before abortion became legal (but not moral). Some were very difficult pregnancies.
Legal abortion has raged over 40 years and is the American Holocaust! It must end!
Todd County Pro-Life is a local organization that is trying to educate, especially young people, on the reality of abortion. We also donate to other pro-life organizations on the front lines.
Todd County Pro-Life is sponsoring a freewill offering chili feed on Saturday, October 19 from 5-8 p.m. at the American Legion in Long Prairie.
October is Pro-Life Month, come and join us by standing up for life from 2-3 p.m. on Sunday, October 20 at the intersection of Highway 27 and 71 in Long Prairie. We look forward to seeing you.
Mary Lu Smith
September 25, 2013
To the Editor:
I was reading the section, Looking Back on the Bertha-Hewitt page, and the article regarding Ed Thompson and the Hewitt bank of 75 years ago. It got me to thinking, Mr. Thompson was not only the president of the bank, he was also editor of the Hewitt Banner. I thought you might be interested in my story as my mother related it to me regarding the Hewitt Bank robbery that took place on May 2, 1931.
The story of the robbery is also written in a book written by Ethelyn Pearson titled, It Really Happened Here!
One of the robbers was Clarence Campbell, my mother’s brother. As a young man he served in the military in WWI. He came home and soon got into trouble with the other robber nick-named, Two-Gun Henderson, by making and running illegal booze, then moving on to robbing banks. They eventually got caught and spent years in prison. After Clarence was released, he married, got a job, and raised a family, never to get into trouble again.
And this is where Ed Thompson comes on the scene. It seemed Ed enjoyed reminding the public of the bank robbery that took place on that May day. And to make it juicy, he reminded the readers of the Hewitt Banner that my mother whom he never failed to name, lived on a farm just outside of Hewitt, and was a sister to Clarence.
This angered mother to the point one day while sitting in the car in Hewitt, Ed Thompson strolled past seemingly with an air of haughtiness. Mom had had enough of Ed Thompson! She rolled down the car window, and yelled in a loud voice what she thought of him, calling him a big tub of ****!
Then move ahead to 1938 when Ed Thompson is arrested for stealing from the depositor’s and I assume went to prison! Get the picture?
Oakdale, formerly of Hewitt
September 11, 2013
To the Editor:
With all of the uproarious clamor regarding human sexuality in our culture and state as of late, I, as a pastor, have been receiving inquiries from seemingly every direction concerning my (or my congregations’) stance on the issues at hand. Because our congregations have taken a stance opposing the laws that have been recently passed concerning marriage in our state, we, sadly, are becoming defined by what it is we oppose concerning this one issue, rather than what we affirm and believe as a whole. No church or society benefits from this type of pigeonholing or single-issue emphases. For this reason I would like to clarify for our community what we are for, and what it is that we believe.
First and foremost, our congregations believe in and teach concerning the biblical God who has an intense love for mankind. In this love, God has and continues to provide for us in ways that we often fail to notice. A cursory glance at His creation should, in itself, prove that. In his provision and care, he has gone further to provide guidance in how to live in this creation by giving us his law. We each, however, fail to keep this law, and in doing so we sin against God and our neighbors.
Yet in our failures, our mistakes, our imperfections, our laziness, our pride and even our outright rebellion, God has lovingly continued to provide for us. In order to restore our relationship with him, broken because of our disobedience, he sent his own Son, Jesus Christ, to live the life we could not, and to die on the cross. In this act he took our sin upon his own shoulders, and he paid a debt for you and me that, the Bible teaches, no person can pay on his or her own. We believe, as the Bible teaches, that all who receive Jesus by trusting in his work on their behalf become children of God and receive the priceless gifts of forgiveness of sins and eternal life. We call this declaration of good news “the gospel.” Our congregations are enthusiastically and emphatically pro-gospel!
This good news, though it promises forgiveness and eternal life, does not, in this life, make us perfect people. It is true that the gospel does change us and how we live. Yet, there is not one perfect person in either of my congregations. We still sin. I still sin. I still break God’s law. When I sin, God reminds me through his law how ugly my sin actually is, and how much it offends him. I find myself, as God’s child, continually coming back to Christ’s cross, confessing my sin and being reminded of his work for me there. This does not make sin “okay” or “not a big deal.” It’s a major deal. My sin cost Jesus his life. What God has established in his law is not for me to change.
For this reason, because of God’s clear teaching in the Bible in passages like Genesis 2:24 and Mark 10:6-9, I cannot call our society’s recent shift regarding marriage “acceptable” or “okay,” any more than I can call adultery (or any sexual sin), murder, hatred, anger, greed, gossip, theft, lying or disobedience to one’s parents “okay.” They are all aberrations of God’s design for the lives of those he loves. But, while these things are not okay, we believe and teach that those grieved by their sin can find hope and forgiveness in the person and work of Jesus. Therefore, we gladly welcome everyone, regardless of what sins they may struggle with, to our congregations to come and hear this message of God’s love for us in Christ—the gospel—preached and taught each week. It is in this gospel that our society will find the hope and peace for which it so desperately searches.
Rev. Adam Osier
Pastor of Zion and Bethany Free Lutheran Churches
September 5, 2013
To the Editor:
Our county recently suffered another loss of life due to domestic violence. This is the second death in Todd County due to domestic violence in the last ten months. In past years, we have had domestic murder suicides, attempted murders, serious assaults and kidnappings. Beyond the victims of these crimes, how many other lives have been changed forever?
We often turn our backs to this subject as it is an uncomfortable and unpleasant topic, and if we don’t talk or think about it, it doesn’t seem so threatening, or real. How often have we heard people on newscasts say, “We had no idea this was happening,” or “they seemed like the perfect couple” or “he was always a nice guy?”
How many of these tragedies need to happen before we choose to acknowledge this epidemic and open our eyes to come together as communities and a legal system to hold these abusers accountable for their actions?
What we need to know is that one in four families endure domestic violence. That every nine seconds a woman or a man, (statistically many more women than men) is abused. That everyday more than three women in the U.S. die due to domestic violence and that domestic violence is the leading reason for ER visits for women.
Domestic violence is a “choice” of behavior, totally controllable by the abuser, yet we continue to make excuses, blame the victim and turn a blind eye to these behaviors, not only as a community, but also in the legal system.
According to the Stearns County Domestic Violence Court, by holding abusers accountable for their abusive behavior, “choices”, they have seen a measurable decrease in repeat felony domestics. Some abusers have lengthy criminal records, others have no criminal history. The reason for that is that most domestic assaults never get reported, it is the highest unreported crime in America.
Why don’t victims report? There are several reasons, these victims have been brainwashed that they will lose custody of their children, that no one will believe them, that they are responsible for the abuse, that they can’t survive without the abuser in their life, have been robbed of their self-esteem and they will be killed if law enforcement is called. Pretty good reasons to not report I would say.
If you are in or have been in a violent relationship, please don’t assume this could never happen to you, be aware of your surroundings and create a safety plan for yourself in case you need to leave. As community members, we also need to be aware, and if we see an incident in progress, call 911, you can do this anonymously if you wish. Also, if someone comes to you for support as she is in a violent relationship, listen and provide support as long as you are not in danger.
If you are a victim, call Hands of Hope, talk to an advocate, seek support and available resources. Take back your life!
The Nat’l DV Hotline is 1-800-799-7233, Hands of Hope numbers are 320-732-2319, and our crisis line is 1-800-682-4547.
Hands of Hope Resource Center
August 14, 2013
To the Editor:
Summer days are waning, back-to-school shopping is underway, and the school buses will soon be taking their precious cargo to their next school year. We make sure that our kids are prepared with school supplies, clothes, tennis shoes, and book bags, all necessities for success in school. However, have we prepared them for the relationships they will encounter with fellow students? Most of those relationships will last throughout their school career, and will be cherished long after, but there will be some that will not be on their list of “fond memories from school”. Those will be the moments that a fellow student has bullied them, taken away their feelings of self-worth, or perhaps caused them to attempt suicide. Bullying is essentially one person’s attempt to validate their self-worth by taking that away from someone else.
Most of our schools have a “zero-tolerance” when it comes to bullying, but that doesn’t necessarily stop the actions from happening. Statistics from 2010 indicate that 90% of bullying happens to children in grades four to eight, and that 56% of students report that they have been bullied in school. Fifteen percent of daily absences are due to kids being afraid of being bullied if they go to school. How sad is that, and yes bullying has been around forever, it has ruined many lives, and we need to create awareness to prevent our kids from being bullied or from being the bully in the future. So how do we do that? Studies show that holding children accountable for their actions during childhood and also setting examples of good problem solving and non-violent behaviors for them to experience helps to prevent bullying behaviors.
There are four prominent types of bullying, any of which are very damaging to the victim. Aggressive bullying is the use of physical violence on another, taunting bullying is name calling, teasing, joke making and humiliating, third is indirect bullying, which uses rumors, exclusion, and or harassment, and finally one of the fastest growing, is the cyber bullying, that uses Facebook, instant messaging, e-mail and other technology to victimize.
Signs that your child may be experiencing bullying can range from scratching and bruising, missing belongings, trouble sleeping, to fighting in excess with siblings and not wanting to go to school. If you see these things in your child, take some time to have a one-on-one conversation with them, perhaps first trying to address it indirectly with random conversation about school and students, but if you don’t get responses, you may need to have a direct conversation with your child about what is happening. Kids are embarrassed about being bullied, and may also be fearful because they have been threatened not to tell or afraid of your response as a parent. Parents are encouraged to speak with their counselors, school nurse or social worker, and the principal, as this is their problem as well. Stay involved with your children and know what their activities are and what is going on at their school.
Please feel free to contact Hands of Hope Resource Center at 320-732-2319 for assistance and/or referrals concerning bullying issues. Have a safe and enjoyable school year.
Respectfully submitted by:
Hands of Hope Resource Center
To the Editor:
I recently heard a new statistic from an anti-gun group. I can’t recall if it was from the misguided mayors group or not. Anyhow they claimed we really need stringent background checks and gun registration because a recent study indicated 20% of Americans have mental issues. Possibly it’s just a coincidence, but isn’t that the same percentage of Americans that other studies claim are liberals and progressives? Maybe we should just leave the honest gun owners alone and instead do background checks and registration of liberals and progressives. Aren’t they much more dangerous to school children and our country than legal gun owners are? After all, have you ever heard of an American gun owner indoctrinating our youth with political correctness or socialism or even victimhood? No my friends! Gun owners, Democrats and Republicans are not a threat to our country, our culture or freedoms. Progressives and Liberals are! Sadly, it seems they have gained complete control of the Democratic party and part of the Republican party. Not to mention most of our colleges and universities.
I recall that as a child in the fifties, communism was viewed as a very real threat to our government and way of life. So much so that, our representatives, both Democratic and Republican, created what was called the House Committee on UnAmerican Activities. This was supposed to thwart the subversive activities (infesting, infecting and undermining) of communists in our government and society. At some point, the communists must have started calling themselves Progressives and Liberals and the committee must have disbanded. I wonder what the adults of my youth would think of our current government. I think they would be very disgusted with us, for allowing this to happen.
Anyhow my friends, I’m sure this is not history as taught in our public schools. It is however, history as I recall it. Maybe I’m just in a bad mood, but I’d really like to see things change. At the next election we should spank the heck out of everyone who gave us Obama Care. How could anyone, vote for a bill that only a few members of one party were allowed to debate, no one took the time to read, no amendments or public input was allowed, plus the majority of people loudly opposed. It is really a mess. What does the president and congress do? Exempt themselves from it of course. Even if this were a great law, it was a totally unAmerican way to pass it. This of course means nothing to a government that spies on it’s own people.
Thanks for allowing me to vent, my friends. I feel much better now. I think I’ll take a nap and await the I.R.S. auditors.