The American-News welcomes letters of opinion from our readers. Letters regarding current local and national news items are encouraged. All letters are subject to editing for length and style. Letters containing potentially libelous or obscene statements will not be published. Letters must contain name, address and phone number for verification and in case of questions. E-mail letters to: Letters may also be mailed to: Editor, Montevideo Publishing, P.O. Box 99, Montevideo, MN 56265

The American-News welcomes letters of opinion from our readers. Letters regarding current local and national news items are encouraged. All letters are subject to editing for length and style. Letters containing potentially libelous or obscene statements will not be published. Letters must contain name, address and phone number for verification and in case of questions. E-mail letters to: Letters may also be mailed to:  Editor, Montevideo Publishing, P.O. Box 99, Montevideo, MN 56265


Thank you

The 2014 American Cancer Society Relay For Life Event was a huge success!  23 teams participated, along with many from the general public who came to Smith Park in Montevideo the evening of Friday, May 16. A meal was served from 5 to 7 p.m. in the main shelter, along with a variety of food items sold by teams.  A wonderful lineup of entertainment was enjoyed throughout the evening. The second year of having a Silent Auction was a great success.


After the candles in the luminary bags were lit, a moving time of everyone holding hands around the walking path and singing “Amazing Grace,” took place.  Thank you to all the sponsors, everyone who attended, and those who donated to this year’s Chippewa County Relay For Life Event.  To each individual, family, and business, YOU MADE A DIFFERENCE! We exceeded our goal of $52,000.00 – as of Midnight at the Relay, we were over $56,000.00 county-wide with more donations still coming in!  The “Relay Year” ends August 31, 2014.  


You may still make donations for this year up to that date. These generous donations will bring needed funds for The American Cancer Society’s research, treatment, and services for cancer patients.  Relay For Life also brings much needed awareness of the importance to keep funding this vital organization. This is your American Cancer Society – Celebrate!


Remember! Fight Back!  Let’s “Finish The Fight!”


Thank you again for your awesome donations!

—Chippewa County

Relay For Life Committee


Regarding Marshall Lyon County Library

At a special meeting held on June 30, the Marshall-Lyon County Library Board (MLCL) voted to rescind its earlier decision accepting terms that would have allowed the library to continue as a member of the Plum Creek Library System (PCLS). The decision today means that MLCL, including the branch libraries in Balaton and Cottonwood, become an independent library on July 1.


To our dismay, the governing board of the Plum Creek Library System not only rejected the agreement reached under the auspices of the Minnesota Bureau of Mediation Services, but stipulated that MLCL could only remain a member of PCLS if it conceded unequivocal support for all past and future system policies.  We believe this response was punitive in nature and in defiance of the good faith that had guided the mediation process and the settlement it produced, which had been accepted by all of the designated representatives.


MLCL worked for several years to resolve disagreements with PCLS over the autonomy of member libraries in the system. PCLS has continued to articulate its interest to consolidate power in the regional system and away from member libraries, including MLCL.  The proposed mediation settlement included such provisions that PCLS apparently found objectionable including: ensuring that each member library would continue to choose what materials it purchases with local tax dollars, providing a 30-day holding period for materials purchased with local tax dollars before circulating to other communities, maintaining local control over hiring of staff, maintaining local control over building operations, and developing a dispute resolution procedure to better manage conflict and provide resolution in the future.


MLCL conceded on several issues including ongoing concerns over poor security controls that continue to expose patrons’ material lending history, a poorly functioning automation system that slows down checkout times, an inefficient material delivery system that wastes thousands of dollars annually and a lack of accountability for the executive director.  In fact, during the same meeting when PCLS rejected the proposed mediation agreement the Governing Board rewarded Director Mark Ranum with a $25,000 “contract signing incentive” in addition to his $90,000 consulting contract for services with PCLS, similar to the contract he has with Pioneerland Regional Library system as well as other consulting revenue he may earn, all from his residence in St. Paul.


The main benefit and purpose of PCLS is to provide shared resources with members through an online browsing, checkout and delivery service.  This service has not been available to MLCL patrons for some time; they will now lose access completely following withdrawal from PCLS.  We apologize for those patrons who use this service.  We have a broad collection in addition to the many other services the library provides and we will certainly consider patron requests for purchase of materials.  Additionally, we are aggressively pursuing options to expand our collection via alternative resource sharing arrangements that may be available now or in the future.


We are further committed to continue serving our partner branch libraries in Balaton and Cottonwood as long as they desire.


We are all your friends and neighbors that volunteer to serve our common interests in public library services.  I can assure you we take no joy in dealing with these difficult issues.  Our board has overwhelmingly agreed that withdrawal is clearly in our best interest and is based upon the reality that we do not have shared values for the system with PCLS as it sits today. Therefore, there is no foundation for a productive, trusting partnership.

—Gwen Sturrock

Acting President of the Marshall-Lyon County Library


The solemn vow

The warrior walked up to the man in the suit and saluted. He said “I love this country from one end to the other and I will fight for her. I am willing to give my all for the love I have for my people and for these dear shores but can you promise me one thing?” The man in the suit looked into his sincere grey eyes and said “what can your country do for you?” The warrior said “if I should fall would you look after my family? If I should come home shattered in body or spirit or grow too old to fight will you help me find my way?” The man in the suit said “yes you are brave and willing and if you defend our land we promise we will help you and your family, we always support our troops!” The two shook hands and a solemn vow was struck, the warrior saluted and left for faraway lands as directed. He went toward the sound of the guns.


The tracers came arching in under the heat of a tropical sun and the landing zone was crisscrossed with tacers and explosions. His best friend died in the door of the helicoptor but he could only jump to the earth and seek cover in the tall grass. At that very moment the man in the suit sat behind his desk and counted the number of allies he would have at his back in his next promotion. He called his secretary and set up the day’s appointments.


The desert was filled with a dust that seemed to get into everything and it gritted between the warriors teeth as he sighted down his rifle at the unites of republican guard that streamed toward the berm that separated them from the bridge they were fighting to control. “Now!” the lieutenant yelled and the warrior began to fire at the figures and they began to fall. Far away at a cocktail party the man in the suit looked at the young lady in the yellow dress as he casually slid his wedding ring into his pocket. He picked up his martini and threaded his way through the crowd of lobbyists and politicians toward her.


The warrior had to move and he had to move fast across the remains of the poppy field! The distinct familiar sound of the chattering AK-47’s urged him on and he never saw the EID that shattered his squad and blew off his right leg. He felt for a moment that he noticed the leg spinning overhead before he lost consciousness. The man in the suit pulled into his driveway at the end of the day. “That conference was brutal!” he thought. “Man am I glad it’s Friday! Oh I got to remember to take a mint or my wife will realize I’m still smoking, I’ve got to quit because she’s right, it is hazardous to my health.”


The warrior on cruches slowly walked up to the man in the suit and said “I love this country more than ever before but I am so tired now, I’ve seen things that were very hard and I can’t get them out of my head. I’ve lost so many friends and I can’t fight anymore. Do you remember our bargain?” The man in the suit looked at him from behind the polished mahogany and said “we have this list, see me in six months to a year.”

—Doug Hodge



Hunger does not take a ­vacation!

Even though summer has arrived and households don’t have to worry about heating bills, there is still the ever present cost of food for the family. There is a constant need for help at the Chippewa County Food Shelf. Not only does this include families with children, but also seniors and single adults.


The month of July is the Open Your Heart to the Hungery and Homeless Food Shelf Challenge. Grant awards through Hunger Solutions are given based on the total funds raised by participating food shelves during the month. Any grant funds the Chippewa County Food Shelf receives will help to purchase food from Second Harvest Heartland. These purchases, along with the generous donations from local businesses, churches, groups and individuals throughout the county, help us to serve many households each month.


Please consider making a donation to your local food shelf. It may be a family member or neighbor you are helping!

—Laurie Hendrickson


Chippewa County Food Shelf