Columns

Thu
11
Jul

Caped crusader a sure sign of summer

It’s always difficult to determine the season here in Wisconsin because the calendar and the sky rarely line up.
That’s why we rely on trusted signs to let us know when the seasons have changed. In fall, we watch for the geese to fly south. We know winter has arrived when our engine blocks freeze solid. A robin prancing about the lawn signals spring. But we can’t be sure summer has arrived until Thong Cape Scooter Man appears in Madison.

Mon
08
Jul

Keep eyes safe during fun in the sun

It‘s summertime, which means the days are longer and people are enjoying more time outdoors. But, along with risks to your skin, UV rays can be dangerous for your eyes. Studies show that exposure to bright sunlight may increase the risk of developing age-related macular degeneration, cataracts and growths on the eye, including cancer.
UV radiation, whether from natural sunlight or indoor artificial rays, can damage the eye‘s surface tissues as well as the cornea and lens. Unfortunately, many people are unaware of the dangers UV light can pose to their vision, and this can lead to potentially blinding eye diseases.

Mon
08
Jul

Explore your options for travel insurance

The summer travel season is in full swing and countless Minnesotans will be traveling across the country and around the world in the next few months.  
Some consumers will be debating about whether to purchase travel insurance for their summer vacations. The Minnesota Department of Commerce wants consumers to know that travel insurance is not required to travel; however, it may benefit some consumers but not all.

Sun
30
Jun

Tax tips for newlyweds

Summer is traditionally a time when couples tie the knot and, as is the case with so many major milestones in life, all newlyweds should be aware of the tax considerations associated with marriage. If you or a loved one is planning nuptials, the Minnesota Society of CPAs offers this advice on addressing the tax concerns.

Thu
27
Jun

Whiskey plates

I am always thankful when readers suggest topics to me. Ken, a reader in Hugo, asked that I write about Minnesota’s “special registration plates” which are sometimes referred to by the more colorful moniker of “whiskey plates.”
Have you ever seen these? They are a plainer-looking license plate that starts with the letter W.  It is that first letter - coupled with what they mean - that has prompted their nickname.  
Whiskey plates are issued for a variety of reasons all related in some way to illegal drinking and driving. They are issued after someone has had their regular license plates impounded for a designated offense.

Thu
27
Jun

Order in the court — please!

Many citizens appear in Minnesota courts without attorneys, particularly in conciliation courts and before child support magistrates.
Some basic rules of courtroom conduct must be followed to avoid not only losing your case, but possibly being warned by the judge about contempt of court.

Tue
25
Jun

‘Not new to helping people’

The 2013 Legislative Session presented many challenges and important choices.
When I look back at our accomplishments, I am proud to see numerous St. Paul-related bills now signed into law. Not only did I lead some of these local accomplishments, but I actively supported legislation that honestly balanced Minnesota’s budget and invests in our future.

Mon
24
Jun

We all play a role in making the summer safe for our kids

Now that school is out for most of Ramsey County, it is a good time to remind ourselves why a safe summer for our kids is not something to take for granted. As parents, law enforcement professionals, prosecutors, community providers and school staff, we all need to do whatever we can to help keep our kids on track for a safe and productive summer.

Thu
20
Jun

Fight the fight: make your kids wear helmets

Now that it is finally spring, my neighbors are out in full force – walking, running, pushing baby strollers, and being pulled by dogs. And then there are the kids – so many kids – biking and long boarding. Who could blame them? Kids are not meant to be cooped up for nine months out of the year. 

However, I am continually bothered by the overwhelming number of kids I see on their bikes and long boards without helmets. (I can just hear my own children now as they read this – “Oh no, here she goes.”) 

I see kids all over my neighborhood and surrounding community, as young as 6 and as old as 15, biking and long boarding without helmets. (I’m guessing the 16-plus crowd with driver’s licenses is less likely to use a bike for transportation.) 

Mon
17
Jun

Give me a home where the buffalo roam


A view of bison on the Belwin prairie. (submitted photo)

People in the crowd gather tight and whisper excitedly. Children stand on tiptoes, while adults crane their necks. There’s a communal inhale and then BOOM! The gates open and the bison race out of the trailer and into the prairie. When Charlie and Lucy Bell set aside 200 acres of land along Valley Creek in Afton back in 1970, did they realize that their actions would eventually allow for the return of bison to the St. Croix Valley?
Though the history of development along the St. Croix River centers on logging, most of the lower St. Croix Valley was originally covered in prairie and oak savanna. Prior to European settlement, in fact, there were millions of acres of prairie in the U.S.. Today, less than 0.1% of that remains, making tallgrass prairie the most endangered ecosystem in the world. By 1970, most of the land in Washington County had been logged, plowed under for farming or leveled for development.

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