Viewpoints

Tue
03
Dec

Take control of holiday spending

What are your holiday shopping plans this year? American retail holiday spending totaled about $580 billion in 2012, according to the National Retail Foundation, up 3 percent from the previous year. This is clearly a time of year when people dig deep into their pockets to pay for holiday gifts and celebrations, but that doesn’t have to put a dent in your budget. The Minnesota Society of CPAs offers advice on how to make smart spending plans.

Fri
29
Nov

“One Size Fits All” not the solution for bullying

Although the legislature will not convene again until February 25 of 2014, we’re beginning to hear about some of the top priorities that the Democrat leadership plans to put forward for the legislative session. Among the top items on their agenda is a so-called “anti-bullying” bill. While it may be well-intentioned, a “one size fits all” solution from legislators and bureaucrats from St. Paul will not solve the bullying problems we have in our schools.

Fri
29
Nov

Working with farmers to protect water resources

At the Children’s Water Festival in St. Paul in September, I used a groundwater model to talk with fourth grade students about how surface and groundwater resources connect and how we can keep them both clean. In one demonstration, I used food coloring to illustrate how fertilizer from a farm field could pollute nearby wells and streams. Afterwards, a parent asked me an interesting question, “If fertilizer is potentially harmful, do local government agencies support using GMO [genetically modified] crops to reduce fertilizer use?”

Fri
29
Nov

Alternative Dispute Resolution

Going to court can be a stressful, time-consuming and expensive way to resolve a dispute. Many attorneys charge over $250 per hour and civil cases can take over a year to be resolved in court. Even after a court decision, people often spend as much time and money on an appeal as on the original case.

Fri
29
Nov

Teachers reach out to East Side resources


CLUES President Ruby Azurdia-Lee talks with ACC staff. (submitted photo)

Field trips for students are common, but an East Side elementary finds great value in a field trip for its faculty.  For the sixth year, East Side charter public school Academia Cesar Chavez has taken their staff into the community on a bus tour.  
ACC is a K-6 school that has 376 students who are 90% Latino and are primarily from the East Side.  Ninety-nine percent qualify for Free/Reduced Lunch, compared to the St. Paul district which is 73% Free/Reduced Lunch.

Wed
27
Nov

Why proportionality is important

Much has been written and discussed in the media about frivolous lawsuits.  Everyone seems to think of the hot McDonald’s coffee lawsuit as being “frivolous,” when, in fact, the injured customer sustained serious burns to her body as a result. It seems a frivolity is the lawsuit of someone other than yourself.
The Minnesota Rules of Court were recently amended to include the following requirement as to “proportionality:”

Wed
27
Nov

Giving thanks

Thanksgiving is a time for family, friends, giving thanks and helping those in need. With Thanksgiving here, families across the nation will be celebrating their own traditions in their own way. Between the food and the festivities, no one family does it quite the same, but I encourage everyone to add one thing to their day – take time to say thanks.

Tue
26
Nov

Your legal rights: Beware of Internet classified scams

While the Internet offers convenience, it can also enable scam operators to defraud buyers and sellers. Fraudsters can use the Internet to dupe individuals looking to buy or sell items such as cars, boats, rental housing or other products and services.
Take, for example, the following scenarios:

Tue
26
Nov

Saving money for homeowners and cities while improving the environment

In Sauk Rapids and Minneapolis and many other communities, weekly garbage collection means a single garbage truck goes down every residential street to pick up garbage. In contrast, other Minnesota communities have four or five different garbage trucks going down every residential street or alley to pick up the trash.

Sat
23
Nov

Looking after our natural resources

As one of the members of Minnesota’s Legislative-Citizen Commission on Minnesota Resources, I have the opportunity to make funding recommendations to the legislature for special environment and natural resource projects that benefit our entire state.

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