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Pioneer Editorial: Cheers and Jeers

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opinion Bemidji, 56619

Bemidji Minnesota P.O. Box 455 56619

It’s time for open, honest conversation

There are too few adjectives to adequately describe the nation’s horror and grief following the mass school shooting in Newtown, Conn., last Friday.

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This and other tragedies renew long debated topics facing our country. School safety, gun control and mental health care are all part of the discussions that dominate our conversations lately.

It’s far too frequent we’ve had these discussions without some consensus.

Last week’s deadly shooting – which killed 20 elementary children and six adults – brings back difficult memories for many in Minnesota, where schools in Red Lake and Cold Spring were targeted within the last decade.

Just this year, there have been more than a dozen mass shootings in the U.S. Close to home, a fired sign-company employee went on a rampage in Minneapolis, killing six people and injuring three others in September. A Colorado movie theater came under attack during a July midnight screening, where 12 people died and 58 were injured by a lone gunman.

How do we explain such violence to our children? How do maintain some sense of safety when such unimaginable acts disrupt our normal routines of life?

It’s time for a discussion – an open and honest conversation – in our country.

Happy holidays

If you have a spare dollar this holiday season, consider helping out some worthy groups.

The Salvation Army relies on donations dropped in its red kettles to provide emergency assistance to local families.

The United Way, which helps a long list of area nonprofits, collects funds to help offset expenses for numerous worthy causes in our area. In addition, the United Way operates its Bemidji Holiday Gifts for Kids program, which matches toys and gifts to needy children. This year, the United Way is also short on gifts for teenagers. Cash and donated items are appreciated.

Gifts can be dropped off at First National Bank of Bemidji, L & M Fleet, Walgreen Drug, Menards or Marketplace Foods, while monetary donations should be mailed to the United Way of Bemidji Area at PO Box 27, Bemidji, MN  56619.  

One of the best ways to have a happy holiday is to help make it memorable for others.

Good police work

Imagine working at Kelliher’s First State Bank of Big Fork when a man wearing a costume and wielding a shotgun demands money from the till.

Beltrami County Sheriff Phil Hodapp said the suspects scoped out their intended target. With precision, they executed their plan and made off with an undisclosed amount of cash.

Good work by law enforcement – bolstered by reliable tips from the public – made quick work of the investigation, landing two men in jail.

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