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Pioneer Editorial: Cheers and Jeers

Cheers: Cultural event bridges a gap

In its fourth year, the Cultural Connection community cookout and picnic, complete with music and other entertainment, brought people of various ethnicities together last week at the UpNorth Marina on Lake Irving. To get together with American Civil Liberties Union officials and others concerned with equal rights for all is a positive program. To combine the serious nature of the issues with a relaxed environment makes the event even more accessible. Add some burgers and brats, a little music and fun, and the event is a welcome mid-August celebration.

Cheers: First brick laid

The site has been cleared, the footings are down, the girders are going up, and last week veteran mason Con Beaulieu laid the first brick for the Bemidji Regional Event Center. The event was a family affair with Con, who retired five years ago, flanked by sons and a grandson following in the masonry trades. The event center is scheduled to open in October 2010 for commercial and community events, conventions and Bemidji State University's hockey season, the first in the Western Collegiate Hockey Association for the Beaver men's team.

Jeer: Tarmac trouble

It's happened twice in one month -- passengers locked into airplanes stranded on the tarmac for various delays. Maybe it was weather issues or mechanical problems, but it's stupid for people to be stuck in a plane on the ground with little food or drinks, humidity rising, babies wailing and dirty diaper aromas wafting through the air. If the plane isn't going to take off in a reasonable time period -- and probably many of the passengers have already missed their connections after six hours -- let those on board back into the terminal where services are available. Yes, airlines give vouchers in apology, but that doesn't make up for the misery of hours in stuffy compartments not knowing when the plane will finally take off. There was a time when flying was fun.

Cheers: Living longer

Life expectancy in the United States is now eight years better than the biblical 70 -- three score and 10. The average now stands at 78 years. The increase is because of falling death rates in common causes of mortality. Consequently, a child born in 2007 should expect to live to ring in the New Year in 2085. The death rate has been falling for eight straight years and is half what it was 60 years ago when the current crop of Baby Boomers were in their infancy.