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Pioneer Editorial: Cheers and Jeers

More work needed to help children

It may not come as a surprise that nearly 3 in 10 of Beltrami County's children live in high-poverty neighborhoods, but the reality stings the conscience.

A report last week revealed the county's rate is higher than anywhere else in Minnesota. The consequences include children living without a stable home life and in hunger, which prevents them from an ideal quality of life which effects home and school life. As they reach adulthood, it's a difficult cycle to break.

Several nonprofits and dozens of dedicated people, including volunteers, aim to make children's lives better. Students First, an innovative new program in our schools, aims to make a difference in children's lives by helping them create their own success plan.

Still, something more has to be done to address poverty and hunger.

We share a responsibility to reduce the poor conditions children face and secure a better life for future generations.

And while local stakeholders are addressing the issue head on, lasting change is going to take effort by everyone.

State lawmakers have a chance to do their part. While the Legislature, currently meeting in St. Paul, argues about stadium bills, it's time to demand they do more to help our children.


Good talks to start

Discussions between Bemidji city and Northern Township officials last week show promise on a new plan for annexation.

Talks were collaborative and cordial, yielding a revised plan both sides appear willing to accept. While boundaries have yet to be approved, officials from both sides showed progress for future talks and an orderly plan.

Let's hope talks between the city and Bemidji Township take a similar approach.


Post office cuts

A decision by the U.S. Postal Service to cut the mail processing center in Bemidji is a blow to customers.

Last year, the Postal Service said delivery to local addresses would not be delayed and sorting operations would move to St. Cloud.

But now mail will be sorted in the Twin Cities and local items will take two days for delivery.

The problems don't end there. Last week, the Postal Service warned it will lose as much as $18.2 billion a year by 2015 unless Congress grants it new leeway to eliminate Saturday delivery and raise the price of a postage stamp by as much as 5 cents.

While the Postal Service is being forced into a leaner, and more efficient, organization, there's little to suggest positive changes for local customers.