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Open Forum:Merger would hurt business

afford it, how do we tell them that five dollars a month is more important to us than improving their schools, and making this a better community?

Some would make this referendum about teachers. How sad. This is not about teachers; it’s about our kids, our community, and about making our country better as well. If you have ever held a job, you probably owe your teachers a debt of thanks for the skills you learned in school.

Mark Hegstrom


Schools prepare our workers

The “Manufacturers open doors to the public” cover story in the Oct. 27 Dispatch talked about the lack of workers with the training to take on good manufacturing jobs. Then on page 6, there was a well-written letter discussing the link between education and career readiness.

These pieces both hit on a fundamental issue — the role of our schools in preparing the workers our local economy needs in order to thrive.

I have been fortunate to work with leaders of several area manufacturers and one thing is clear — the era of high-paying jobs that require no training is gone. Our manufacturers need trained machinists, welders, and other high-tech workers and the place where this training must start is in our schools.

My Dad was a Brainerd industrial tech teacher for over 30 years and I spent many hours in his shop after school watching him get kids excited about technology. Dad’s 14-year-olds made Fiberglas kayaks and compound hunting bows and would tear down and rebuild engines. For many kids classrooms like my Dad’s were where their interest in technical careers really took hold.

Unfortunately, opportunities like Dad’s advanced technical education classes are getting rare. It is far cheaper to put 30 (or 40) students in a lecture-style classroom than it is to create the kinds of hands-on learning opportunities needed to get kids interested in technical careers. So I join and earlier Open Forum writer in hoping our area communities will provide the support needed to make these opportunities happen.

Jeff Wig


Improving the business climate

Let’s improve our business climate by providing a quality education for our community’s children. Vote yes + yes to show that we value education. We appreciate and will vote yes + yes to support the parents, teachers, bus drivers, everybody who works directly with our community’s children.

Yvonne Leiser

Rural Brainerd

A good steward of funds

I am writing to endorse the school referendum. After attending an informational meeting with the school district and reviewing the information ... I have found it to be compelling in supporting the need for funding. It shows the school board has been a good steward of present funding.

Loren Beilke


Invest in our youth

Please vote yes, yes, on the upcoming ISD181 referendum! Consider it an investment in our youth and in our future; we will all receive the best return possible on our investment. For more information regarding the referendum check: or

Kathy Hegstrom


Merger would hurt business

We are pharmacists who have operated several independent pharmacies in rural Minnesota since 2001. We have been very fortunate that we have been able to achieve our dream. More important, we have been honored to serve the fine people in the Brainerd, Redwood Falls, Rochester, Worthington, Grand Marais, Winthrop and Crosby communities. However, our dream might come to an end if the proposed merger between Express Scripts and Medco is allowed to happen.

If this merger is approved, the combined company will dominate the market allowing it to squeeze the health care system for even higher profits at the expense of patients, who will have fewer choices of community pharmacies. Those in rural areas will have to travel further to fill their prescriptions and some may even have to resort to mail order prescriptions. Costs may rise, including those for seniors and others on fixed incomes. Patient care would be diluted when the trusted pharmacist-patient is threatened.

At GuidePoint Pharmacy, we have built our business around providing patient-focused services. We want to make sure that our customers and all Minnesotans, especially those in rural areas, know how this will negatively impact their ability to choose the pharmacy of their choice and to access the personal services they have relied on. Like you, we are depending on our congressional leaders, especially our U.S. Senators Amy Klobuchar and Al Franken to step up and protect Minnesota’s health care and oppose this merger.

Minnesotan’s health and businesses depend on it.

Mike and Laura Schwartzwald


Guide Point Pharmacy