Weather Forecast


Open Forum: Let’s end ethanol subsidies

A group of pro-ethanol Senators like Grassley of Iowa and Minnesota’s Klobuchar and Franklin is trying to forestall a total end to ethanol subsidies with a gradual approach. I suggest sooner is better than later to end the $6 billion ethanol subsidy.

The reason a number of small ethanol producers and two of the largest(Verasun and Pacific Ethanol) are bankrupt is simple. Production of ethanol from corn doesn’t make economic sense. The business only survives with those large taxpayer subsidies.

With corn currently at $7.60/bushel, it takes about $3.00 worth of raw corn to make a gallon of ethanol. Yesterday’s wholesale CBOT price for a finished gallon of ethanol was just $2.70, making it clear why ethanol needs all those subsidies.

Our folly here is in attempting to replicate nature by trying to do what nature does best. Oil comes from the gradual cooking of biomass(ocean algae) into hydrocarbon fuel. A  University of Utah study showed that nature needed one hundred tons of algae to make one gallon of oil. But nature had millions of years worth of prolific algae to produce those trillions of barrels of oil beneath the ocean bottom. So trying to use just this year’s corn crop to make a sufficient quantity of an oil substitute doesn’t work.  In one year world hydrocarbon usage equals about 400 years of carbon sequestered from total world biomass growth.  The Laws of chemistry and nature are difficult to repeal.

Rolf Westgard


Living in moral slavery

Tuesday’s Open Forum writes: “Millions have given their lives to keep this country safe. Why? It’s called freedom! Have their sacrifices been for naught?”

 Yes it’s called freedom, freedom to worship or not, freedom to watch what you wish on TV, freedom to marry or not to marry, freedom to be a moral person or not. God gave us free will; it is up to each of us to decide to be moral, honest, respect human life and how to treat our fellow man. The writer goes on to list the terrible moral decay that is destroying our country, the destruction of marriage, cursing, nudity, blatant sex, gory violence and poor education. Christians are being thrown to the lions for daring to disagree. If only we would do what the writer is hinting at, pass plenty of good moral laws, marriage only as described, laws against cursing, no nudity laws, no information about sex, only TV shows like Andy Griffith ... Christians rise up and enforce your morality in law, why you will create utopia here. Lucky for us this hasn’t all happened yet. Morality enforced though law will turn us into a country of moral slaves, yes slaves. It will take our free will from us as surely as any dictator. Do we take the path of man, using our free will to choose how each of us lives, what we believe in, of our own choice on what is moral; or should we use the force of law to decide what is moral, what we watch on TV, what we are allowed to say. Morality comes from the inside, not imposed by law. If these things come to pass, we will have given up our free will, and yes our freedom and will live in moral slavery! 

Steve Lanz


State spending isn’t being cut

Who isn’t compromising on the Minnesota state budget?

The 2011 regular legislative session has ended in the Minnesota Legislature without passing a budget for the next biennium. Gov. Dayton and the rest of the Democrats are blaming the Republican majority and accusing them of not compromising. Minority leader Bakk went so far as to call the GOP a cult for sticking to their principles. Let’s get away from the typical emotion-based rhetoric consistently employed by the DFL and look at the facts.

The original budget proposed by the Republican majority in the Legislature was to keep spending at the current level of $32 billion dollars. When they found out anticipated revenues were $34 billion, they very generously compromised by increasing the budget $2 billion to match the anticipated revenues. They assumed it would be acceptable to any fair-minded Minnesotan to increase spending to that level and still stick to their promise to make sure the state lived within its means.

Let me repeat this so it’s clear to everyone. The Republican budget proposal does not cut any spending. It increases spending to the highest level ever for the state of Minnesota. The Democrats are not satisfied with that. They want to increase state spending even more and increase taxes too. For all of you who are struggling to pay your bills but still live within your means, the DFL thinks your principles are extreme and irrational.

Gov. Dayton is willing to shut down the state government and try to blame it on the GOP in order to get his way. What he is doing is childish and irresponsible. Don’t be fooled by the misinformation and scare tactics the DFL are so fond of using. Urge your state representatives to stick to their promise of a fair and responsible state government. 

Jan Schultz

Cass County Republican BPOU Chair


Proliferation of laws

 Like a plague of hungry locusts, the legislative bodies throughout the United States are passing new laws that chew away our freedoms and make puppets out of us. On a daily basis, the cities, townships, counties, states, and The Federal Government pass laws, each of which directs us to do something or prohibits us from doing something. Most of the laws are “enabling legislation” that require some government agency to make rules to explain what the law requires. If you look at the “Federal Register” there are literally dozens of new rules promulgated each day, and that is only at the Federal level! We are no longer the “land of the free”, we are the “land of the over-regulated”! 

Help! Help! What is desperately needed is that every law be given a set number of years that it is in effect — then have it go out of existence — unless it is passed again. This would keep our legislators busy, and would eventually tend to reduce the number of laws. 

Chuck Hagberg


Obama motivated by evil

I, too, think that it is vitally important for the Brainerd Dispatch to publish the votes of area legislators and congressmen.

It’s not the way to stop underage drinking to let the underage drinkers, and their parents, off the hook by blaming someone else. It’s not the host, at a party, that has a responsibility to prevent underage drinking. It is the child and his, or her, parents who should be held responsible. Not just for the drinking, but for any “accidents” that the drinking leads to. It’s not the city’s job to be a babysitter, morality police or a scapegoat finder for irresponsible parenting.

If the state of Minnesota can’t balance its books, where did the Brainerd Lakes Area Economic Development “Corporation” get the $88,000 to grant? How much economic development would there have been if the money had been left in the hands of taxpayers? 

Minnesota Republican legislators should hold fast in their opposition to tax increases. Revenue enhancements, that are only meant to last two years, have a tendency to stay in effect much longer. The sooner we lower tax rates, the sooner we’ll have an inflow of companies, jobs and tax revenue.

Obama is calling for ending oil company tax breaks. Even though he’s motivated by evil, he’s right. It’s evil to intentionally destroy a whole industry that is improving our lives. It’s evil to deprive us of a critical resource. His evil plan is to force us to, eventually, ask Obama Almighty to take over the oil companies, and ration oil. Obama is right because the government should not be giving tax breaks to some industries, and not to all. The removal of tax breaks should be accompanied be reductions in drilling restrictions, and regulations, on oil companies. So oil companies can “Drill, Baby, Drill!”

Bill Maxfield


Boy Scouts are a blessing

My name is Molly Costin and I work at the Wadena Soil and Water Conservation District in Wadena, Minn. Last June 17, our town was hit by an F4 tornado which damaged over 400 buildings within city limits, and caused severe damage in the countryside. Since then our community has been rebuilding and replacing, trying to move on with our lives and heal the wounds created by that storm. We’ve seen many wonderful people come into our community and help us.  They’ve helped clean up debris, distributed food and water, and helped in any way that they can.  It still moves me whenever we see an act of kindness such as when your local Boy Scout group showed up the weekend of April 30th, 2011. That day we replanted trees in the city of Wadena that were lost in the storm.  Approximately 175 scouts and leaders come to help us! People that were not necessarily affected themselves by this storm, came to help our community when we needed them. For that, I would like to thank the Boy Scouts on behalf of the community I live in for the generosity, kindness, and enthusiasm (despite the weather!) you showed us by helping out that weekend! You’re such a blessing! The troops that attended were Pillager, Pine River/Backus, St. Cloud, Zimmerman, Foley, Staples, Upsala, Little Falls, Brainerd, Wadena, Verndale, Rice, Bertha, Park Rapids, Big Lake, and Sartell.  Thank you so much for all  you do to help instill a sense of community in our youth, and for the hard work you put in that weekend in Wadena! You should be very proud of yourselves, I know we are! 

Molly Costin


Here comes ObamaCare

Congress will not allow any COLA (cost of living adjustment) in Social Security benefits. Yet ObamaCare will cost you more than ever.

Medicare insurance premiums for 2009 were $96.40, $104.20 in 2012, $120.20 in 2013, and a whopping $247.00 in 2014. That’s a 257 percent increase in five years. Boy, this socialism medicine is sure wonderful.

Oh, and while the seniors are paying more each year, Congress voted themselves a $3,000 per month increase.

Art Becker


Becca Clemens
After graduating high school in 2004, I attended Central Lakes College in Staples, MN for 2 years where I got a diploma in Communication Art and Design. I then transfered up to Bemidji State University in, you guessed it, Bemidji, MN. In the spring of 2009, I graduated from BSU. Then in the fall of 2009 I got a job at Echo Publishing, a sister company to the Brainerd Dispatch.