Letters to the editor for Jan. 25, 2013

Gun control not answer

To the Editor:

Every hunter, sportsman, gun owner and American citizen should be alarmed by the Obama administration and the action it is planning to take using the Sandy Hook Elementary tragedy to whip up its gun control plans.

The general mass media has joined their efforts. If you follow the news reports and commentary you would think the United States is one of the most violent countries on earth.

Unfortunately our news media is only presenting one side. The facts do not support the position taken by the gun control group. For example, the FBI uniform crime reports that violent crime in the US has dropped 50 percent over the past 20 years. In 1992 we had 757.7 violent crimes per 100,000 population. By 2011 violent crimes per 100,000 had dropped to 386.3. In the same report we had 9.3 homicides per 100,000 population in 1992. By 2011 that number had dropped to 4.7.

The popular firearm most mentioned by the Obama team is assault rifles. According to the Obama team we have to ban all assault rifles. Again the facts do not support its ideas. In 2011 we had 12,664 homicides in the US. Of these,
8,583 involved a firearm. Of these, 8,583 cases only 323 included a rifle. The FBI doesn’t break the 323 number down but assault rifles are a very small percentage of all rifles made.

Gun control does not reduce violent crime. Many gun control advocates like to point to England where there are very tight controls on all firearms. England has a violent crime rate of 1,361.6 per 100,000 population. That is 3.5 times the rate in the U.S.

The FBI reports the majority of our violent crime occurs in our major cities. It is interesting that our strongest gun control regulations are also in these same major cities.

Guns do not cause this violence. The cause is the inner-city culture. If you want this violence to change you have to change the culture. Just passing gun control will not change anything.

Finally our constitution guarantees our right to own and bear arms. Most of the people pushing gun control think it is perfectly all right for them to decide what we can and cannot own. Today let’s ban guns, tomorrow we can ban motorcycles, and the next day tell everyone what they have to eat.

Our constitution is the document that protects our freedoms. Please tell Obama and all his gun control supporters to read and support the second amendment.

Thank you
Harland Wyvell
Coon Rapids

District 15 in the news

To the Editor:

The St. Francis School District (ISD 15) has been in the news a lot in the last several years.

Most recently, the school board, in a four to three decision, decided to remove Matt Rustad from the school board because he plagiarized an article for The Courier. This article was printed in the September 2012 edition.

Outrage by members Amy Kelly, Dave Anderson, Harry Grams and Janet Glover grew at each passing meeting. They were adamant that Mr. Rustad resign. If not, they would remove him, an elected official, from the board by vote. They even spent upwards to $50,000 in a kangaroo court where he was tried and judged by a person hired by the district.

Now it’s known that in the September 2011 edition of The Courier, Amy Kelly plagiarized her article. As a role model for new, young board members, she falls far short. As for moral indignation, I hope that the board members who joined with her in attacking Mr. Rustad rise up and condemn her not only for her own act of plagiarism, but for her hypocrisy.

In a just world, Ms. Kelly would resign immediately. The school board members would express their shock and applaud her decision to resign and save them an outrageous sum of money to get rid of her, and Mr. Saxton and Mr. Lindberg would research the rules and policies and back up her decision to resign.

Maureen Ness
St. Francis

Improve oral health

To the Editor:

As we enter the new year with so many good intentions, I would like to invite everyone to add one more resolution to their list, improved oral health.

As a practicing dentist in Coon Rapids, I see firsthand the effects lack of regular dental care can have on the overall health and well-being of so many people.

If you want to feel good, stay healthy and look great throughout your life, you might be surprised what a difference a healthy mouth makes.

Whether you are eight or 80, your oral health is very important. If cared for properly, your teeth can last a lifetime. Losing your teeth is not inevitable, as it was for many in previous generations.

However, your mouth changes as you age, so being vigilant throughout your lifetime and having regular dental check-ups to detect any early signs of dental disease is critical to maintaining a healthy mouth and healthy body.

Some 100 million Americans fail to see a dentist each year, even though regular dental exams, combined with good oral hygiene, can prevent most dental diseases.

Dental care, of course, should begin at an early age, beginning with an infant dental exam within six months of tooth eruption and no later than 12 months of age.

You can begin brushing your infant’s teeth as soon as they appear with a pea-size amount of toothpaste, and you should always limit sugary and starchy foods and sugary drinks.

In particular, never allow your child to fall asleep with a bottle containing milk, juice or sweetened liquids. “Baby bottle tooth decay” can occur when sugary liquids remain on teeth for long periods.

With all the advances in dental care today, it is a sad fact that cavities remain the most prevalent chronic disease of childhood.

And, while it is preventable, children often end up in the hospital as a result of untreated pain and infection. Please don’t let your child be one of them.

By taking some simple precautions, including brushing twice a day, flossing and eating a healthy balanced diet, children can maintain healthy teeth and a happy smile, for life.

And be sure your child drinks plenty of water with fluoride to protect their teeth against tooth decay.

Children can expect to keep their teeth for a lifetime, so start them off on the right track with good oral health habits and regular visits to your dentist.

Today we know that there are associations between oral health and overall health and that physicians are beginning to work more closely with dentists to monitor the health of their patients.

Dentists are a critical part of a patient’s healthcare team, in that they are often the first ones to detect changes in a patient’s oral condition that can signify overall health problems.

People with diabetes, for instance, have a greater chance of developing gum disease, at a rate three to four times higher than people without diabetes.

And, untreated, gum disease can lead to a breakdown of gum tissue and bone that may eventually result in teeth becoming loose or falling out.

The good news is that your dentist may detect early stages of gum disease during regular exams and treatments are available to help stop the progression.

I urge you to make a resolution today to adopt healthy oral care habits at home and seek regular dental care. You can help your teeth last a lifetime and have a smile you’ll be proud of.

Dr. Alejandro M. Aguirre DDS, MS
Coon Rapids

Become involved

To the Editor:

As the 2013 legislative session begins this week, I want to invite every citizen of Senate District 35 to become involved in the lawmaking process.

With a projected budget shortfall to correct and education funding to protect, we will address many issues this session that directly impact your life.

As your elected voice in the Legislature, I want to know how you feel about these issues so that I can be a more accurate representative.

If you have questions, comments or advice, please contact my office any time at 651-296-3733.

If you plan to be at the Capitol for a day, please call ahead – I’d love the opportunity to visit with you.

As I return to the Capitol each January, I am reminded of how fortunate I am to serve in state government.

You and your families have given me an incredible opportunity to work for the best interests of our communities.

Thank you for allowing me that privilege, and thank you for being my partner in government. I look forward to working with you this session!

State Sen. Branden Petersen

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