FIFTEEN YEARS AGO THIS EVENING, 13 people died and 145 were injured when the 35W bridge collapsed during rush hour in downtown Minneapolis. Vehicles plunged into the Mississippi River. Others clung to the tilted, broken span of roadway. Lives were forever changed at 6:05 pm on August 1, 2007, when faulty gusset plates gave way and the bridge broke.
Within months of the collapse, I penned a feature story about Garrett for Minnesota Moments, a now-defunct magazine. Mine was one of the few initial interviews Garrett granted and I was both humbled and honored to share his story as a freelance writer. Prior to his departure from the editorial job in Faribault, we had connected. I remember Garrett’s kindness and compassion toward me after my son was struck by a hit-and-run driver in May 2006. I took great care in writing his story, recognizing that another journalist was trusting me to get it right.
Since then, I’ve lost track of the “author, father and 35W bridge collapse survivor,” as Garrett labels himself on his Twitter account. But I expect today, the anniversary of the bridge collapse, is difficult for him as it is every survivor and every single person who lost a loved one 15 years ago in downtown Minneapolis when the unthinkable happened. When a bridge fell.
There are moments in history that we never forget and, for me a Minnesotan, August 1, 2007, is one of those dates. When I heard the breaking news of the bridge collapse, I worried first about extended family who live in the metro. They were not on the bridge. While that diminished my personal angst, it does not diminish the tragedy of that day for those who were on that bridge. Like Garrett Ebling, the 144 others injured and the 13 who died. It is a tragedy, too, for those who loved them and for us, collectively, as Minnesotans.
ONCE UPON A TIME in The Land of Plenty, the villagers determined they’d had enough of the restrictions, recommendations and mandates imposed during a far-reaching health emergency. The Great Invader be damned, they would live life like it was 2018, pre-intrusion into their quiet village lives.
And so they did. They gathered in the arenas. They gathered in the squares. They gathered in the taverns and around the hearth. They packed the marketplace. They crammed into wagons and traveled hither-and-yon without worry. They cared only about their own happiness. No one, not even the Ministry of Health or the rulers of the kingdom, would tell them what they could and could not do.
Despite their best efforts, there was no denying The Great Invader’s presence in the land, even in the smallest of villages. But the villagers would never publicly acknowledge that. Such validation would only undermine their integrity and cast them as supporters of the kingdom leadership. They would not defect or risk becoming outcasts among their own. So, if worry or doubt entered their minds, they dared not share their concerns.
Even in that state of outcry or denial, depending on perspective, the Ministry of Health continued to post documents from the Office of Truthfulness in the village square. Oftentimes The Village Know-It-All would rip down the official scrolls, especially those listing deaths caused by The Great Invader. He didn’t need The Counters in the village adding numbers and circulating the results.
FACT & FICTION
Stopping the flow of information from respected wordsmiths, though, proved much more difficult. The writers were relentless in penning pieces about The Great Invader and his effect upon the people of the kingdom. To counter their efforts, The Village Know-It-All began posting his own carefully crafted stories for all to see. He was especially skilled in the art of manipulation. Whatever he wrote would be quickly repeated as the truth. He held that type of power.
The Great Invader, who could be everywhere and anywhere simultaneously, recognized opportunity when he saw it. He would up his efforts to invade the villages, to sicken the villagers, to cause pain and suffering. And even death. His job would be so much easier among those who refused to believe the Office of Truthfulness, who spread false information and who refused to take a life-saving potion available throughout the kingdom. He felt giddy with anticipation as he continued his invasion. This was proving much easier than he ever hoped, ever dreamed, ever thought possible in The Land of Plenty.
AS COVID-19 CASES continue to surge, here are some recent headlines from Minnesota media sources, plus one from Minnesota-North Dakota. Please, if you are unvaccinated, get vaccinated. Please wear a mask in public or in close proximity indoors to those outside your immediate circle, regardless of vaccination status. Be safe. Be well. Care about others. We need to stop The Great Invader/COVID-19.
Local hospitals see record patient volume in emergency departments—Faribault Daily News
The number of schools in Minnesota with confirmed COVID-19 cases has tripled twice in the last two weeks. What’s going on?—MinnPost
“How will we keep going like this?” School nurses, staff worry about burnout—Minnesota Public Radio
Hundreds of U of M faculty want stronger vaccine policies—Minnesota Public Radio
Protestors Demonstrate Against Vaccination Mandates Thursday in Redwood Falls—KLGR radio
Carris Health—Redwood Hospital and Clinic Reinstates COVID Visitor Restrictions—KLGR radio (posted on the same date as the protest story)
Avera Marshall reopens drive-up COVID testing as need grows—The Marshall Independent
Latest surge wears on Carris Health—Rice Memorial Hospital staff 18 months into the pandemic—West Central Tribune (Willmar)
Trending rise of COVID-19 continues in Morrison County—Morrison County Record
As hospitals struggle amid delta surge, North Dakota puts extra ambulances on stand-by—The Forum of Fargo-Moorhead
North Dakota baby’s nearly fatal fight with COVID-19 signals new risk to children—The Forum of Fargo-Moorhead
WHEN MY ELDEST DAUGHTER texted at 2:31 pm Tuesday that a verdict had been reached in the Derek Chauvin trial, I replied with one simple word. What?
That the jury could reach a verdict in such a short time—about 10 hours—following weeks of testimony likely meant that the former Minneapolis police officer would be found guilty of killing George Floyd on May 25, 2020, in Minneapolis by pressing his knee on Floyd’s neck for 9 minutes and 29 seconds.
I immediately switched on the TV to await reading of the verdict by Judge Peter Cahill. As I waited and watched news coverage, I felt a sense of hope. Hope that this would end in a conviction. Hope that, finally, there would be accountability in the death of a Black man at the hands of police.
I’d watched the Chauvin trial off-and-on. I heard the words of the bystanders who witnessed Floyd’s death, who pleaded with police officers to give him medical attention. Who asked Chauvin to remove his knee from Floyd’s neck. Who chose to pause and care and document and attempt to save another human being’s life. They felt hopeless, helpless, traumatized, according to their sworn testimony. I listened, too, to police officers testify against one of their own. And I heard Floyd’s loved ones and medical experts speak. Listening to testimony left me at times feeling exhausted and heart-broken.
So when the guilty of all three counts—second-degree murder, third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter—came down yesterday, I felt relief. Finally.
I watched Chauvin as the verdict was read. His eyes darted from side-to-side. I wondered what he was thinking in that moment and the moments following—when his bail was revoked, he was handcuffed and led away to wait in a Minnesota prison for his sentencing in eight weeks.
But mostly, I wondered how the Floyd family felt. Later they would speak at a news conference led by Civil Rights activist Al Sharpton and Civil Rights attorney Ben Crump. Said Sharpton: “This gives us the energy to fight on.” And Crump: “America, let’s frame this moment as a moment where we are finally getting close to living up to our Declaration of Independence…that all men are created equally…with certain unalienable rights like life and liberty and the pursuit of happiness.”
My mind focused on this single word: life. George Floyd needlessly lost his life on May 25 at the corner of 38th Street and Chicago Avenue in south Minneapolis, a place now known as George Floyd Square.
In the 11 months since, his family has focused on attaining justice in the death of their brother/cousin/uncle/father and on effecting change. They have done that with grace, poise, eloquence, prayer and passion. George’s brother, Philonise Floyd, has stepped up as the family spokesman. At Tuesday’s news conference, these words, especially, resonated with me: “Today we are able to breathe again.” That comment by Philonise linked directly to George Floyd’s plea to police officers as he lay face down on the pavement dying. “I can’t breathe.”
Much work remains to be done. Tuesday’s verdict marks an important step in accountability and a move toward justice and equality. It’s easy to type that. It’s harder to live it. To speak up. To take action. To care. And we need to care, whether we live along a rural gravel road, in a small town, in the heart of a big city or anywhere in between.
AT 6 PM TODAY, Minnesota Governor Tim Walz is expected to announce more restrictions related to COVID-19 during an address to our state. With cases, hospitalizations and deaths exploding, additional measures seem wise and necessary. Minnesota recorded 67 COVID deaths today, a new record.
On Tuesday afternoon, the governor led a press conference that focused on stories, what he termed “the basic human part of what COVID is.” If you read my MN Prairie Roots post yesterday, you understand the value I place on stories. Last Friday I emailed the governor’s office and suggested stories as a way to personalize COVID. Whether my email helped shape the approach taken at yesterday’s briefing, I don’t know. It doesn’t matter. What matters are the powerful stories shared. I feel it’s important to pass along these stories, using notes I took during Tuesday’s press conference.
“IF WE DON’T ACT NOW…”
Former State Representative Nick Zerwas from Elk River began the storytelling with his COVID experience, one which landed him in the hospital for five days. Only 39 years old but with an underlying heart defect, he required supplemental oxygen. “I was stunned that I was so overwhelmed and ill from this virus,” he said.
At times throughout the tele-conference, I heard Zerwas coughing and wondered if he would make it through the briefing.
Zerwas, a Republican, has done an about face on the virus, now advocating mask wearing and coming together to stop rampant community spread. He spoke candidly about his change in attitude, noting, though, that the virus situation (community spread) now is much different than this summer.
In his lengthy storytelling, followed by a media question, I found this statement by Zerwas to be particularly powerful: “The virus is here. If we don’t act now, God help us.”
IN THE ICU WITH HEART AND KIDNEY FAILURE
The second speaker, Sarah Winston, the mother of a 17-year-old daughter infected with COVID-19, spoke next. Hers is a story that needed to be told and to be heard by anyone who thinks they are “safe” from the ravages of the virus just because they are young and healthy.
Sarah described her daughter as a healthy student athlete who contracted COVID from an asymptomatic friend. Ella ended up in the hospital for 10 days with heart and kidney failure and more and deals now with inflammation of her heart.
This mother urged Minnesotans to stay home, to quarantine even if they test negative after exposure, to wear masks, to be safe, to be smart.
I was surprised to hear her say, though, that she wants sports to continue (for the mental health of young people).
“AN AWFUL EXPERIENCE”
Dr. Jon B. Cole, a doctor in Hennepin Healthcare emergency medicine, termed COVID-19 “an awful experience.” He spoke from both a personal and professional perspective. In March, when COVID was just breaking in this country, he canceled a trip to Florida with his wife and four children. Five days later, he developed the virus and was among the first in Minnesota to test positive for COVID. Cole emphasized how thankful he was for his decision to cancel the Florida trip.
On a professional level, he spoke of the “substantial number” of nurses and doctors now sick with the virus or in quarantine. He warned of a shortage in healthcare workers.
“I don’t want anyone else to endure what my family has had to endure,” Lt. Gov. Peggy Flanagan said after sharing the story of losing her brother to COVID-19 in March. She described her brother as “a Marine, tough as nails.” He cared for their father, who died in January. Not long after, he was diagnosed with aggressive cancer and then COVID.
Flanagan noted that she never got to say goodbye to her brother, that she hadn’t processed her grief. It wasn’t until October that her family buried his ashes. Grief threaded through her narrative. As did strength and a determination that her experiences will make a difference.
She emphasized that every life has value, no matter an individual’s age in obvious reference to many elderly in care centers who have died as a result of COVID.
Flanagan said it’s “killing” her not to have Thanksgiving with her mom, asking Minnesota families to do the same so the chairs around their holiday tables are full next year. She encouraged people to drop the “magical thinking” that one Thanksgiving dinner won’t count in stopping the spread of COVID. Those were hard words to hear.
“COVID will continue to spread as long as we allow it to,” she concluded, urging everyone to take care of themselves and each other.
SOME WORDS FROM THE GOVERNOR
When the press conference ended, the media asked questions, mostly of the governor. He noted there will be a pause in sports and other restrictions announced today.
He also expressed gratitude to those who shared their stories Tuesday afternoon. I am grateful, too, for those stories which, as the governor stated in his opening remarks, add the human element to this virus.
Walz offered one final observation: “This is as bad as it was in New York in the spring.” If only he was wrong.
Take care, dear readers. Make good choices for yourself and others. Follow health and safety guidelines/mandates. Be safe. Be well.
NOTE: I welcome comments and sharing of stories. However, I moderate all comments and will not publish those which are inflammatory or which spread misinformation and/or false narratives.
As Anaas stood at the podium and talked of patients from Stacy, Brainerd, Bemidji waiting for hours for helicopters and/or ambulances to transfer them, of the ICU filling, of overwhelmed healthcare workers, I could see the stress on her face, the worry, the strong desire to convince Minnesotans to follow health and safety guidelines and take this virus seriously. If her plea doesn’t convince people, I don’t know what will.
“So, Minnesota, lawmakers, mask wearers and COVID deniers, I’m here today to say that you need to believe nurses when we tell you that these things are happening,” she said.
Just moments earlier Anaas dismissed the term frontline workers, instead shifting that to say, “Minnesota, we are your only line.”
One of her most memorable statements: “Please, Minnesota, stay home this Thanksgiving so you don’t have to ring in the new year with me.”
WE’RE IN THIS TOGETHER
Repeatedly throughout the news conference, our governor, public health officials and other healthcare workers (including another nurse and a doctor) called for Minnesotans to do their part, to work together, to be kind, to stay home, to mask up, to social distance, to limit their Thanksgiving celebration to their immediate household. That’s a change from just days ago when we were advised it was OK to gather with no more than 10 people from three households.
How quickly things evolve with this pandemic. Reported record high daily infections of nearly 9,000 with deaths breaking records also prompted Minnesota Commissioner of Health Jan Malcolm to term the numbers “terrifying.” And she warned the situation will worsen as the high infection rate translates to increasing hospitalizations and deaths in the upcoming weeks.
Mixed with that bad news, though, seemed a concerted effort by those speaking to set a positive tone. A pep fest, if you will, praising Minnesotans for their efforts thus far and inspiring them to work together as “One Minnesota” (Governor Tim Walz’ unifying theme). Walz also noted the light at the end of the tunnel in promising vaccines. But we’re not there yet. He repeatedly called upon Minnesotans to do their part to stop the spread of COVID-19.
A LIGHT-HEARTED MOMENT
In the midst of all the dire news, Dr. Cuong Pham of M Health Fairview delivered a light-hearted moment when he shared how he learned to cut his hair via YouTube. I appreciated the humor mixed into his observations of hospitals at near-capacity, his concern about “the little hospitals in greater Minnesota,” his worry, too, about patients with healthcare needs beyond COVID. Heart attacks, strokes, car accidents and other emergencies continue. He stressed wearing masks, with the added words “over your nose.” I appreciated that. Over, not under, your nose.
These are difficult days. There’s no questioning that. I’d like to believe that we as Minnesotans have the ability to live up to our Minnesota Nice moniker, to believe healthcare workers like Kelly Anaas who need us to listen, and, as the governor said, “fight the virus and not each other.”
NOTE: I moderate all comments and will not publish inflammatory comments or those which spread misinformation and/or false narratives.
A sign posted at the Steele County History Center in Owatonna. Minnesota Prairie Roots file photo June 2020.
A PRESS CONFERENCE WEDNESDAY afternoon led by Minnesota Governor Tim Walz could have passed as a persuasive speech when he announced a statewide mask mandate effective at 11:59 pm Friday.
I needed no convincing as I listened and took notes. I’ve consumed enough reliable information from health officials and others to long ago recognize the value of wearing face masks during this global pandemic. Common sense also tells me that masking up helps limit the spread of the potentially deadly COVID-19 virus.
A woman attending an outdoor band concert in Faribault last week masks up in this edited file photo.
I’ve awaited this announcement for weeks as city after city in Minnesota—most recently Northfield in my county of Rice—adopted ordinances requiring face masks. The governor and his team are aiming for a 90-95 percent compliance rate to help slow the spread of COVID and save lives.
“This is a small sacrifice for a potential big gain,” Walz said as he referenced health and economic benefits.
The lieutenant governor called for Minnesotans to make wearing masks a part of their routine, to “normalize this” and to help kids get comfortable in masks to prepare for schools reopening. Children under five don’t need to wear masks, although masks are encouraged for anyone over age two.
At times, the news conference sounded like a pep talk. “Minnesotans, we can do this,” Walz said. “…we are good at doing things for others.” Wearing a Paul Bunyan buffalo plaid mask, the governor also urged people to be kind to one another in adopting this “science based solution.”
Social distancing remains part of the safety protocol to protect ourselves and others from COVID-19 as noted in this sign posted at the Steele County History Center. Minnesota Prairie Roots file photo June 2020.
Yet, several, including Minnesota Commissioner of Health Jan Malcolm warned that “A mask is not magic.” People still need to stay home when sick, avoid large crowds, practice six-feet minimum social distancing, wash/sanitize their hands frequently, avoid touching their faces… The state health department weeks ago recommended the mask mandate and Malcolm reiterated the importance of wearing face masks to help protect others and control the spread of COVID-19. She also noted that masking presents a psychological benefit in reminding people that “COVID is still with us.”
She echoed the governor’s sentiments with an encouraging, “We can do this.”
While Malcolm focused on the health aspect, Steve Grove, who leads the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development, focused on the economic side. Wearing masks will keep the Minnesota economy open and pave the way for further reopening, he said. The Minnesota Retailers Association earlier backed a mask mandate. He urged individual responsibility in wearing masks while also pointing out the need for businesses to assure employees are following the order and that signs are posted requiring customers to be masked. To that end, the state is shipping disposable masks to one Chamber of Commerce in each of Minnesota’s counties for dispersal to businesses.
When customers don’t comply, Grove suggested “thoughtful conversation.” He doesn’t want, he said, for businesses to become “the mask police.”
I photographed this mask wearing local while attending a car cruise in downtown Faribault in mid May. Minnesota Prairie Roots photo, May 2020.
At one point, the governor called not wearing a mask “reckless and not neighborly.” I could sense his frustration with how masks have become a political issue. “My responsibility,” he said, “is to follow the best guidance and the best science.” But then the Democratic governor noted that “President Trump is telling you to wear a mask.” Walz had hoped Republican leaders in Minnesota would support him in issuing a mask mandate. Up until now, they have not. I feel the governor’s frustrations, too, with those who make this a political issue.
I’ve felt incredibly frustrated also with the lack of mask wearing in my community among the general public, but especially by employees in several local businesses. They want our business, yet fail to recognize the importance of protecting customers. I recently decided that I would no longer shop at local businesses where staff do not mask up. Those include local hardware/farm supply stores and two bar/restaurants (where we’ve done take-out only). I also determined to no longer allow a mask-less grocery store cashier to check out my groceries. She wore a face mask around her neck, where it did absolutely no good.
Now all that changes with executive order 20-81, an order which DEED Commissioner Grove says is “rooted in health and growing our economy.”
Mask up, Minnesota. It’s the right thing to do for yourself, your family, your friends, your neighbors, your community, your county, your state and your country.
Published in the Faribault Daily News in August 2017 as part of a “Whiteout” campaign by Minnesota newspapers during Minnesota Newspaper Week. Minnesota Prairie Roots file photo 2017.
NOW, MORE THAN EVER, our community newspapers need our support. They, like so many businesses, have been negatively affected by COVID-19.
Ad revenue has plummeted due to business closures. One only need page through a local newspaper to notice the drop. Advertising, and subscriptions, pay expenses from printing to payroll.
The Faribault Daily News on my front steps, when it was still delivered by carrier. Today the paper lands in my mailbox, delivered by the post office. Minnesota Prairie Roots file photo.
Already in Minnesota, several newspaper—The Hastings Star-Gazette and the Bulletin, serving Woodbury and Cottage Grove and owned by River Town Multimedia—will cease publication in early May. In Fargo/Moorhead, The Forum is no longer publishing a print paper on Mondays and Fridays.
In my community and throughout the region, Adams Publishing Group employees’ hours have been cut. And more. I’ve lost work as a freelancer and columnist for an APG arts/entertainment/lifestyle magazine that has temporarily suspended publication.
I view this issue from an insider perspective, having earned a degree in journalism and with experience as a small town newspaper reporter and photographer, albeit decades ago. I understand the importance of community journalism. I understand how hard these reporters and editors work to bring you local news. I understand the long and odd hours and the low pay. I’ve been there. Now, more than ever, newspapers are an essential business in keeping communities informed.
Published as part of the “Whiteout” campaign in 2017. Minnesota Prairie Roots file photo 2017.
Journalists commit to bringing you the stories that matter in your community. Think about that for a moment. Stories that matter in your community. The feel-good stories. The watchdog stories about public meetings. The hard news. Only in a local paper will you see those stories and photos targeted specifically for your community or region.
The front page of the Faribault Daily News following a devastating tornado in September 2018. Local news found only in community newspapers. Minnesota Prairie Roots file photo 2018.
I am grateful to the reporters, editors, page designers, ad reps and more at my local paper, the Faribault Daily News, who continue to invest their time and energy in community journalism. All too often, people criticize their work. Complain. Please, don’t kill the messenger who delivers bad news, along with the good. The reporter is just doing his/her job.
Rather, we should be grateful. We should thank these hard-working men and women for all they do. And today that means making sense of COVID-19 on a local level—writing about locals sewing face masks, hospital staff cuts and, yes, even the difficult stories about people infected with the virus. You won’t necessarily hear or read those stories in other media outlets. Our community newspapers are just that, all about community. Your community.
Please support community journalism by subscribing to your local newspaper, by purchasing ads (if your budget and situation allow), by saying “thank you.”
What if your community lost its newspaper? This is the front page of the Faribault Daily News during the 2017 “Whiteout” campaign. Minnesota Prairie Roots file photo 2017.
Artwork created by Gracie for a student art show at the Paradise Center for the Arts, Faribault. Minnesota Prairie Roots edited file photo March 2018.
LIFE CAN BE TOUGH sometimes, really tough.
Five dead in a Minneapolis high-rise fire last week.
Four dead, including two young brothers and their mother, in an act of domestic violence in south Minneapolis just days ago.
Nine killed in an airplane crash in South Dakota.
The headlines and media reports can overwhelm.
Yesterday, a 16-year-old boy was taken into custody in my community after reportedly sending threatening texts to two students that he was “thinking about shooting up the school.” Faribault High School. A similar, but worse, scenario played out in violence in two eastern Wisconsin schools in recent days.
I wish the world was free of meanness, violence, hatred and tragedies. But it isn’t and never will be. Yet we have the power within our homes, our neighborhoods, our communities, our circle of family and friends, yes, within our hearts to individually treat others with kindness, compassion, empathy and respect. And that is a start.
THE CURRENT COLLEGE ADMISSIONS SCANDAL got me thinking about the whole process of applying to colleges and the pressure on young people today to get into the best, the most elite, the place that will supposedly launch them into successful careers.
Why has this mindset evolved? Who decides if a particular college should get that “best” label?
Why is admittance to certain universities so important that parents will spend lots of money on tutoring and test prep and whatever else to supposedly increase test scores? Some students retake college entrance exams repeatedly in an attempt to bump up scores. I can only imagine the mental angst of that process. And are those scores then truly a reflection of the student’s academic abilities? Or are students setting themselves up for insurmountable challenges if they gain entrance to an especially academically rigorous college?
That’s a lot of questions. I don’t pretend to hold the answers. But I wonder why it’s come to this.
Why are some of the wealthy and powerful allegedly getting away with (until now) buying their kids’ entrances into these top-rated, highly-selective universities? Every single young person should gain admittance to any college on their own merits. But it’s no secret either, that cost excludes many qualified and talented students from colleges. Having money allows others to attend those same colleges.
So, yes, wealth can buy you into a university that is financially out of reach for many families. Yes, financial aid can offset costs, but still may not be enough to make all colleges accessible to all.
Financial talk aside, ideally students should decide on college application choices based on their goals, their aspirations, their passions, their interests. Not on what society or their parents or anyone else thinks. Maybe that so-tagged outstanding university isn’t the best choice. Maybe the best choice is a community college or a state university. Or no college at all.
We as parents, as a society, need to stop putting so much pressure on our kids to achieve. We need to stop comparing, stop interfering, stop trying to micro manage and solve problems. In challenges and failures, our kids learn, too.
We need to stop handing out participation ribbons and trophies to everyone. Kids need to learn from a young age that they’re not always going to be rewarded for simply showing up. Not everyone gets the prize. And that’s OK.
Circling this back to college choices, I hope students choose to further their educations at colleges that challenge them, stretch their thinking, prepare them for their careers, broaden their worlds and more. Not because they think they need to attend a so-called prestigious university.
The art of Roosevelt Elementary School student Anzal Abdi displayed during a 2018 Faribault area student art show at the Paradise Center for the Arts. Minnesota Prairie Roots file photo March 2018, Used here for illustration only. I prefer peace over conflict, resolution over discord.
I’M NOT ONE TO CREATE discord and division. I really don’t like conflict. So it’s not often I write on current political topics. Hot topics seem to bring out the worst in people, especially in online comments. So be forewarned. I moderate comments. I’m OK with disagreement. But only if it’s civil.
Here goes, the current day topic that has me shaking my head in disbelief:
This whole border wall funding-federal government shut-down makes zero sense. Why? Because federal employees and ordinary citizens who have nothing at all to do with the border wall are being hurt. Financially. Emotionally. I am surprised this situation has continued for this long. But then I’m not surprised. And, no, I won’t expand on that. You can read between the lines.
Only in recent days have I heard the stories of southern Minnesotans feeling the effects. My nephew for one. He is an air traffic controller. Currently unpaid. He and his young family of five are OK for now. They have enough money saved to cover expenses for the next several months. But they are expecting a baby in April and that’s a concern.
Another young couple is also expecting a baby soon. And they are in the process of buying a home. But with the partial federal government shut-down, the home loan process is stalled. Talk about stress.
The third family is also expecting a baby. The expectant father works for the federal prison system. For now, the family is OK. They still have their health insurance coverage, a major worry with that baby coming.
I can only imagine how many more individuals and families are feeling the financial fall-out of no paycheck. How many folks are awaiting loans and more, all delayed now because of the impasse? How many people on vacation now find they can’t visit federal sites they planned to see or are caught in long lines at airports? One can only hope a resolution is reached soon as effects of the shut-down ripple through our economy, our country.
TELL ME: Are you personally affected by the shut-down or do you know of someone who is affected?