Forum editorial: A bouquet for election volunteers

PRAIRIE ROSES: To that group of citizens -- most of them older -- we see every year working at polling places on election day. They are election judges and clerks. Their job is to write down voters' names, initial ballots to prevent fraud and...

PRAIRIE ROSES: To that group of citizens -- most of them older -- we see every year working at polling places on election day. They are election judges and clerks. Their job is to write down voters' names, initial ballots to prevent fraud and explain the voting process to people who are confused. The Cass County Auditor's office says there are never enough election workers. If these people weren't willing to work 12-hour days on election day, we'd all have a problem. Our democratic system wouldn't work. And, while we're talking about it, a big pile of LEAFY SPURGE should go to the rest of us who have time to help but never do. We realize that it's virtually impossible for two-income families to help, but there are many people who could. In Cass County, district chairmen and chairwomen are responsible for finding two judges and two clerks, one from each political party, per precinct. In Clay County, the city clerk recruits election workers. The needs are great. If you can help, please lend a hand. And the jobs pay $7 to $8.50 per hour.

PRAIRIE ROSES: To the Rev. Ed Strom and a group of his parishioners from Triumph Lutheran Brethren Church in Moorhead. They took a day of their time and put the care in car care by winterizing the cars of fellow church-goers -- for free. Strom's team repaired and prepared the cars of single mothers, widows and those simply needing a mechanic's touch. They rotated tires, changed spark plugs, oil, headlights and wiper blades and inspected batteries, blinkers, belts and hoses. All the winterization costs were paid by the church's deacon board, assisted by a gift from Ward Muscatell. What a wonderful way to help others.

LEAFY SPURGE: To those involved in the shutdown of the major ports on the West Coast. Market-bound farm produce is rotting in the holds of ships as contract talks drag on between the dockworkers union and shipping lines. Each day the shutdown continues, it is costing the U.S. economy, which isn't exactly setting the world on fire right now -- an estimated $2 billion. Also, it couldn't come at a worse time for farmers -- the peak of the fall harvest. North Dakota and Minnesota farmers can't get their grain to the West Coast because Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railway has stopped shipping to avoid further congestion at the ports. This strike must be resolved, and soon.

PRAIRIE ROSES: To the Minnesota Department of Transportation, which is increasing payments to farmers for leaving standing rows of corn in their fields during the winter months. Farmers will now earn $1.50 per bushel more than the current rate. Standing rows of corn stalks help reduce snow drifts on state highways. Generally, farmers leave two strips of at least eight rows of corn, 200 feet from the highway. We're all for safety and this effort makes state highways safer at a time when they're most dangerous.

PRAIRIE ROSES: To Fargo Shanley High School seniors Brady Littlefield and Natalia Espejo, who have been named 2002 National Forensic League All-Americans. Littlefield and Espejo finished the season ninth and 23th, respectively, out of more than 100,000 forensic league student members nationwide. They currently sit in first and second place among national point leaders for the 2003 season. Shanley seniors Paul Storm and Ryan Thoreson and Fargo South senior Scot Miller also were honorable mention. We always knew forensic events were one of Shanley's strengths, but this is unbelievable. Congratulations to these students.


Forum editorials represent the opinion of Forum

management and the newspaper's Editorial Board

LEAFY SPURGE: To the Camden, N.J.- based Campbell Soup Co. for mislabeling a day's production of cream of mushroom soup. The cans contain New England clam chowder, which could pose a danger to people allergic to shellfish. Unfortunately, some of the mislabeled cans of soup were distributed to stores in Minnesota and the Dakotas. Fortunately, Campbell's has reacted swiftly to customer complaints and is recalling the mislabeled soup.

LEAFY SPURGE: To members of the California jury who recently awarded a 64-year-old woman, who had smoked for nearly 45 years, a record-shattering $28 billion in punitive damages in her lawsuit against Philip Morris Inc. Betty Bullock was diagnosed last year with lung cancer which has since spread to her liver. Bullock testified that she smoked of her own free will, even though she was repeatedly warned of the health risks by her doctors over four decades. We're opposed to smoking, but that award is absolutely nuts.

LEAFY SPURGE: To the cultural gulfs that exist in the world today. Is it any wonder we do not understand Islam? A cultural official was taken into custody the other day in Tehran, Iran, for failing to arrest an Iranian actress and the young actor she publicly kissed on the cheek. Socializing between unrelated men and women is banned by Iran's Islamic laws, and public kissing between men and women is considered taboo. They obviously don't have HBO and Cinemax in Tehran.

PRAIRIE ROSES: To all the people across the country who donated to the Jerry Lewis Labor Day Telethon and raised a record $58.3 million for the Muscular Dystrophy Association. The money raised included $17 million from the International Association of Fire Fighters in memory of fallen firefighters. Some of the firefighters who lost their lives at the World Trade Center Sept. 11 were active MDA volunteers. The privately funded MDA works to combat more than 40 neuromuscular diseases through research, services to those afflicted, and professional and public health education. Our generosity is one of the things that makes us a great nation.

PRAIRIE ROSES: To the North Dakota Air Force National Guard and reservists who have been told they may be needed for a second year in the war on terror. Maj. Gen. Michael Haugen, the state Guard commander, says the Guardsmen who are active in the security forces in Fargo have not been released, and have been told that their extension will continue. Haugen says he does not agree with the policy because the Guard is doing just as much as the active duty folks. They've served with distinction, but the extended duty will cause a hardship for some families and employers.

LEAFY SPURGE: To the Department of Energy officials responsible for a shipment of radioactive material that has gone missing after crossing the U.S.-Canadian border at either Port Huron or Detroit back in May. Officials said government inspectors first became aware of the missing shipment in early June, about a week after it crossed the border. Department of Energy nuclear emergency support teams have been searching Michigan and the northern Midwest for the elusive load. Meanwhile, we're supposed to feel better because Homeland Security spokesman Gordon Johndroe tells us nothing ties the disappearance to terrorism. Well, excuse us, but we tend to be somewhat skeptical. If we can't even keep track of a shipment, we're in deep trouble.


Forum editorials represent the opinion of Forum management and the newspaper's Editorial Board

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