Cyclists need to learn rules of the road
One of the nice things about Morris is that you can get anywhere you need to by bike - no pollution and free exercise to boot. But it's really important for us cyclists to know the rules of the road.
Imagine my surprise when a bicyclist in Morris told me the other day that the rules of the road didn't apply to her, since she (on a bicycle) was a "pedestrian"! We had this little discussion right after she sailed through a 4-way stop where she did not have the right of way (the car to her right did, and I happened to be the driver...).
The League of American Bicyclists (http://www.bikeleague.org/resources/better/index.php) lists the rules of the road for bicyclists, and at the top of the list is:
Ride with traffic and obey the same laws as motorists.
Use the rightmost lane that heads in the direction that you are traveling.
Obey all traffic control devices, such as stop signs, lights, and lane markings.
Always look back and use hand and arm signals to indicate your intention to stop, merge or turn.
So please, cyclists, keep it safe for all of us and obey the rules of the road. And, better yet - wear your helmet to set a good example for all the youngsters we are encouraging to live lightly upon our earth. Thanks.
Restore markers in area
A Marine killed in Iraq a few years ago had written years before his death that "It would bring me comfort knowing that, if I were to fall, my name would last through the ages for all to see." An Army sergeant before him wrote "In the end, there is a big parade and a monument built to immortalize us in stone."
That is why it grieves me to see the military foot markers of servicemen and women in many cemeteries sinking below the ground or being covered with grass and dirt, and few seeming to care.
That is why I'd like to see the American Legion, Veterans of Foreign Wars, AmVets, Son of Legion and auxiliaries take it on a project to raise these markers, clean them and give our veterans all the honor they deserve.
Now, I know at least one cemetery in this area does not want anyone raising markers, but most have no rule against it, as long as they are not raised so high that a mower hits them.
So veterans, let's honor our dead by restoring all markers in area cemeteries. I've done some, but many more require work.
Congress should pass trade deals
Agriculture exports are critical to farmers and are essential to the prosperity of the overall U.S. economy. Free trade agreements (FTAs) with Korea, Colombia and Panama have been stalled for several years causing major trading opportunities to diminish.
Economic analysis, performed by the U.S. Department of Agriculture's (USDA) Economic Research Service, estimates that annual direct U.S. agricultural exports to Korea, Colombia and Panama will increase by nearly $2.5 billion upon full implementation which will create approximately 22,000 U.S. jobs.
In total, the agreements are expected to increase direct exports from Minnesota by $99.1 million per year. The agreements will particularly increase trade for pork, beef, soybeans, corn, dairy, wheat and processed food and fish, resulting in nearly 900 additional jobs in Minnesota.
As farmers, we realize the importance of gaining long-term access to a growing market. Soybeans are Minnesota's second largest source of farm cash receipts, which totaled $2.6 billion in 2009. Minnesota's direct exports of soybeans and products to Korea are estimated to increase $8.3 million per year. The United States-Korea Free Trade Agreement (KORUS FTA) will provide access to Korea's 300,000-metric ton market for food-quality soybeans. Korea has agreed to immediately eliminate its 5 percent applied tariff on food-use soybeans.
Additionally, there are benefits from the increased export of meat products because of the indirect increasing export of corn and soybeans. Indirect exports of corn as a result of the KORUS FTA are estimated to be $17.6 million per year. Indirect exports of soybeans and products are estimated to by $6.6 million per year.
Each day that goes by without passing the agreements provides more opportunity for other countries to negotiate their own deals and less opportunity for job expansion in the U.S. As long as the administration and Congress fail to act on the pending trade deals, our role as a major trading partner diminishes, as well as opportunity for U.S. job creation. Farm Bureau urges the administration and Congress to expedite passage of these trade deals.
Stevens County Farm Bureau
Guy Koehl, president; Dennis Wulf, vice president; Deb Koehntop, secretary; Virene Luthi; Andy Aanerud; Anthony Ekren; Steve Fults; Loren Woodke; Barry Nelson; Tom Schneider