Missota Paper Co. officials are trying to make the best of a bad situation.
Declining paper prices dealt a serious blow to the company that stepped in after Potlatch quit making paper at the northeast Brainerd site. Owners are trying to find an owner for the paper plant and are hoping that the mill will resume operations some day. Last week's permanent layoff of 148 employees was described as a procedural move that will allow workers to qualify for state and federal benefits.
Missota officials are expected seek a vote of confidence as they look for a forbearance extension to their loans at Monday's Brainerd City Council meeting.
The council should support Missota in hopes that it will be successful in its efforts to find a new owner. The city has invested no money into the Missota operation. There's no risk to the city by extending the plant its support. Granting the Missota Paper Co. a little more time could allow it to pay off its creditors, many of whom are private lenders.
Brainerd's Missota plant will rise or fall on its own merits in the free enterprise system. State and city government leaders want to see people working at the Brainerd plant but realize there is a limit to how much financial support it can give.
Missota's attempts to seek a forbearance extension at this juncture is a reasonable request.
Party activists can make their voices heard at caucuses
Activists of all political persuasions will meet at party caucuses starting at 7 p.m. Tuesday. The caucus system has plenty of critics but it does give citizens a chance to shape the viewpoints of their chosen party.
If someone thinks the candidates running for office or the positions taken by a party are too liberal or too conservative the caucus is the starting point to make a change.
In Crow Wing County the DFL will meet at Mississippi Horizons cafeteria. The Green Party will also meet at Mississippi Horizons. The Independence Party will meet at Central Lakes College Library. Crow Wing County Republicans will meet at a variety of precinct locations. Information on specific caucus locations can be obtained by calling the county auditor.
The media spotlight is likely to shine on the Democratic caucuses in hopes that Tuesday's meetings provide insight into which Democratic candidate will end up with the majority of Minnesota's delegates. Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., seems to be in the driver's seat at this point, nation-wide. If any of the other three candidates, Sen. John Edwards, D-N.C., Rep. Dennis Kucinich, D-Ohio, and Rev. Al Sharpton, are going to be in a position to challenge Kerry at this summer's convention they had better start demonstrating the ability to win votes now.
The caucuses are where citizens can have some voice in the choices they will get when they vote in November. As is always the case, the political victories will go to those who show up.
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