As resident of Brainerd for 19 years and a surgeon at Brainerd Medical Center, I know secondhand smoke causes death and disease. The research is clear and indisputable that secondhand smoke is the third leading cause of preventable death and disease in the United States.
In 2006 the U.S. surgeon general released a report summarizing more than 30 years of research on the health effects of secondhand smoke that concluded that there is no safe level of exposure. Secondhand smoke contains 250 known toxins, 50 Class A carcinogens, 11 cancer-causing agents and causes more than 49,000 deaths annually. Heart attacks, heart disease, lung cancer, asthma, sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS), and low birth weight are other related diseases.
In 2005, at least 581 Minnesotans succumbed to the deadly effects of secondhand smoke, including 411 from heart attacks and another 112 from lung cancer. These people are my patients, our family, friends, and fellow community members.
As a community member I am also sensitive to the economic concerns of local businesses. Their contribution is important to the financial well being and the economic vitality of the Brainerd Lakes Area. Under the Freedom to Breathe Act all of Minnesota will be covered by the same law that sets the standard; a fact that I believe will lessen the economic impact on local businesses. One of the main draws to our area is our clean air, now inside and out.
Through the efforts of the Minnesota Medical Association, collaborating organizations, and involved members of many Minnesota communities, the Freedom to Breathe Act goes into effect on Oct. 1, 2007. I truly believe Brainerd and indeed all of Minnesota will be physically and financially healthier.
James Dehen Jr., M.D.,
Fellow of the American College of Surgeons
President-elect, Minnesota Medical Association
Generals who disagree are gone
Maybe a corporal or a sergeant, instead of medal chested generals to let the people of this country know what's going on in Iraq! But, here we go again. Herr Bush and his Gen. Petraeus are adding another chapter to "Bush's Book of Lies" They're telling us nothing in regards to ending Bush's war and bringing the troops home now! How many generals that have disagreed with Bush are still around? None! They are either retired early, reduced in rank, or shipped out! This sick president of ours (Liar) has got to go! The sooner, the better!
And on top of all this, a statement was made by Bush's general, that we (the U.S.) will need troops in Iraq for years to come. That's some prelude to what the people of this country wanted to hear. Like I said, another chapter for "Bush's Book of Lies"
Presidential mistakes abound
While reading the Open Forum article from Sunday, Sept. 2, "There's no excuse for Bush's mistakes," I couldn't help but chuckle. I agree with the author that we should all reflect on what the Bush administration has done for us. He reduced the amount of taxes we pay, turned around an economic recession, provided a strong economy and responded strongly to 9/11 which lesser men would not have done.He also made available record amounts of federal funds for recovery from hurricane Katrina totaling over $88 billion.
In discussing mistakes and lack of preparation by a presidential administration we need only look to the 1990s to find a long list of glaring mistakes by the Clinton administration (which is trying to return to the White House in 2008). Lord help us all if we return to the days of presidential sex with interns, arming North Korea with nuclear reactors, failing to respond to multiple al-Qaida attacks, Whitewater, cattle future schemes, tax evasion, Travelgate, Pardongate, Castle Grande, missing law-billing records, 900 FBI files on political opponents and Hillary-care. Let's not forget they refused to take custody of Osama bin Laden when asked to do so by the Sudanese government.
I admit that it's easy to armchair quarterback any President's decisions. I also admit that President Bush has made some mistakes while making hard decisions and keeping our country safe. Could we have honestly hoped for any more from one of the stellar presidential candidates the Democrats offered us including; Al Gore, Dennis Kucinich, Al Sharpton, John Edwards, Howard Dean and John Kerry? Joe Lieberman (ID-Conn.) also ran in 2000. In 2006 the Democrats tried to take away Lieberman seat in the Senate because he thinks that we should continue fighting terrorism and trying to secure the Middle East. That should give you a good hint on how to vote in 2008.
Knollwood-210 junction dangerous
I cringe as I wait for the light to turn green so I can get onto 210 from Knollwood and head for work. I cringe not only because I worry about my safety, but the safety of those kids standing there anxiously waiting to cross to head to classes at the 2000-student Forestview Middle School.
My point is that someone is going to get killed or hurt severely at this intersection sometime in the near future. I see almost every day, a motorist "going for it" to beat the yellow or the red. I've actually counted to three before entering the intersection on my green, only to see an east/west motorist speed through at 70-plus miles per hour. Had I not looked both ways for that additional three seconds I would have been T-boned and probably killed by that motorist.
Is everyone as cautious or value their life as much as I do? Does everyone want their own family to make it home safely every day? Apparently not. But if you do feel the same way that I do, if you see the same scary things that I see at this intersection every day, then voice your opinion as I have today. Contact the Baxter Police Department and encourage them to keep a closer eye on this intersection, especially around the beginning and ending of the school day. Furthermore, contact the State Highway Department at 828-5700 and demand that something as simple as the "Be Prepared To Stop When Light Is Flashing" signs be placed at both ends of 210 that flank Knollwood. These signs seem to help at other locations and would be a great addition to the safety of the pedestrians that have to run the 210 gauntlet every single day.
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