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Chapman: Panther teams spoiling us

By Staff | Jan 23, 2015

The Rugby High School basketball teams are spoiling us with incredible play this season. The ladies are 11-2 and the boys are 9-1. Winning is contagious and Rugby athletes are feeling pretty good.

Let’s strive to commend the great spirit these young people play with and keep their brains fresh with positive reinforcement.

I understand that many fouls were called in Sawyer the other night. That will happen. The officials are not professionals. They are paid a pittance for the crap they have to put up with and some may be rookies. If they didn’t take time out of their evenings, our kids would not be able to play.

Good teams – and that’s what we have – will occasionally be the recipients of tough play as everyone wants to be the team to beat Rugby. That’s part of being good.

I was pleased with young reporter Thor Skjelver’s reporting on the game and noticed he asked coach Mike Santjer about the officiating in a post-game interview. Forty-eight fouls is a lot and Thor was right to ask about the impact. I was even more impressed with Santjer exercising his right to not comment. Good teams deal with everything, including the occasional less-than-favorable officiating. Let’s join Santjer and move on to the next one. Go Panthers!

Thank you, Mr. Nelson

Thanks goes out to Rep. Jon Nelson, R-District 14, and other members of the North Dakota House for killing Bill 1092, which would have eliminated the requirement for Extension Service ads in newspapers. Nelson and many others voted no and that was the right choice.

According to a release from the North Dakota Newspaper Association, Rep. Larry Klemin, R-District 47, testified that nobody reads newspapers anymore. Maybe in Bismarck they don’t, but here in Pierce County and small counties all over this cherished state citizens greatly value their newspapers. They also value their Extension agents, including our great Yolanda Schmidt. It is important that the Extension agents have the support of the county commissions and the state legislature. Pierce County should gladly pay about $360 a year to help the agent inform readers through a few advertisements. Schmidt already goes above and beyond with her weekly column and strong presence in the community.

Respond in timely manner

I went to the advisory board meeting for the Heart of America Community Service program last week and was amused by yet another example of silliness in local government.

A commissioner from McHenry County (the board also includes Pierce and Bottineau) wanted program director Yvonne Hagen to know how much he supports the program. He wanted to refute a claim I made in a column in May – yes, May of 2014 – that some commissioners in all three counties were incompetent and arrogant.

The commissioner had a photocopy of the column that ran in May – more than eight months earlier. He claimed that the column was out of line. I respectfully disagreed, but left annoyed at the lack of understanding about how a newspaper can benefit all.

To all future subjects of editorials you may not agree with: RESPOND! If a claim is made about a public official and the claim has no merit or doesn’t fully tell the story, that official has every right to respond in a letter to the editor.

If a public official feels wronged, he or she should stick up for himself, herself or the entity critiqued. Don’t sit on your hands for eight months because you only do a disservice to yourself and your constituents. What is a voter to think if his or her official is taken to task, yet the official has no response? Most are going to assume that the official was justifiably critiqued or else the official would have taken a few days to have a well-thought out rebuttal ready for the following week’s paper.

If the letter writer wants to take shots at the editorial writer, the best way to do so is by refuting claims made with facts supporting the contrary – facts that prove the official did his or her best to represent the taxpayers and their tax dollars.

Sadly, few have felt confident enough to refute claims. Could it be that they simply were not doing enough or not acting in the best interest of their constituents?

If memory serves well, Pierce County Commissioner Mike Christenson was the only elected official in the area to respond to criticism through a letter last year.

He actually responded to the exact editorial the McHenry County commissioner was ruffled about. Mike hand-delivered the letter (mail and e-mail work, too) and we respectfully spoke about it despite disagreeing.

Mike gets what so few others in elected positions understand. Dialogue is a good thing. Mike didn’t crawl up for months and whine about it. He addressed the matter. After that, it’s up to voters to decide whether they approve of their elected officials’ work.

As you can see on this page, an area representative to the North Dakota Legislature penned an update from the session. Readers should expect and demand monthly (at least) letters from state representatives, the mayor and chairman of the commissioners. If these officials are doing good by you, they should be eager to update you on what is being done to further the interests of the taxpayers and community.

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