Readers’ Views

Feds allow extension

To the Editor:

On Oct. 18, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security formally granted Minnesota a one-year extension to comply with federal REAL ID standards. The new extension will expire on Oct. 10, 2018. The extension gives Minnesota enough time to prepare to issue compliant licenses. Legislation passed during the 2017 session instructs the Minnesota Department of Public safety to begin providing an option for REAL ID compliant driver’s licenses beginning in October 2018.

Finishing REAL ID was one of our top priorities this year. When federal officials announced they would begin implementing new REAL ID standards early in 2018, it became even more urgent. This extension means families who plan to fly, access a military base or enter a federal building will be able to do so hassle free — Minnesotans can continue using their current licenses for all federal purposes until next October, which will buy the Department of Public Safety the time it needs to begin issuing REAL ID-compliant licenses.

The bipartisan legislation signed into law provides a two-tier system. Minnesotans will be able to choose between upgrading to a REAL ID compliant license at no additional cost or continue using their current non-compliant driver’s license if they do not plan to use it for traveling, or entering federal buildings or military bases. It’s important to note that passports are and will continue to be REAL ID compliant.

State Sen. Julie Rosen,

R-Vernon Center

Touched by support

To the Editor:

To our family, friends and many supporters:

You have truly touched our hearts with the outpouring of love and friendship, offers of help and assistance, and the extremely generous financial support you have given to us after facing the devastation of two category 5 hurricanes.

Last week, we sadly left our piece of paradise in St. John, U.S. Virgin Islands. We are currently back in Minnesota trying to figure out our next step. We lost our jobs, our apartment and many belongings to the destruction of the hurricanes. The island will be without power for up to a year, and the housing situation is scarce. On that note, we decided to come back to Minnesota to regroup and analyze our next step. We miss the island immensely and hope to return one day.

The two benefit events held for us in Fairmont, while we were still in St. John facing the devastation, showed us clearly how light can be found in even the darkest of situations. We deeply appreciate each and every contribution. We are completely blown away and humbled by the number of people that have helped us out.

A huge thank you goes out to Jessi Carlson, Kate Malliet and the many other friends and family members who were involved in organizing the benefit and disaster relief party for us. We also want to thank the local band NUG for collecting donations on our behalf at their shows.

Although we cannot change the devastation and hardships that these hurricanes have presented to us, your outpouring of love and support has provided us with enormous comfort. We now have the relief and strength that comes from knowing we will be able to get back on our feet. Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today and creates a vision for tomorrow.

With our love and heartfelt thanks,

Jamee Hinrichsen

and George Pierce