Readers’ Views

An appeal to smokers

To the Editor:

To smokers everywhere who wish to have a positive impact on the environment …

Did you know cigarette butts are made of plastic, not the cotton filter we had always thought, but actually a core of 12,000 plastic cellulose acetate fibers that are each thinner than a thread? And these filters can take anywhere from 18 months to 30 years to decompose. We’ve become accustomed to just tossing them out the window, onto sandy beaches or parking lots, thinking they won’t cause any fire.

I’ve learned, though, that the toxin/chemical-filled butts are lethal to our marine environment when they become runoff to our lakes and streams. This plastic can resemble their food. When affected by this residue, living organisms like the “water flea,” a beneficial aquatic insect, act crazy with erratic behavior, spin in circles and even die. These are one of the most important species as they are at the start of the food chain, are a main consumer of algae and one of the top food sources for game fish.

So this is a plea to all smokers: Mind your butts! Ha! I couldn’t resist! Help keep our land and lake environments clean. Please don’t litter. Dispose of your cigarette butts properly no matter where you are. Thank you.

Mari Phelan


Auction set for March 30

To the Editor:

There may be a reason for all this snow and rain. It most likely is because on Saturday, March 30, the Knights of Columbus will host the annual live/silent auction beginning 6 p.m. at St. John Vianney gym. We expect sunshine, warmth and dry pavement that evening, but it still will be too wet to go into the yard, so celebrate with our self-advocates from the Arc (people with disabilities) and Kinship members at a wonderful event.

All proceeds benefit programs in Martin County serving people with disabilities and their families and the Kinship mentoring group. And if you cannot attend, donations are always welcome. Send to: Knights of Columbus Council 1575, P.O. Box 992, Fairmont, MN 56031.

Hope to see you March 30.

Lee Ann Erickson

The Arc Minnesota


Tackling tooth decay

To the Editor:

Early childhood tooth decay is the most chronic yet preventable infectious disease in children. It’s estimated that 17 million U.S. American children do not receive dental care on an annual basis, making dental care the most common unmet health need of children in the nation, according to the National Children’s Oral Health Foundation.

Childhood tooth decay is yet another area more likely to affect low-income children. Children ages 2 to 9 living below the poverty line are twice as likely to suffer tooth decay and are twice as likely to have it go untreated.

Almost half of all children ages 2-5 have never been to a dentist.

Martin County Early Childhood Dental Network has witnessed this health concern in Martin County. The network approached local dentists with the need and they rose to the occasion. We would like to thank all providers and staff who assisted in Giving Kids A Smile on Feb. 2 at Fairmont Family Dentistry.

A special thanks to those that donated their time and profession. These include Dr. Chris Olsen, Dr. Kurt Erickson, Dr. Jeff Fordice and Dr. Jon Erickson; hygienists LaNell Klanderud, Dawn Grandgenett, Jan Rieland and Amy Pettersen; nursing students Amanda Matzer and Nadya VanVandern; dental assistants Jesse Anderson, Michelle Falgren, Pam Mino and Caitlin Abbas; and patient coordinator Kay Lemke. Many local children received free oral health services, keeping Martin County children smiling.

Anyone wanting more information may call the network at (507) 235-3141.

Thank you for the positive, healthy impact you have made on Martin County youth.

April Tordsen and Roni Dauer

Early Childhood Dental Network co-coordinators


Fund must be refilled

To the Editor:

With major flooding predicted across the state, I am supporting a bill that will refill Minnesota’s currently empty Disaster Relief Contingency Account.

We have to have something in place to take care of natural disasters, I look at the snowbanks along the Fairmont roads that are 8 feet tall and common sense tells you we are in trouble when things begin to melt.

The bill would transfer $20 million in Fiscal Year 2019 and another $20 million in Fiscal Year 2020 to Minnesota’s disaster assistance contingency account, effective the day after final enactment.

The account is now in the red after Minnesota responded with $11 million in relief to flooding events last year in Brainerd and Duluth.

There were three natural disasters last year in my district alone. We had floods, straight line winds and tornadoes. We need to do a better job of preparing for what is going to be an eventuality, and we don’t want disaster relief funding to get caught up in the inevitable end-of-session negotiations.

State Rep. Bob Gunther,