Vote for clean water

This Labor Day weekend, on a beautiful Sunday morning, my husband and I stood on the shore of a green lake in southwest Minnesota and remarked to each other how strange it was to not see a single boat on the water. According to the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency, over half of the lakes and streams in southern Minnesota are so polluted that they’re unsuitable for swimming or fishing. A deserted lake on a nice day is the sad result when lakes become too impaired to use. It made me wonder what lies ahead for our northern lakes if we fail to protect them.

Clean water is more important than ever, as a growing population makes more demands on our water supply. We still have time to protect our northern lakes and rivers from over-development, mining and ag runoff and pipeline spills but to do this, we need knowledgeable state representatives who care. We need Erin Wagner as our representative for Minnesota District 10B.

Erin understands that we need good water not only for drinking, swimming and fishing but that clean water also keeps our tax base strong. She knows that the success of our local businesses depends on healthy lakes and rivers. Imagine what would happen to the small businesses in our district if our lakes became unsuitable for fishing. It could happen, if we don’t vote carefully.

Erin Wagner has a strong background in conservation and her qualifications speak for themselves: she graduated with honors from the University of Wisconsin with a bachelor of science degree, majoring in biology and education and minoring in environmental sciences. She worked as an intern for the U of MN for two summers, studying the effects of climate change on prairie plant species. She did an independent study on soil-borne pathogens and a stint in the Canadian arctic studying plants and birds. Following this, she worked for a year at Seed Savers Exchange Heritage Farm in Iowa, working to preserve seed diversity. In our neck of the woods, Erin has worked as a naturalist at Long Lake Conservation Center, taught science in our area schools and is active on the board of the Friends of the Rice Lake National Wildlife Refuge.

Conservation Minnesota has endorsed Erin Wagner in her candidacy for state representative for District 10-B. They know we need Erin representing us, to make sure our local lakes don’t end up like that vacant, unusable lake in southern Minnesota. Please vote for clean water: vote for Erin Wagner in November.

Janet Hill


Response to column

Mary MacArthur’s Sept. 3, 2016 column [Note: this was the date it was posted online; it was in the Aug. 31 Age print edition.] misrepresents Planned Parenthood and misleads Aitkin Independent Age readers. Planned Parenthood Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota is the leading provider of high-quality reproductive health care in our region. One in five women in America has sought care from a Planned Parenthood health clinic. Women trust us, because our rigorous health standards have been developed with the nation’s top medical experts over our 100-year history nationally and our 88 years of providing care in Minnesota.

Ms. MacArthur claims that abortion is a dangerous procedure when in fact the opposite is true. Abortion has an over 99 percent safety record and studies show women experience complications less than one percent of the time (U.S. Department of Health, CDC). Planned Parenthood provides compassionate abortion services with the utmost safety and quality. We treat each and every patient with dignity.

 Ms. MacArthur also suggests that clinics that provide abortion services are devoid of regulation and oversight when the opposite is true. Clinics that provide abortions are designated as “physician clinics” and are regulated by physician licensure rules through the Board of Medical Practice. All medical professionals including our physicians and nurses are required to maintain professional standards and licenses and complete continuing medical education courses. The reproductive health services provided at clinics are subject to rigorous regulations that are attached to the providers of those services through their licensing boards, in particular the Board of Medical Practice and the Board of Nurses. In addition, all health care facilities are required to comply with a variety of federal and state regulations. These include the federal Clinical Laboratory Improvement Amendments (CLIA), Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), and Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) requirements, as well as state and local regulations including building and fire codes.

Planned Parenthood’s 18 clinics in Minnesota are a critical part of the family planning safety net in Minnesota and nothing is more important to us than the health and safety of our patients. The women and men who come to Planned Parenthood don’t come to make a political statement – they come because they need quality, compassionate health care. Claiming anything else is just misleading.

Meri Beth Kennedy

vice president,

clinical operations

Planned Parenthood Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota

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