SUN Sailor Editions Excelsior/Shorewood - Page 4

Opinions Sun Sailor Newspapers encourages the free and open expression of ideas and opinions. To that end, we welcome letters to the editor and guest columns from members of the community on issues of local importance. Commentaries can be sent to EXCELSIOR / SHOREWOOD Thursday, Nov. 1, 2018 • Page 4 Every vote counts, every vote matters Election Day 2018 is almost here. Hallelujah — the shouting, name-calling and the maddening “I’m so-and-so and I approved this message” will cease. I will gladly welcome back the com- mercials for pharmaceuticals and their endless list of potential side effects. We can again become Facebook friends with our cous- ins and in-laws. Current predictions point to a record turnout for a non-pres- idential year ballot, with more than 60 percent of eligible voters casting ballots. Minnesota has a tradition to uphold of leading the nation in election participation. But I have to ask, why would 40 percent of us not vote? Some people say they don’t like either one of the candidates for a top offi ce. They use that dissatis- faction as a reason to stay home. Sorry – bad choice. You can skip over a specifi c offi ce if you wish, but remember there are many races on the ballots that need our attention. Peggy Bakken Guest columnist Peggy Bakken is a former executive editor and a columnist for APG-East Central Minnesota. Reactions welcome: Others will say, “Why should I bother? One vote doesn’t matter.” Wrong again. We cannot say one vote doesn’t count in Minne- sota. One vote difference in only eight percent of Minnesota’s pre- cincts would have given the 2008 U.S. Senate race to Norm Cole- man instead of Al Franken. Two votes per precinct would have given the 2010 gubernatorial race to Tom Emmer instead of Mark Dayton. Elmer L. Andersen lost the 1963 governor’s race by 91 votes. This year we have many key rac- es — governor, two U.S. Senators, all eight members of Congress and the State House of Represen- tatives on our ballots. Our current climate and very harsh “Red vs. Blue” politics make this year a very big deal. Many of our congressional races are polling within a per- centage point. A few votes here or there could sway these races. The makeup of Congress in 2019 will be key to major national is- sues such as health care, taxes and federal spending. Quite a few of the State House races are very close. The impact on our state’s legislature could be dramatic. These lawmakers make decisions such as how much will we pay in state income tax, which highways will get built, and how much money our state colleges and universities will live on for the next two years. City council races can be won or lost by a handful of votes, enough to change the direction of a com- munity. Your city council decides how your streets will be main- tained and how many police of- fi cers patrol your neighborhood, among many other local matters. Many of our school boards have levy votes and contested board seats. Will your children see smaller class sizes? Will they get the latest in technology to help them learn? Will your property taxes go up or down signifi cantly? Early voting is underway – just check with your city hall for poll- ing hours. You’ll even be able to vote Saturday in most cities and counties – so you can’t use the ex- cuse that you’ll be out of town on Election Day. Our system of democracy works best when each individual under- stands the power of his or her vote and how important strong turn- outs can be. No excuses, fellow Minneso- tans. Cast your ballot this week, be heard and be counted. Provide for pollinators this fall We may be headed into fall col- ors, cooler weather and less day- light, but gardening doesn’t have to be all about preparing our gar- den beds for winter. There is still time to add native plants to your landscape to provide food and habitat for pollinators like bees and butterfl ies next spring and summer. Fall is actually a wonder- ful time to plant native plants to give them a head start on the next growing season. Why do we recommend plant- ing native plants for pollinators? Native plants are well suited to Minnesota’s environment and growing season, which means they typically don’t need much water or fertilizer to do well. Talk about low maintenance! They also typi- cally have long roots that prevent erosion by anchoring the soil and fi lter pollutants from stormwater runoff. This means that native plants do a great job at keeping our lakes, streams and wetlands clean. The fact that many native plants also attract pollinators is a win- win, as butterfl ies, bees and other pollinators are important for food production and healthy eco- systems. As they hop from plant to plant, pollinators help ensure the reproduction of plants that supply the foods we (and other animals) eat, the fl owers we enjoy, S AILOR Sherry White Guest columnist Sherry White is the president of the Minnehaha Creek Watershed District Board of Managers. and the medicine we need to treat illnesses. Unfortunately, we are seeing fewer bees, butterfl ies and other pollinators because of habi- tat loss, invasive species, diseases and parasites, chemical use and climate change. While these are big problems, we can all do our part by planting native plants that improve water quality and sup- port pollinators. As more people take action, the bigger the benefi t! When selecting plants, be sure to pick plants that will do well in your soil and sun conditions. And, if you have the space, choose a va- riety of plants that bloom at dif- ferent times of the year to provide a continuous supply of food for pollinators (and gorgeous color in your landscape) throughout the spring, summer and fall. Some of our favorites include wild lupine, blue lobelia, conefl owers, borage, wild bergamot, bee balm, blazing (PHOTO COURTESY OF THE MINNEHAHA CREEK WATERSHED DISTRICT) Meadow Blazing Star is a native pollinator that attracts butterfl ies. stars, asters, and of course, milk- weeds. Check out Blue Thumb’s plant fi nder for more ideas: blue- You can generally plant na- tive pollinator plants until about mid-October (our average ground freeze is mid-November), which provides the plants a head start on the next growing season. After planting, continue to water the plants until the ground freezes to See White , Page 5 (USPS 20730) Copyright © 2018 by ECM Publishers is published weekly by ECM Publishers, 10917 Valley View Rd, Eden Prairie, MN 55344-3730. 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