Budgeteer Our View: On senior 'brain drain' ... and ethanol
For decades we've heard complaints about a "brain drain" in northeastern Minnesota as young people move from our area to other places, usually the Twin Cities, because they can't find adequate jobs here. When they leave us, they create many voids...
For decades we've heard complaints about a "brain drain" in northeastern Minnesota as young people move from our area to other places, usually the Twin Cities, because they can't find adequate jobs here. When they leave us, they create many voids, including a need for volunteers to work in hundreds of public endeavors.
But there's another type of "brain drain" affecting Duluth, Hermantown and Proctor that's hardly mentioned in the media: senior citizens who leave our area for greener -- and probably warmer -- pastures.
These seniors take with them an energy, a rich sense of history and skills needed here if northeastern Minnesota is to thrive.
The latest example of this is the imminent departure of former radio and TV newsman, retired teacher, athletics activist and political junkie Bill Cortes.
Several weeks ago, Cortes, a Twin Cities native who moved to Duluth as a young man, revealed he was pulling up stakes and leaving Duluth, lock, stock and barrel. Destination: the East Coast.
When Cortes, 70, leaves Duluth in a few days, he'll take with him an incredible thirst for life and an intense desire to do good things for his community.
Starting in 1975 as a hockey coach at Lakeside's Portman Field, his long list of accomplishments includes -- but is not limited to -- serving as Duluth's Amateur Hockey Association director; Minnesota Amateur Hockey Association vice president; leading several teams to the MAHA state tournament; assistant hockey coach at Duluth East High School; and a member of the committee that built the Fryberger and Peterson arenas. He and others founded the Duluth Touch Football League.
Cortes also stayed active coaching baseball and football, and somehow he found time to earn a living -- first as a distinguished radio and television newsman at KDAL-AM (610) and KDAL-TV Channel 3 (now KDLH-TV) for 14 years, then as a teacher in the Duluth schools for 15 years.
So now, with boundless energy to do even more, Cortes has decided to move out of this area, and Wilmington, Del., will be the fortunate beneficiary of his talents. We're not sure if the weather drove him out, or if the petty politics of this area finally got to him, but, whatever it was, he's leaving us.
Cortes is a good example of the type of resident we cannot afford to lose, regardless of age. We must do more to persuade our veteran residents to stay with us, just as we want to provide more opportunities for young people to remain in northeastern Minnesota.
If you suspect your motor vehicle isn't performing as well as it did before Minnesota required that 10 percent ethanol be added to your fuel, brace yourself.
The Environmental Protection Agency is considering a proposal that would increase the allowable percentage of ethanol in gasoline from 10 to 15 percent. (The waiver request to the EPA wouldn't necessarily affect Minnesota, though.)
In addition to our objection to using food for fuel -- although some ethanol comes from algae, plant waste and the like -- some studies say ethanol results in more greenhouse gasses because of "indirect effects," such as loss of forest to cropland. Other studies maintain that today's corn-based ethanol reduces greenhouse gas emissions by as much as 59 percent over oil-based gasoline. It seems to be a subject open to debate.
Your turn. The deadline for public input into the EPA's proposal is July 20. Submit your comments to www.regulations.gov and follow the instructions.