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OPINION: Hats off to 'More Than Nothing'

Hats off to those who are "passing the hat" on behalf of the Perham-Dent schools.

The "More Than Nothing" (MTN) campaign has jumped off to a good start, and there is no shortage of ideas flowing. There's more information on the More Than Nothing campaign on page 3 of this week's Enterprise Bulletin, but the simple premise behind MTN is that, with the failure of the levy last fall, the schools received nothing in terms of funding. The campaign is an effort to raise "more than nothing," to help the school get by during these financially troubling times.

Already, the More Than Nothing campaign has raised nearly $1,000.

To follow the progress of the MTN campaign, check this webpage:

An important reminder from the MTN organizers: If you are considering a donation, it is tax deductible. And if you are considering a contribution for 2008, the new year is rapidly approaching.

More news of the local economy

A few follow-up observations from the "State of the Local Economy" presentation, which was hosted by the Perham Area Chamber of Commerce Dec. 9.

The panel included Kenny Nelson of KLN Enterprises; David Arvig of ACS; Chuck Hofius of PMHH; Mayor Kevin Keil; and Tamara Uselman, Perham-Dent school superintendent. Each speaker outlined the present and future of their respective institutions.

---Among the good news items at PMHH: During economic downturns, it is much easier to recruit medical specialists and physicians.

---The layoff of 140 workers from the Lund Boat plant in New York Mills was a blow, but for Barrel O' Fun and Tuffy's, it meant more workers available in the East Otter Tail labor pool.

---KLN expects to hire another 100 workers in 2009, said Kenny Nelson.

---With a down economy, consumers are more willing to buy the less expensive "store brands," as opposed to brand name snacks like Frito Lay. Since 70 percent of Barrel O' Fun's production is for private labels, this means increased sales.

---Layoffs of workers are not anticipated at any of the large businesses represented at the session--but the school will be letting workers go--and probably some teachers. Superintendent Uselman estimated that, over the past two years, the school has layed off 45 percent of its cleaning staff, 30 percent of its clerical pool, and 15 percent of its para-professionals.

---Five different pet food plants shut down recently, which means more market share for Tuffy's--which has experienced a 40 percent increase in sales over the past year.

---The good news for young people interested in a medical-health related profession: Nurses are in very high demand, and the pay is excellent. The average age of nurses in Minnesota is over 50--which means it is a great profession for young people.