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By Wes Mader Community Columnist

The spectacle in Kabul, Afghanistan is painful to watch from either side of the political aisle. In spite of President Biden’s effort to shift some responsibility to former President Trump, and Trump’s pronouncement that it wouldn’t have happened if he were still president, the simple fact is that those in uniform often pay with their lives for the mistakes of their leaders.

It’s noteworthy to mention that while American sons and daughters were fighting in Kabul to protect American and Afghan civilians from terrorist attacks, members of Congress were home on recess. The vice president was touring Asia, which is a long way from the illegal immigration crisis on our southern border, which she was assigned to address by the president. The president, appearing to be somewhat alone and isolated, has offered comments about the situation that I presume were read from a teleprompter, while press secretary Jen Psaki offered accolades on the administration’s accomplishments.

While I won’t attempt to critique the motivation of our nation’s commander-in-chief, it seems to me that the decision to withdraw all support from Afghanistan’s military was received by the Taliban as an invitation from the U.S. government, for them to take over. We should not forget that it was America’s military that restored democracy to Afghanistan by removing the Taliban 20 years ago, and by their presence have maintained that democracy until our president’s recent decision that surrendered the country and its citizens, back to the Taliban.

Without question, the Afghan democracy was fragile at best, as any young democracy would be. However, its foundation for democracy was growing stronger as its younger generation was tasting freedom for the first time, and young women were becoming contributors to society instead of the possessions of radical Islamists. Reports last week of teenagers trying to escape the Taliban and falling from the landing gears of a U.S. evacuation aircraft, possibly provide a preview of what’s in the future for Afghans.

It is my hope that the recently unveiled mural in downtown Prior Lake (“Raising the Flag on Iwo Jima”) will serve as a daily reminder of the personal sacrifice made by our men and women in uniform, in the past and the present, as events in Afghanistan so starkly illustrate. It’s worth reminding ourselves that about 300,000 of America’s sons and daughters were sacrificed on the fields of battle to free Europe from becoming Hitler’s dream of a continent free of Jews and other ethnic minorities, and to stop the imperialistic leadership of Japan from gaining dominance over all of Asia.

There were 7,000 Americans killed and another 20,000 wounded on the tiny island of Iwo Jima during WWII, and it was America that stayed the course in Japan after WWII, helping to rebuild the country into a prosperous peace-loving nation. Our military is still there to help protect Japan from any would-be enemy that would take away their freedom.

As Prior Lake residents scan the mural, I hope they will be reminded that the whole island of Iwo Jima is only about half the size of our City of Prior Lake, that the number of U.S. casualties in that battle (wounded and killed) was about equal to today’s total Prior Lake population, and that there were almost 20,000 Japanese soldiers also killed. Can anyone even comprehend the human carnage that occurred there, or the courage of those who bore the brunt of the battle on both sides? I can’t.

The picture of the flag raising has always had special meaning for me, since navy Corpsman John Bradley (a friend of our family in my hometown) was reported by the U.S. military for about 70 years as being one of the flag raisers in the picture. More recently it was reported that Bradley was instead, one of those who raised the first flag on Mt. Surabachi (along with Charles Lindberg from Richfield), before the second flag raising was photographed. In any event, those who crawled and fought their way from the sands on the beaches to the heights of Surabachi to plant either flag, should never be forgotten.

For those who are “woke” and can only find injustice and discrimination in America, I would suggest they examine the goodness of America that has welcomed legal immigrants from throughout the world without regard to race or religion, probably making America the most diverse nation on the planet. That can’t be all bad.

Wes Mader is a former Prior Lake mayor. Following retirement after serving as president of Bowmar Aerospace and Defense in Ft. Wayne, Indiana, Wes and his wife Char retired in Prior Lake.

Please read more at link below ⬇️

https://www.swnewsmedia.com/prior_lake_american/news/opinion/columnists/commentary-afghanistan-and-iwo-jima-reminders-of-what-freedom-costs/article_a2bf958e-9c8a-5738-aeac-60f706fc2029.html?utm_medium=social&utm_source=email&utm_campaign=user-share

[About 7 minutes into the video Shannon Davis announces her resignation]

It was the kind of reaction that isn’t expected when someone announces their resignation at a school board meeting, but Shannon Davis who was a building nurse for the Prior Lake-Savage Area School district ‘walked off’ after resigning her position Monday night. Those in attendance celebrated Davis’ opinions shared to the school board, prompting the board to sit awkwardly while the cheers died down.

Davis’ resignation starts around the 6:45 marker of the video with her being called to the podium to speak. After Davis gives her address and position within the district an audible gasp is caught on a microphone after she stated to the board she was here to announce her resignation.

According to Davis, it was the “District’s mandates, regulations, and policies” that were in place throughout the 2020-2021 school year that prompted her to resign. Davis went on to say to the board that “We have failed the children and made them feel like they were the problem because of COVID.”

At the end of her time speaking Davis gave what I thought was the most honest assessment that one can give when she clearly looked deep into herself when she was writing this and then said “I will not harm the emotional, mental, or physical health and education of these children any longer. I hope you and the administration will forego the policies of this last school year and let the parents make the decisions that are best for their children.”

You can watch the entire resignation above in the video. Shannon Davis is still listed as a school district employee on the district’s website.

Looking at the district’s website, it appears that masks are being recommended but not required for those 2 years older and up at schools in the district. However, those using buses to come to school will be required to wear a mask when inside the bus. You can see the entire list of 2021-22 back-to-school plans here for the Prior Lake – Savage School District. 

Read More: “I Will Not Harm” Minnesota School Nurse Resigns During Meeting |

Please read more at link below ⬇️ Thanks 

https://power96radio.com/i-will-not-harm-minnesota-school-nurse-resigns-during-school-board-meeting/?utm_source=tsmclip&utm_medium=referral

 

Immigration has been a prevalent issue in the Biden-Harris             administration’s first six months.

  • The New York Times on Monday said the White House would continue a polarizing Trump border policy.
  • Insider asked experts to grade the administration on its handling of immigration thus far.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page

The New York Times reported Monday that the Biden administration would continue a controversial Trump-era border-closing policy known as Title 42.

Since President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris took office more than six months ago, their administration’s immigration policies and campaign promises have often been in the spotlight.

From a steady increase of unaccompanied migrant children crossing the border (including, possibly, an all-time high in July ), to a near-constant barrage of Republican and Democratic criticism over the issue, to the status of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, there are still many immigration issues for the administration to negotiate.

Harris has served as the public face for the administration’s handling of immigration since March, when Biden assigned her to head the government’s efforts to slow migration at the border by addressing root causes in Central American countries.

In June, during her first trip to the US-Mexico border since taking office, Harris called for an end to the political “rhetoric” and “infighting” over immigration. The stop in El Paso, Texas, came three weeks after she visited Guatemala on her first foreign trip and told migrants “do not come” to the US.

In May, June, and July, Insider asked seven immigration experts to give the administration a report-card-style grade on its handling of the issue so far.

Pedro Rios , director of the American Friends Service Committee’s US/Mexico Border Program:

Grade: D

Why:

Rios told Insider a “good percentage” of his low grade was because of the administration’s retainment of Title 42, the Trump-era pandemic-related emergency rule used to rapidly turn away migrants with the exception of unaccompanied minors. Policy experts have said it played a massive role in the increased number of children crossing the border earlier this year.

The monthslong continuation of Title 42 has surprised many immigration advocates, who expected the administration to reopen the pathway for asylum seekers.

“There are people that have died in attempts to cross into the US or have been placed in precarious situations,” Rios said.

Rios also criticized the administration’s lack of clarity for communities that have been affected by construction on border-wall projects through land confiscation and damage.

What the administration can do better

First and foremost, Rios wants to see Title 42 ended, and soon.

Beyond that, he’s concerned about what he sees as a push by the administration for infrastructure known as “smart” or “intelligent” borders, as an alternative to natural physical borders – a proposal included in the immigration bill Biden sent to Congress earlier this year detailing his commitment to “modernize” the immigration system.

“I think Biden’s commitment to this type of border enforcement is troubling for me,” he said. “So I would like to see a rejection of adopting intelligent technology for enforcement without there really having been an analysis or discernment about how these type of tools can wreak havoc.”

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A US Customs and Border Protection agent standing guard on the US side of the US-Mexico border fence.

PEDRO PARDO/AFP via Getty Images

Carlos Rojas Rodriguez, longtime immigration organizer who Biden told to ‘vote for Trump’

Grade: F

Why:

“When Biden was running for office, there was a concern within the immigrant-rights movement, to see how much he would distance himself from the Obama-administration legacy of mass deportation,” Rojas Rodriguez told Insider.

“We had nice rhetoric and terrible practices, and with Biden so far, when the rubber meets the road what we are seeing is disappointment and disappointment.”

On the campaign trail, Rojas Rodriguez challenged Biden during a question-and-answer period asking whether he would commit to a full deportation moratorium, which Biden rejected, and later told Rojas Rodriguez to “vote for Trump.”

Rojas Rodriguez told Insider that moment and Harris’ ” moment of honesty ” in Guatemala had also defined the failures and priorities of the administration on immigration. Rojas Rodriguez added that for “low-hanging fruit,” like raising the refugee cap from the previous administration, it took movement and political pressure for the administration to increase it.

What the administration can do better :

Rojas Rodriguez told Insider the administration should make clear its legislative priorities, use the congressional legislative process known as reconciliation as a tool on immigration, and include a pathway to citizenship for all immigrants living in the US illegally.

He said nine in 10 farmworkers were unauthorized and many more had worked in other industries deemed essential throughout the pandemic.

Lee Gelernt , deputy director ACLU Immigrants’ Rights Project

Grade: N/A

Why:

Gelernt declined to give the administration a grade but said overall the administration has done “very well” on immigration with one notable exception: the border. In particular, Gelernt criticized the continued existence of Title 42 for families and adults.

“We have never believed Title 42 policy is lawful or humane or was necessary as a public-health measure,” Gelernt told Insider. “We are deeply troubled that the Biden administration has retained that policy and I think that the retention of the Title 42 policy for families is a significant blemish on the administration’s immigration work.”

In January, the ACLU filed a lawsuit against the federal government regarding the expulsion of asylum seekers under Title 42. In the months following, the administration and ACLU held negotiations in the case. Gelernt was unable to discuss certain concessions made by the government thus far but did say the two sides agreed on a Title 42 exemption for particularly vulnerable families.

On June 8, the administration and the nonprofit agreed to another advance in the lawsuit until June 18, but Gelernt warned that an imminent timetable is necessary.

“In the next coming days, we’re going to have to see a timeline for ending Title 42 very soon or we’re going back to court.”

What the administration can do better :

Gelernt said he was pleased to see Harris’ focus on addressing the root causes of migration during her trip to Guatemala earlier this month.

“As the VP acknowledged, people do not want to pick up and leave their home countries … separate their families if they don’t have to,” Gelernt said. “So, if we can eliminate the violence in those countries as well as the other problems … then I think we will see less migration.”

But ultimately, fixing root causes of migration is a long-term solution. Gelernt urged the US to allow asylum seekers to enter the country and make their claims in the meantime.

“I was very disappointed to hear her continue the administration’s message of telling people not to come,” he said. “We cannot be telling people to stay home no matter how much danger they’re in.”

Gelernt emphasized the US’s decades-long duty to accept asylum seekers and encouraged the administration to, instead, send a message that highlights that commitment.

“The [Biden] administration has done an enormous amount of good and has eliminated most of the Trump administration’s restrictive and unlawful immigration,” he said.

“But if we eliminate the opportunity to see asylum for very much longer, we are going to do real damage to the country’s historic commitment,” Gelernt added.

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Central American asylum seekers arriving at a bus station after being released by US Border Patrol agents on February 26 in Brownsville, Texas.

John Moore/Getty Images

Roberto Lopez and Laura Peña, TX Civil Rights Project

Grade: D/F

Why:

“On the border wall alone, it’s been a failure,” Lopez told Insider.

He mentioned that several of the organization’s clients, including the Cavazos family , had had their lands seized for border-wall construction through carryover eminent-domain cases from the Trump administration. On the campaign trail, Biden promised to withdraw from those types of lawsuits and promised that “not one more inch” of the border wall would be built.

Lopez and Pena added that the maintaining of Title 42 at the border was a major issue. In terms of the Remain in Mexico policy , they commended the administration for ending it “in name,” and later promising that people whose cases were closed could reapply. The test, they said, would be how the Biden administration would process people who fell through the cracks because of Trump-era asylum policies.

What the administration can do better :

They said the administration should withdraw from all eminent-domain border cases and return lands seized already. Both added that the administration must rescind Title 42.

Bob Carey, former director of the Office of Refugee Resettlement under Obama admin

Grade: B/B+

Why:

“There needs to be an element of realistic appraisal in terms of what has been achievable in this time frame,” Carey told Insider, adding that he wouldn’t give the administration a pass on its border policy so far.

“People see the optics of immigration through the border, but closing down the border is not an appropriate response,” he added.

Carey added that in his view, he wouldn’t say the Biden administration had failed because there was still a rebuilding of humanitarian and legal representational capacity at the border and across immigration agencies that the administration needed time to adequately carry out.

What the administration can do better :

Strengthening the asylum system so that it is safe, orderly, and transparent. Carey’s biggest qualm had to do with messaging and transparency.

“Things have been communicated inconsistently, it’s important that there be an all-of-government approach on immigration,” Carey told Insider. “‘Do not come,’ can be interpreted as, we don’t have an asylum policy, or the border is closed.”

Carey mentioned that the flip-flopping on the refugee cap was another example of a poorly-fleshed-out message and goal. He told Insider that going forward, the Biden administration needed to prioritize a multipronged approach and foster a “broadly-engaged humanitarian commitment” on immigration in a bipartisan way.

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Harris and Guatemala’s minister of foreign affairs, Pedro Brolo, at her arrival ceremony in Guatemala City on June 6 at Guatemalan Air Force Central Command.

AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin

Oliver Merino, coordinator for Immigration Legal Resource Center

Grade: F

Why:

Merino said there had been plenty of disappointments stemming from promises made on the campaign trail and felt that the page hadn’t been turned from the Trump administration on immigration.

“The comments that VP Harris made in Guatemala, honestly could have come from an official in the Trump administration, almost word for word, and they could have come from the Obama administration as well,” Merino told Insider.

Merino’s low mark also related to the maintaining of Title 42 border closings and the ongoing deportations despite a promised deportation moratorium. He added that the recent budget included increases for the US Customs and Border Protection and detention, and said that on the legislative side, the administration so far had not prioritized immigration bills.

What the administration can do better :

Merino said the administration should immediately rescind Title 42 as a start. Merino added that the administration should also clarify its priorities for deportation, which were updated in a late-May memo from Immigration and Customs Enforcement .

Vicki Gaubeca , director of Southern Border Communities Coalition:

Grade: B-

Why:

“I think I’d give them a B- only because the intent to create a humanitarian, efficient process is there,” Gaubeca said. “The minus would come from them just not figuring out how to do that quickly and correctly, I’d say.”

Gaubeca criticized the administration for relying too heavily on US Customs and Border Protection, an agency she said operated exclusively through a law-enforcement lens with no humanitarian considerations.

But from her perspective, the Biden administration’s approach to immigration thus far had already been a massive improvement from the Trump administration’s method, and she’s optimistic about the future.

“We’re not where we want to be, but at least we’re not where we used to be,” she said.

What the administration can do better :

Gaubeca had several recommendations for how the administration could improve its handling of immigration and the border: lift Title 42; connect with nongovernmental immigration organizations on the ground and make sure they’re adequately resourced; and shift away from a law-enforcement approach to managing the border.

“Ultimately … continue to push for a just and fair immigration reform that is not tied to more border security,” Gaubeca said.

“Immigrants actually strengthen our nation,” she added. “We need to figure out a way to do that that also protects human rights and dignity of people that will ultimately be useful for us.”

https://www.newsbreakapp.com/n/0bFpb1tb?pd=08FPFjw6&lang=en_US&s=i0

By Jacqueline Devine jdevine@swpub.com Jul 20, 2021

If you’ve recently driven around Prior Lake and noticed local veterans on downtown banners, you can thank Prior Lake resident Mark Kes for initiating the Hometown Hero Banner Program.

The Prior Lake Hometown Hero/Military Banner Program was established in 2020 with the help of the Prior Lake VFW Post 6208, in partnership with the city after Kes wanted to honor his son, Jaden Kes, a U.S. Navy active duty veteran, in some way in the community

The program recognizes and honors individuals who made the choice to serve in the United States Armed Forces.

“I have a son who is in the Navy and my wife started talking to the VFW and they wanted us to talk to the city. So, we talked to the city and they wanted it to be a joint venture and make it something bigger,” Mark Kes said. “Last year we did active military personnel and this year we did the Vietnam veterans since we’re losing a lot of those veterans on a yearly basis now. We’re going to have a theme every year.”

There were 16 banners in total honoring active military members the first year in 2020 including Jaden and 44 banners honoring Vietnam veterans this year. The banners are displayed Memorial Day through Veterans Day on light poles each season on Main Avenue SE from Pleasant Street to 160th Street.

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U.S. Army veteran Roger James Kes’ Hometown Hero banner hangs in downtown Prior Lake. Kes served in Vietnam from 1967-69.

Submitted photo

Honoring Roger Kes

This year, in honor of Vietnam veterans, Mark decided to honor another family member as a surprise to his cousin, Aaron Kes, who currently resides in Phoenix, Arizona, by hanging his father’s banner downtown.

Aaron, who was traveling on a business trip, decided to stop and visit family in Prior Lake once he found out about his father’s image being honored in the community.

“I didn’t know until the banner was up. My first reaction was that it was just a really nice thing,” said Aaron Kes. “As someone who lost a parent, it’s nice to have anything that honors them or reminds you of them. It was a really cool thing having it up in the town that we’re from. It’s a really special thing and I thought it would be cool to see. This whole trip was to see it.”

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Aaron Kes stands in front of his father’s banner in downtown Prior Lake. Kes’ father was Roger James Kes, a U.S. Army veteran, who served in Vietnam from 1967-69. 

Submitted photo

Aaron’s father, Roger James Kes, was a U.S. Army veteran who served in Vietnam from 1967-69.

Roger was born on Sept. 22, 1949 in New Prague, Minnesota. He died Nov. 13, 2002 at the age of 53 in Glendale, Arizona. Roger spent the first half of his life in Prior Lake where he attended school and graduated from Prior Lake High School. He married Carol Pahl on July 18, 1970 and lived in Prior Lake until 1988 until they moved to Arizona.

Roger’s older brother, Don Kes, who is the second oldest of eight siblings and resides in Prior Lake, said Roger was wounded during the war and was awarded a Purple Heart for injuries he endured while on active duty.

“He was wounded one time. There were 11 soldiers in the platoon one time and they were surrounded. They had to shoot it out, four of them were killed and he was one of the wounded,” said Don Kes. “He was sent to Australia right after that for recovery. He was there for two weeks and then came back and they put him back on the front line because he was an expert shot. He ended up with malaria and had a dislocated shoulder. He wasn’t really the same when he got back.”

Aaron Kes said his father was the strong, silent type but had a good sense of humor as well.

“My dad was a quiet guy, I think Vietnam had a lot to do with it because he went through some stuff but he was a fun guy,” said Aaron. “He was a bit of a sarcastic rascal and I definitely got that from him. I definitely get a lot of my sense of humor from him too. The two things we could always talk about was sports and military shows. He was a hard working man, he worked like crazy. He was just a good guy.”

Aaron Kes said his father also had a love for Christmas and would always take the time to decorate the family home.

“He’d always take off the week of Thanksgiving to make a big display at our house,” said Aaron Kes. “As a kid who didn’t want to work, I always had to reluctantly help him. But it always felt so special. Our neighbors would always slow down just to look at it. He was very into it in Minnesota too but when we moved to Arizona he stepped it up big time because it was easier with no snow.”

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Military Banner Program soldier pictures from 2020 including U.S. Navy active duty veteran, Jaden Kes, pictured on bottom right.

Courtesy of Prior Lake VFW Post 6208

Community pride

Prior Lake Mayor Kirt Briggs said he is proud to have the Hometown Hero Banner Program in the community.

“The citizens of Prior Lake and the tribal members of the Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community have a long and rich history of serving the country in uniform,” said Briggs. “The Hometown Hero banners on Main honors those that have served and invites each of us to reflect on our past and give thanks to those that served.

“As a Purple Heart city, Prior Lake has long recognized and appreciated the sacrifices that have been made by our veterans and those in active service today. It is wonderful to hear that many family members are traveling in to Prior Lake to visit the banners and join us in honoring our Hometown Heroes.”

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Kes family members sit with Prior Lake Mayor Kirt Briggs. Front row from left to right: Don Kes, Kirt Briggs, Mark Kes. Back row: Aaron Kes and Jim Kes.

Submitted photos

Aaron Kes said the military banner program was a great way to show support.

“It makes me feel like I’m a part of something special,” he said. “I didn’t know my dad obviously when he was in Vietnam, but I know it was a big part of his life. Any time he would tell stories about it his eyes would light up, not with excitement, but you can tell it was a really important to him. I think I’ve only seen him cry two times ever in my life. I think honoring him and active duty veterans is a wonderful thing.”

For more information on the Prior Lake Military Banner Program visit vfwpost6208.com/military-banner-program/.The banner program is completely non-profit and operated by volunteers.

Please read more at Prior Lake American: 

https://www.swnewsmedia.com/prior_lake_american/news/banners-in-downtown-prior-lake-honor-local-veterans/article_f14eafe9-69b0-5ab6-9171-7fbb302b6e2b.html

 

 

Happy Father’s Day 👨 👩 ❤️

“A father is someone you look up to no matter how tall you grow.” —Unknown

Happy Father’s Day to all the dads out there! #fathersday