Dorr: Hopes and fears abound as 2017 comes our way

Here we are on Saturday, Dec. 31, a day away from a new year that will likely bring some things we like and some we don’t.

One of the things people might not like in Mille Lacs County is a local sales tax that will run the tax rate from 6.5 percent to 7 percent starting tomorrow, Sunday, Jan. 1. County Administrator Pat Oman began pushing for the new tax late in 2015, saying the money will be used for road projects in the county. A figure of about $18 per year per person has been thrown around for how individuals would be affected.

They say that $13 million to $15 million will be raised during the 10 years the tax is in effect. (But have you ever heard of a tax that would be taken off the books once it is in place?)

So there’s one of the new things for 2017 in our area, like it or not. There was opposition to the new tax, of course, but county commissioners approved it and now it’s a done deal.

What follows are a few things I would like to see in 2017, as well as some things that will happen, like it or not.

It would really be nice if the Republicans and Democrats could get together and get some needed legislation done without all the name-calling and rhetoric that we have seen in recent years. Even nicer would be to have the governor sign a replica of a tax bill that was passed last year with about 90 percent of legislators on both sides of the aisle voting for it. (Will that ever happen again?) Gov. Dayton did the people of Minnesota a disservice when he vetoed that bill and then refused to call a special session to remedy the situation. That was a bad deal for state residents.

How about trying to make it through a whole year without another scandal of sorts for the athletic department at the University of Minnesota? Is that too much to ask? That department, fairly or unfairly, has certainly had its share of problems the last couple years. I’m not a big fan of head football coach Tracy Claeys but I don’t think he should be fired because he stuck up for his players without knowing the whole story. We’ll likely know in a couple days.

We’re going to get a new roundabout on Highway 95 at the entrance to the road that leads to Walmart. And that’s probably a good thing. It’s kind of a dangerous area at this point. Many who didn’t like the idea of a roundabout at the intersection of Highway 95 and Rum River Drive in Princeton are happy with how that one turned out.

Wouldn’t it be nice if the Minnesota Twins became relevant again? That might be too much to ask in a one-year time frame but it has happened before in the major leagues that a team rose from the ashes of a season as disastrous as last season was for the team. There’s new leadership, with relatively new ideas about how a major league baseball team should be run, computers and New Age statistics entering into the mix.  I’e adopted a wait-and-see attitude about the new guys. Meanwhile, if you’re interested, half-price tickets on the secondary market are readily available outside Target Field before any game.

It seems strange to me that Princeton, the largest city in its county, doesn’t have a county recycling site.  There are sites in Milaca, Onamia, Isle, Kathio Township, and, most recently, Long Siding. Why should Princeton residents have to make the trip to Long Siding? That decision likely means that a lot of what was recycled in Princeton until the site there was closed a couple months ago will now not be recycled.  And that’s not good.

Is it too much to ask of our legislators in Washington, D.C., to get more done, without all the partisan politics that we’ve become accustomed to in recent decades? It’s a disease that’s affected our state legislators also (see above) and I’m really tired of it. There are good people on both sides of the aisle and our senators and representatives need to recognize that and work together more than they do. OK, it’s probably a pipe dream.

I‘d like to lose some weight, along with millions and millions of other people, and keep it off. The reailty, unfortunately, is that many of us do drop some pounds, sometimes a lot, and then let them come back as the year goes on. I know better than to make a resolution but need to be more resolute in trying to make things more permanent. But, what are the odds?

Is it too much to ask the Minnesota Vikings, ensconced in their new play pen in Minneapolis, to end the season with a win over the Bears? Then the boys could at least say they had a .500 season at 8-8 after beginning with a 5-0 record. I will battle with myself this Saturday night about whether or not to go to the game and keep a streak alive of having attended at least one Viking game a year for the past 49 years. Some of the fun of attending those games went out the window for me, as well as season tickets eventually, when the team moved inside to the Metrodome. And now they’re in a palace.

The Martin Luther exhibit at the Minneapolis Institute of Art is on my list of things to do in 2017 and there are only a few more days to do it. After all, I was named for the guy, my parents having high hopes. A good idea would be to use the money I would have spent on the Vikings to instead see the artifacts of Martin, the guy who married a nun and turned the world of religion upside down.

And 2017 will be the year that Donald Trump becomes president. Some are looking forward to that, some aren’t. But let’s not try to pretend that the divide in this country is brand new. It’s been there for a long, long time as people found it hard to keep up with the Joneses, or more aptly, the 1 percent. Trump took advantage of  the frustration that many people feel about their station in life. One of his biggest challenges will be whether or not he can change things enough to placate those who voted for him. That will be a tall order.  Stay tuned.

And, perhaps most importantly, all of us will have to remember to write in the correct year when we write those first few checks of the new year. I got an early start on that today, the last day of 2016, by writing a couple checks for January bills and inserting the numerals 2017. That way at least a couple of them will be right.

SPORTS MEMORIES

Jan. 11, 1962 – Princeton beat Cambridge in wrestling, 32-14, as Steve Meixell, Jim Hohlen, Cedric Meixell and David Gens won by pins . . . Princeton lost to Cambridge 79-54 as Phil Kobbervig scored 17, Steve Lindell 14 and Steve Odegard 13.

Jan.12, 1967 – Princeton, 5-0 in conference play, beat Milaca 61-48 to stay on top in the Rum River Conference. Steve Cartwright scored 22 and Art Skarohlid 14.

Jan.12, 1972 – Princeton lost 60-54 at Spring Lake Park and 73-51 at Mora. Tom Rogde scored 15 in the Mora game and Mike Solheim and Bob Hedenstrom each had 12.

Jan. 13, 1977 – Swimmers Rick Findell and Jon Ingvalson, and divers Jim Pokorny and Bob Young, all PHS grads, were on the Southwest State University team . . . Laurie Peterson scored 22 in a 41-33 win over Milaca and Barb Northway had 15 points and 13 rebounds.

Jan. 7, 1982 – Princeton lost to Moose Lake and Chisago Lakes in a holiday  hockey tournament at Moose Lake. Dale Perbix scored twice in the 6-3 loss to Chisago Lakes, a game that included 29 penalties.

Jan. 8, 1987 – The boys basketball team lost three games in the Granite City Classic in St. Cloud, the closest a 59-57 loss to St. Cloud Apollo as Chris Klinghagen had 17 and Bryan Hoff 13. The Tigers led 33-26 at the half.

Jan. 9, 1992 – The girls basketball team beat Pine City 77-30 as Alison Ringaman had 15 points, Corrine Lundell 13 (9 rebounds,Wendy Jackson 11 and Tanya Dorr 9 (10 rebounds).

Jan. 9, 1997 – Princeton lost 66-62 to Tartan after leading 18-8. Jesse James had 22 points and 10 rebounds.

Jan. 3, 2002 – Princeton beat section foes Proctor, 3-1, and Duluth Denfeld, 3-1,  but lost 4-1 to Mesabi East in the Proctor holiday tournament. Joey Bacon scored two goals . . . The girls hockey team (6-7) beat Benson 5-3 in a tournament at Blaine. Becky Schwab had a goal and two assists.

Jan.4, 2007 – The boys basketball team  (6-2) ran its win streak to six as it beat Meadow Creek Christian 68-32 and St. Louis Park 62-53 to win its own holiday tournament. Ryan Fay had 18 in the St. Louis Park game, Tyler Roehl 16 and Joe Patten 10 (11 rebounds) . . . The girls basketball team (6-2) lost to No. 4 Detroit Lakes in the Sartell holiday tournament but beat Rocori 49-41 and St. Cloud Cathedral 62-50. Katie Loberg had 66 points in the three games, 33 in the win over Cathedral to go along with 23 rebounds.