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Column: Writer shares his passions

Most Golden Quill winners write about local matters, but the REaders' Board occasionally awards the Golden Quill to a local resident who draws attention to a national or international matter. Such is the case with Ray Anderson.

The River Falls resident and former Pierce County Board member received the Quill for his letter about the pros and cons of drinking bottled water. The letter is reprinted below.

Anderson is a frequent contributor. He usually writes about politics, but the environment is another of his favorite themes. He acknowledges those are lifelong passions.

"Those two things -- environment and politics -- ever since the Depression when I grew up and listened to my father complain about the corporations. He would say, 'Now you have to rely upon government,'" Anderson recalled.

He appreciates the agricultural and environmental programs that came out of the Franklin D. Roosevelt era. Anderson cited the Civilian Conservation Corp, Works Progress Administration and Public Works Administration as examples.

"It was a tremendous period in my life," he said.

He spent 26 years on the Pierce County Board and called the Pierce County Extension and Land Conservation committees his favorites. They led to state committee appointments and chances to champion environmental concerns beyond local boundaries, he said.

His most recent letter to the editor generated a personal letter to him from a lobbyist for bottled water. That individual disagreed with some of Anderson's views but at least acknowledged that the industry can improve efforts to reduce the amount of plastic that ends up in landfills.

That letter has prompted Anderson to contact some municipalities for information on all the tests they conduct to ensure a safe public water system. He said readers should expect a follow-up letter in the future.

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Many of you attended Ruth Nerhaugen's farewell open house Dec. 6 or sent warm wishes. We heard over and over how her stories touched and even changed your lives. We couldn't have asked for a better send off.

Anne Jacobson

Anne Jacobson is news director with RiverTown Multimedia. 

(651) 301-7870
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