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Column: Erickson and vonHaaren letters earn praise

The REaders' Board awarded two Golden Quills for June. Both writers tackled a subject in the public eye and both took a long-term view of the issues they presented, members noted.

Peter vonHaaren wrote a relatively neutral letter on silica frac sand mining - something new at the time in the heated debate. His main point is people are too quick to denounce things they fear or don't understand.

Readers' Board members rejected the letters original headline -- "Silica sand mining is new devil" -- because they said the letter, while referring to mining, goes much further. Therefore the letter appears today under the new headline "We're too quick to label 'new devil.'"

The second Golden Quill goes to Tom Erickson, who wrote about the closing of the Red Wing Planned Parenthood office. He did so with passion, but also was factual. His message: This is a fundamental service.

His letter also is reprinted here.

The letters provide good and different examples of what REaders' Board members consider "quill" worthy. The content is of public interest and the writer uses facts and positions to back up the argument. The topic, quality of writing and clarity of argument also are considerations.

The newspaper's volunteer board considers awarding a quill monthly with the express purpose of rewarding people who write letters in this era of quick emails and text messages as well as encouraging public dialogue on social and civic issues of the day.

Anne Jacobson

Anne Jacobson is news director with RiverTown Multimedia. 

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