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Page 4 The Star October 20, 2014 OPI00[ION No need to change pharmacy rules Summary: North Dakota's law is unique but is also essential to main- tain a level playing field. This is the third go-round for a contingent of people and big business moguls who want to change North Dakota's pharmacy law. The concept has a dicey background that spans the last half decade. The ballot initiative was first proposed in 2009, but a judge rejected the sponsoring group's signatures due to the absence of the names and ad- dresses of sponsoring committee members alongside the signature peti- tions. In 2011, the initiative was proposed for a second time. The second at- tempt was filed by Republican Duane Sand, but did not make the ballot. Earlier in 2011, state legislators proposed to amend the state's phar- macy ownership laws. However, the North Dakota House defeated the measure by over 70 percent. The organization spearheading this needless intrusion into North Dakota's law is none other than your local Walmart. The retail conglom- erate has contributed nearly $1 million to support this measure. If it passes, that investment will likely be returned in just a few months. Supporters of this measure call it the "Lower Pharmacy Prices Initia- tive." That's a blatant falsehood. Perhaps it should be called "Let's Just Give All Our Money to Walmart." The facts are much more simple than supporters choose to tell the pub- lic. Voting "yes" to change the law will drastically reduce competition, make getting medication more difficult for small-town residents and sound a death knell for community pharmacies across the state. Anyone thinking that this is an overstatement has only to drive through a business section in small-town North Dakota. The number of stores are declining and those who are hanging on work considerably harder at just doing that. The pendulum has long-since swung in favor of the big box stores, who are treated much differently by wholesalers than our local, privately- held businesses. This unfair advantage has meant shuttered windows, fewer local employees and the loss of tax-paying enterprises in every town from Pembina to Bowman and Crosby to Hankinson. Proponents claim the law's passage would be good for the state's res- idents. They tout the aforementioned lower prices and other conven- iences. The fact is, North Dakotans have the greatest convenience imaginable when they can count on a local pharmacist whom they know. In addition, even Steve Boehning, the president of the North Dakota Pharmacists Association, argued that repealing the existing law would not increase competition and consumer choice. "Look at the facts and realize we have the best pharmacy business model across the country by far. Today in my opinion the law is even more important because of the fact that we have insurance companies owning pharmacies. CVS up the road from me is owned by Caremark which is the largest pharmacy insurance company in the county. They can, in turn, force consumers to use their drug stores. So the law prevents that conflict of interest. Your choice does not become restricted so you have to go to the pharmacy the insurance company owns," Boehning ex- plained. Further more, Reuters news service conducted a random survey of the state's independent pharmacies and compared their prices to a CVS in Bismarck. A 30-day supply of a generic blood thinner ranged in price be- tween $10 and $59.95 at independent pharmacies. The same drug and dosage cost $149.95 at the CVS. Let's hope a "no" vote will put this issue to rest for good. Other Views By Lloyd Omdahl How to contact your District 9 Legislators Rep. Tracy Boe 5125 89th Street, Mylo, ND 58353-9438 Home Telephone: 701-656-3427 Cellphone: 701-477-4005 Email: tboe@nd.gov Rep. Marvin Nelson P.O. Box 577, Rolla, ND 58367-0577 Home Telephone: 701-477-3422 Cellphone: 701-550-9731 Email: menelson@nd.gov Sen. Richard Marcellais 301 Laite Loop NE, Belcourt, ND 58316-9787 Home Telephone: 701-477-8985 Cellphone: 701-278-0632 Email: rmarcellais@nd.gov Committee has no dog in this ballot fight "Whose idea is this Community Civic Summit?" growled Old Sievert as the town's 14 electors trooped into the chilly community hall for a spe- cial meeting of the Homeland Com- mittee. "We have to keep up on the issues of the day or be left in the dark," Madeleine Morgan warned. She had been bugging Chairperson Ork Dorken for the meeting since the pri- mary election. "For one thing, I'm against this measure keeping all schools closed until after Labor Day," Orville Jor- dan, the retired depot agent, declared with an air of certainty. "Whatever happened to local con- trol?" he asked rhetorically. "What do we care about school opening? We have no kids," Holger Danske countered. "That's probably why we have no school," Einar Torvald added in- sightfully. "Well, if we have no school and no kids, this is not our issue," Josh Dvorchak argued. "Local control is every North' Dakotan's fight," Orville asserted. "They say it's too hot for kids to study in August," Madeleine ex- plained. "Well, let each school district de- cide about the heat," Orville contin- ued. "It's always warmer in the west than the east so let Dickinson wait until Labor Day and let Grand Forks start earlier if they want to." "Well, we have no school so we have no dog in the fight," Chief Alert Officer Garvey Erfald offered to cool the rising temperatures.. "Then there's this mortgage tax !" Dorsey Crank exclaimed, changing "There's this other measure that w0Uld let the big stores and chain squeeze q Pharmacy in Forest- berg. Maybe we should put our dog in that fight." the subject. "Who is thinking of a mortgage tax when we got billions in the state treasury?" "Well, nobody, but just in case somebody thinks of it, it will be ille- gal so there won't be any time wasted thinking about it." "It looks to me like nobody has a dog in that fight," Dorsey concluded. "I hear there's a measure to abol- ish the board for universities and turn it over to three full-time managers," Holger Danske volunteered. He picked that up at Rummy's Bar in Pavlich where they talked about the heavy stuff. "Will it make students smarter to have a three-member board than a 10-member board?" asked Einar Stamstead. "This ain't about students," Tor- vald explained. "It's about higher ed- ucation." "This town doesn't have anybody in college. Little Jimmy is taking all of his college on the computer," Orville pointed out. "Looks like we have no dog in that fight, either," Dorsey moaned, hoping for some kind of argument. "How about that measure appro- priating money for conservation and parks and stuff?" queried Tor- vald. "Well, I'm for that because my nephew has a big swamp on his land and has been raising ducks for free while hunters have been getting all the fun shooting them. Maybe he can get paid with this new program," Old Sievert surmised. "Anybody here own a swamp?" Garvey asked as he scanned the room. "Nope. That's another fight we have no dog in." "There's this other measure that would let the big stores and chain drugs squeeze out Getwell Pharmacy in Forestberg. Maybe we should put our dog in that fight." "Oh, I'm not so sure," Holger doubted. "I got Medicare so I don't know if I would travel 40 miles just to save two bucks and put Pills Getwell out of business. "Anybody here own a drug store?" asked Garvey, looking around. "I thought not. No dog in the fight." "Good grief! It's hardly worth an election if we can't have a dog in some fight," mourned Dorsey. "Well, I'm sure pleased we had this thoughtful discussion of the is- sues," Madeleine declared proudly as she swung a wool scarf around her collar to leave. The meeting left Ork praying for democracy as he rapped his Coke bottle to adjourn. School start idea is a good one Seldom has there been a more Other Views successful grass-roots effort to affect change than Measure 8 on the No- vember ballot, the initiative to re- .... quire that public school classes start after Labor Day. It's been parent-driven from the start. It's underfunded (if funded at all). It's opposed by many in the os- sifted public school hierarchy. It's favored by families who, for years, have understood that summer vacation should not be cut short be- fore the official end of summer - the Labor Day weekend. North Dakotans should vote "yes" for a school calendar change that's been a long time coming. Among opponents' complaints is that the change usurps local control. It does not. The number of days on the school calendar is fixed in state law, and ules ahd early prac- tice. True enough. So, if the measure passesi jl local school schedules are estab- lished within that time frame. The measure would merely say school should not start before Labor Day. That's all. It does not say when school should end or what sort of configuration local districts must adopt to accommodate the legal re- quirements for days in school. Oh, heavens, cry coaches and sports schedulers: We're going to have to make huge changes in play- ing schedules and early practice. True enough. So, if the measure passes, just do it. Public schools all over the nation seem to find a way. It can't be that complicated. Measure 8 is one of the best ex- amples of North Dakotans using the election process to change what local school districts and state policymak- ers have refused to do. Here's hoping a large "yes" vote leaves them prop- erly chastened. (This editorial first appeared in the Fargo Forum.) ! assion for one Sl:),00rt has spa,, ned a monster I'm a baseball lover but have long-since ad- mitted that football is now America's favorite sport. That's fine, although it's becoming abun- dantly clear that the National Football League is turning into an uncontrollable entity in just about every facet of its existence. The NFL is like to a despotic ruler that can- not be told what to do, only modifying it's stances under extreme public distaste and even then won't fully admit its wrong doing. The latest example of this is a recent story in the Minneapolis Star-Tribune about the NFL's 153-page document of demands for the city when it hosts the 2018 super bowl. Let me preface this by reminding you that the NFL is considered a "non-profit" corpora- tion, even though its commissioner is paid $40 million per year. Here's just a sample of what the NFL demanded from the city before allow- ing it to host the super bowl: A Cha w' Max by JTN Free police escorts for team owners, and 35,000 free parking spaces. Presidential suites at no cost in high-end hotels. Free billboards across the Twin Cities. Guarantees to receive all revenue from the game's ticket sales -- even a requirement for NFL-preferred ATMs at the stadium. Let me remind you that a large portion of that stadium was paid for by the taxpayers of Minnesota even though the team is owned by a billionaire. The NFL dedicated six pages of its demands to "government guarantees," which include multiple requests of police, clean-up crews and waiving of standard fees and licenses. It could also mean that if cell phone signal strength at the team hotels is not strong enough, then the host committee -- at no cost to the league -- "will be responsible (for erecting) a sufficient number of portable cellular towers." Perhaps the worst part of all this is that both the NFL and the city's super bowl committee is being allowed to keep all the specific costs and agreements private. Proponents of this type of coddling are claiming that the city and state will reap untold benefits that will offset the costs involved in bringing the super bowl to town. That's easy to say when they don't have to release the finan- cial costs. Like I said, football is a fun sport to watch, but when the NFL starts to run over taxpayers like linebackers, it's time to think about how much we want to support a billionaire boys club. Pages from the past... 10 years ago October 18, 2004 "The end of an era is coming in Rolla. It'll be marked when the 'pop' officially stops. The popcorn ma- chine at Curt's Theatre in Rolla is on its last kernels and the death watch has officially begun. The machine, famous for both its age and its out- put, is close to 50 years old." "The Ojibwa Indian School Board will revise plans for its school in an effort to reduce costs after con- struction bids exceeded expectations by $2.5 million. According to a press release from the OIS board, the $26.7 million project has been hin- dered by high bids and subsequent lawsuits accusing the school of 'bid shopping' on a public contract." "Students at Dunseith Public School selected their 2004 Home- coming Royalty last week. They in- cluded Prince Devin Poitra, King Lance Ekern, Queen Jaclyn LaFoun- tain and Princess Camey Belgarde." "It's been a landmark season for the Rolette-Wolford High School volleyball team. The Comets had their first two-win week, getting by Dunseith and TGU. Freshman Kristyn Nelson helped lead the way with eight digs and five aces. Dun- seith received four aces from Priscilla DeCoteau and two from Devon Fugere." 30 years ago October 15, 1984 "Homecoming events will be staged this week at Rolette High School. Members of the homecom- ing court include David Rose, Amy Biberdorf, Marty Amble, Arlene Nelson, Corey Berube, Carolanne Agnes, Darrin Kruschwitz and Toni Thingvold." Carla Hoesl, daughter of Dr. and Mrs. D.L. Hoesl of Rolla, has been awarded a J.F.T. O'Connor Scholar- ship at the University of North Dakota. The $250 scholarship is awarded to high schoo ! seniors w!th hig h academic achievement. Carla is a 1984 honor graduate f'R'ola'.lq(gl' School.' ....... ': : "Winners in the annual Punt, Pass and Kick competition were pre-' sented trophies at halftime of a girls basketball game. Winners, and their age, included Kody Allard, eight, Shane McDougall, eight, Tony Des- jarlais, eight, Ryan Mears, nine, Jacob Larsen, nine, Mat Sundin, nine, Dustin Roberge, nine, Troy Ale bertson, 10, Christopher Desjarlais, 11, James Bown, 11, Brian Tupa, 11, Randy Mattson, 12, Mitchell Wilkie, 12, Kevin Baumgarn, 13, Corey Jura tunen, 10, Mike Tupa 10 and Cameron Mickelson, 12." 60 years ago October 14, 1954 "Doreen Curry and Mary Reese were crowned co-queens at halftime of the Rolla-Bisbee homecoming football game. Miss Curry is a junior and Miss Reese is a freshman. Crowning the queens were Larry Gailfus and Milton Millgan, co-cap- tains of the Bulldogs. Attending to the queens were Sharon Lee, senior, and Dyanne Disrud, sophomore." "Mrs. Georgianna Doehler of Perth has been signed as the new sixth grade teacher at the Mt. Pleas- ant School. She fills the vacancy left by the resignation of Mrs. Chas." "Bill Putnam, who was trans- ferred to the Red Owl store here from Grand Forks, started work at his po- sition last week. The family is living in the basement apartment at the F.A. Darling house. Putnam was em- ployed in the Red Owl store in Grand Forks before moving to Rolla." Letters to, the editor The Turtle Mountain Star wel - : comes letters to the editor. The letters must include the author's signature, address and phone number for verification of author- ship. Mail them to: The Turtle Mountain Star PO Box 849 Rolla, ND 58367 We reserve the fight to shorten letters, edit out factual errors and reject those deemed libelous, in poor taste or of a personal nature. We will not run letters from the same author two weeks in a row. All opinions expressed are those of the author and do not represent the opinions of The Star. E-mail us at: tmstar@utma.com