WESTBROOK, Minnesota (STPNS) --     One of the worst things I hate writing about is bad news, particularly at the local level. Fortunately for us we seem to not have the  kinds of things that make the state or national news, happening in our small communities.

    However, we are not totally immune from disasters or tragedies that do occur somewhat less frequently in our rural communities. I have covered numerous bad accidents, both on the highways and in the farming or business community. I am always a bit relieved after a holiday weekend is past and there has been no serious tragic events that have happened.  

    I would much prefer writing stories of people and their accomplishments, or unusual hobbies, or school students and their achievements in academics, sports or other activities in  the communities.  

    So other  than the preface of this column I will not say  anything bad about politics or anything else that comes to mind.

    Whoops ó I am going to have to break that promise. On Sunday, while watching a news program, they did a piece on heroin. It seems that heroin is becoming a huge problem in our society. I donít know how prolific it is in our small communities, but would not be surprised if it were  available in some of them.

    I donít recall the city, but it is one  of the larger cities in Canada that has a program for heroin users to bring in their heroin and are supervised by medical personnel who provide them with clean needles and sterile conditions to inject themselves with their own drugs. Apparently the idea is to prevent heroin overdoses. Of course the idea is to help these people to get off of the drug, but to me it seems like an enabling program, even though the goal is to prevent drug overdoses. I donít recall them citing any success in getting people to quit or how much overdoses have been reduced.

    I know that the heroin problem has been  in the news for the past year or more,  and it is a growing problem in Canada and the United States.  I doubt whether a program like this will ever be allowed in the United States, but if it is successful in  Canada perhaps we would have to look into it.

    OK thatís it for the bad news ó but then there is the possibility that it could turn into good news for some.

Have a great week and do good!