In Our View... Thumbs Up, Thumbs Down
By: Jana Peterson, Pine Journal
Thumbs up to all who applied for the vacant Cloquet City Council seat. Roy Maki Jr., Parnell Thill, Kerry Kolodge and Clare Cassandro each deserve a pat on the back from every Cloquet resident for being willing to step into the rather large shoes of 30-year Ward 4 Councilor Neil Nemmers, who retired from his seat last month with less than a year to go of his term. Being a part of any City Council requires time, effort and courage on the part of councilors. As such, we wish Kolodge a year filled with interesting – but not too challenging – issues, good health and thoughtful, well spoken and polite citizen envoys. Thank you for your service.
Thumbs up to the Cloquet School District, for being proactive and beginning work on a new strategic plan. A community-wide meeting is scheduled for Monday, April 5. A chili dinner starts at 5 p.m. (RSVP Thursday, April 5, to email@example.com) and the actual planning session begins at 6 p.m. in the Cloquet High School cafeteria. This is not a meeting to discuss this year’s budget cuts, it’s to talk about the long-range vision for our schools. Do we or don’t we want vocational education? Are our facilities adequate for the 21st Century? What’s good about our school district and what could be better? Bring your thinking caps and don’t be shy!
Thumbs up to spring. Welcome. You’re here earlier than usual, and that’s fine. However, we’d just like to encourage residents to be extra careful with cigarettes and other flammable materials. Lately it feels like we should be awarding a “grass fire of the week” prize. We’ve been lucky so far because we have such stellar fire departments in Carlton County as well as alert residents, but the risk of fire is very real. Take care.
Thumbs down to trash. The snow melts and we get to see the garbage that got buried over the winter. Let’s all do our part and pick up. Why not bring an extra bag and some gloves the next time you take the dog, the kids, the spouse and/or yourself for a walk through the park or neighborhood streets? Anyone else remember that TV advertisement from the 1970s where the American Indian guy is looking at all the litter while a tear slides down his face? Let’s make him happy with Carlton County.
Thumbs up to the Carlton County engineering department for being willing to consider small changes to the county’s planned resurfacing of 14th Street from downtown all the way to Moorhead Road. As planned, the road would be basically the same, only smoother. As planned, it wouldn’t exactly be friendly to kids on bikes trying to get to the soccer fields at Hilltop or the baseball/softball fields at Braun Park. However, last Wednesday County Engineer Wayne Olson scheduled an open meeting for Wednesday, April 4 (as the Pine Journal went to press) to discuss the 14th Street project. “We cannot add an off-road bike trail to a surface rehabilitation project, but may be able to improve on the planned design or striping,” Olson said in an email to the city and other concerned officials.
We would just like to say, that would be fabulous. The shoulders on 14th Street are already quite wide, so there is room for bikes. Painting stripes for bike lanes would let both drivers and bikers know that bicycles have an equal right to the roadway. Ideally, those operating cars and bikes would behave according to the rules of the road and with consideration for one another.
A great next step would be getting the speed limit reduced to 30 or 35 mph along the entire stretch from downtown out to Moorhead Road. Face it, 14th Street is a residential street, not a country road. And it’s a road that kids (and their parents) should not be frightened to use … on foot or bicycle.