Our View-Thumbs up, thumbs downOn drunk driving, Cloquet City Council decisions, the Minnesota Supreme Court and the Salvation Army.
By: Jana Peterson, Pine Journal
Thumbs down to what seems like a rash of elected officials driving drunk. Or maybe that should be thumbs up to area law enforcement for making those DWI arrests. First there was Carlton County Attorney Thom Pertler, now Moose Lake School Board Chair Kristine Lyons and Atkinson Township Supervisor Terry Dearborn have joined the ranks. While we agree that alcoholism is a disease that must be treated ¬– and we hope the arrests serve as a wake-up call to the offenders – making a decision to drive while intoxicated is unacceptable. But all it takes is a look at the Carlton County Court calendar to see that it’s a decision many people still make, putting themselves and – much worse – innocent people and their families at risk every time they get behind the wheel.
According to the MADD (Mothers Against Drunk Driving) website, Americans take 233 billion trips in cars each year. Of those, about one out of every 2,000 trips is taken by someone who is driving under the influence of alcohol. Yet, almost one out of every three traffic deaths involves drunk driving. Every 52 minutes on average, someone is killed in a drunk driving crash. Every 90 seconds, someone is injured because of this entirely preventable crime.
Learn from their mistakes. Don’t drive drunk. Ever.
Thumbs up to the Cloquet City Council for voting against changing the conditional use permit (CUP) for the industrial landfill now owned by Shamrock Landfill Inc. A contentious issue from the start of the debate two years ago, the landfill was OK’d by city councilors in February 2011after nine months of hearings, citizen protests, threats of litigation and council flip-flopping. We’ve argued in this paper before that neighborhood residents who opposed the landfill should not think their efforts were for naught simply because the landfill was approved. If not for their continued pressure and arguments against the landfill, the conditions listed in the final CUP would not have been so demanding. Now a new company – so far a fabulous corporate citizen – owns the landfill and wants to change some of those conditions. While it’s understandable that a business wants to maximize its opportunities, city officials must also consider the concerns of residents. The CUP should stand as it was written. After all, the new owners must have seen the CUP and its 20-plus conditions before they purchased the landfill.
Thumbs up to Gov. Mark Dayton for selecting Judge Wilhelmina M. Wright as the newest member of the Minnesota Supreme Court. Wright, 48, has all the qualifications and experience one would hope to find in a member of the state’s highest court. Educated at Yale and Harvard, Wright served on the Minnesota Court of Appeals since 2002 and authored over 700 opinions in that time. Prior to that, she served as a trial judge in the District Court of Ramsey County and as an assistant United States attorney for the District of Minnesota, where she represented the United States in complex economic fraud cases and violent crime cases in the United States District Court and the United States Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit. And finally, we love the way the Governor announced his selection, noting that he was “greatly impressed by her exceptional intellect, her written communication skills and, most importantly, her excellent judgment” rather than stressing her gender or race. Yes, it’s great that we have our first black woman on the Minnesota Supreme Court, but it’s hard work and brains that got her here, not any accident of birth.
Thumbs up to anyone willing to come to the rescue of the Salvation Army’s food shelf in Cloquet, which is critically low and may not be able to meet community needs. Donations of boxed or canned food (within their sell-by dates) would be much appreciated, as would extra produce from area gardens. In addition, one of their freezers is on the blink. To give toward the cost of repairing or replacing it, just write “freezer donation” in the memo section of your check. Call the Salvation Army at 218-879-1693 for more information.