Our View: Thumbs Up/Thumbs Down
By: Wendy Johnson/Jana Peterson, Pine Journal
Thumbs up to the state of Minnesota and the Department of Natural Resources for making reconstruction of the swinging bridge and other bridge strutters in Jay Cooke State Park a priority in this summer’s construction plans. Not only is the swinging bridge an iconic element of the park, but it is the sole means of access to fully half of the park’s trail systems, making it one of the most utilized parks in the state system. Thumbs up, also, to the fact that the DNR is taking precautions to preserve the integrity of the bridge and park, going back to some of the original design elements and requiring the construction contractors to exercise extreme caution in avoiding damage or desecration of the park’s natural areas.
Thumbs down to the driver of an out-of-state tour bus who never let up on the accelerator as he passed the 40-mile-per-hour traffic sign north of Cloquet on Highway 33 last week, maintaining highway speeds all the way down the hill and across the St. Louis River Bridge. Folks from out of town who treat Highway 33 as a speed zone to get through town as quickly as possible are not only taking the law into their own hands but the safety and welfare of those who travel, live, or do business along that stretch of roadway. (And as a reminder, those of us who live here should be the first to set our own best example….)
Thumbs up to the staff of County Assessor Marci Moreland, who has gone above and beyond the call of duty in their attempts to contact all the property owners who were affected by last June’s flooding in an effort to get them the tax relief they have coming to them while they rebuild. Moreland and her crew have crisscrossed the county for literally hundreds of man hours, making contact with over 700 homeowners thus far and leaving information for many others who weren’t home. Their efforts remain ongoing, and there is still a big job ahead of them.
Thumbs down to efforts to block background checks on gun sales. Few, if any, of us would question the justification for background checks on daycare providers, scout and other youth organization leaders or air traffic security officers. Why, then, would we willfully overlook this most important aspect of our personal security and that of our children?
Thumbs up to the Carlton County engineering department, for talking with the Minnesota Department of Transportation about adding bike lanes to 14th Street in Cloquet. There was an issue with putting bike lanes on the 14th Street bridge across Interstate 35, because state law requires 8-foot tall railings to protect cyclists and those aren’t cheap. Well, MnDOT is working on that bridge this summer and they agreed to add the required railings to the plan. As well, the county is planning to paint “sharrows” — bright yellow striping that alerts drivers they are sharing the road with bikes — on the road shoulder at some point in the future. It all adds up to a safer route for kids to bike to soccer and baseball practices, commuters and college students to travel back and forth and families to simply enjoy a bike ride together. Now if we could just get the state to lower the speed limit on that stretch of road…
Wendy Johnson and Jana Peterson