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OUR VIEW: Thumbs up, thumbs down

Thumbs up to the city of Cloquet for organizing (and Shamrock Environmental landfill for hosting) the first Cloquet Community Cleanup Day on June 7. The turnout was HUGE, which will translate to a lot less clutter in the yards and homes in the community. Cloquet Community Development Director Holly Butcher said they had 350 paying customers (who dropped off items such as old tires or appliances at a lower-than-usual cost) but she estimated the total number of cars that came through was probably close to double that number. Not bad for a rainy Saturday morning. Butcher added there are ways the city could improve efficiency next time around, if the Cloquet City Council decides to make it an annual event. We hope they do, and that it grows to become a day when community groups also get involved in the cleanup efforts, whether it’s tackling the snow melt area at Voyageur’s Park or transporting items to the collection points for those who can get there themselves.

Thumbs down to the vandals who left their mark on Carlton Avenue in the form of blue paint and eggs on vehicles and stop signs along the street as well as Cloquet Middle School. Interim Police Chief Terry Hill said the handprints are on the smaller side, so police suspect it was truly a juvenile act. We agree, no matter what the age of the perpetrators. Kids need to understand that defacing property isn’t funny, and cleaning up their messes costs money.

Seen anyone with the blue hands of a Smurf lately? Anyone with information regarding these or other acts of vandalism is urged to contact the Cloquet Police Department at 218-879-1247. Tips can also be sent to the Cloquet Police Department by texting “cloquetpd” to 888777 or clicking on the “Submit  a Tip” link on the Cloquet Police Department Facebook Page.

Thumbs up to the Cloquet City Council, Mayor Bruce Ahlgren and city staff for stepping up and taking on a larger role for the city’s annual July Fourth festivities. While the event is still being organized by an ad hoc volunteer group, having the city act as the sponsoring organization will clear up a lot of the little headaches — like insurance coverage and making donations tax deductible — that added some stressful elements and no doubt contributed to the high burnout rate for volunteers since the veterans organizations in town stopped sponsoring the event.

It truly is an event for the community, and it’s nice to have the official support of City Hall.

The finances are mostly in place for this year’s event, and Stipes Carnival will be setting up on Dunlap Island for what organizers hope will be the first of many years in Cloquet over the Fourth of July weekend. Now all we need are more folks to volunteer a couple hours of their time on July Fourth … leave a message for Barb Wyman at City Hall at 218-879-6758 if you or your group would like to volunteer.

Thumbs up to Pat and Jim Northrup, Rick Gresczyk and the many volunteers who make the annual Ojibwe language camp possible. The camp itself is a thing of wonder, bringing together fluent speakers of a language that almost disappeared to teach others, and bringing together people of like mind to make sure the language and other cultural skills and knowledge not only survive, but thrive. Best of all, money and corporate public relations have no bearing on the camp, which is basically volunteer-run on a shoestring. So kudos to all of you who make it happen, (especially Pat, who Jim says is the real brains behind the operation). Good luck this weekend to organizers and to everyone who attends (and all are invited to camp June 19-22 or just come for the day). May the weather be kind.