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Our View: Thumbs Up, Thumbs Down

Sometimes, it feels like the U.S. Postal Service is shooting itself in the foot, at the insistence of Congress.

So we give a cautiously optimistic thumbs up to the news that Minnesota’s U.S. Senators Amy Klobuchar and Al Franken (and 48 others, which is half the Senate) are trying to stop the bleeding.

In a bipartisan letter sent earlier this month, the 50 senators pressed the Senate Appropriations Committee — which sets the levels of funding for specific programs in the budget — to delay the shutdown of mail processing centers and give Congress the opportunity to finish comprehensive postal reform.  

“The Postal Service has already consolidated 141 mail processing facilities since 2012,” wrote Sens. Klobuchar and Franken and the others. “As the postal network has been weakened, service delivery has suffered.  Since the Postal Service slowed down the delivery of first-class mail over two years ago by revising its service standards, it has been more difficult for the American public and small businesses to receive mail in a timely manner. Slowing down mail delivery even further will hurt senior citizens on fixed incomes, small businesses and the entire economy.”

We know the Post Office is losing money and things need to change. But we would like to give Congress more time to come up with some fundamental reforms that will give the Postal Service a fighting chance.

Speaking of a fighting chance, we give a big thumbs up to the state legislature, for giving the Moose Lake School District a better chance of passing a bond referendum that would finance the construction of a brand new K-12 school on an entirely new site (out of the flood plain), located on land owned by the District just off Highway 73 and County Road 10. The district has proposed five different bond referendums in the past, and it’s been turned down by voters five times, but this time really could be different. Special legislation passed by the Minnesota State Legislature last session would provide some 60 percent of the funding for the project.

Moose Lake Superintendent Bob Indihar told the audience at the district’s first public meeting on the new referendum that Moose Lake is one of only two districts in the state to receive this special funding due to the flooding that occurred a couple of years ago.

Indihar said of the total $34.7 million price tag for the new school proposal, the state’s contribution would be $20.3 million. The cost of repairing the current school is estimated at over $14 million — basically the same price voters would pay for a brand new school on higher ground.

Thumbs up to news that the Parks and Trails Council of Minnesota is hosting 75 bicyclists from across the state for a three-day, 150-mile tour of the communities around Jay Cooke State Park this weekend. The bicyclists will trek about 50 miles each day to enjoy the local scenery and learn about the area through numerous program stops, such as a Community Supported Agriculture farm in Wrenshall, the Depot in Moose Lake, Lake Superior College Emergency Response Training Center, the Esko Historic Site and the Carlton County Historical Society Museum and Pine Valley in Cloquet, among others. Each night bicyclists return to Jay Cooke State Park to camp. We hope the weather cooperates and that the cyclists fall in love with our area, and come back again, with even more visitors.

On the subject of bicycles, thumbs down to drivers who don’t pay adequate attention to those who share the road with them. There have been way too many accidents across the state this summer, some of them resulting in fatalities. Slow down, pay attention and put the darn phone in the trunk. And please watch out for the 75 guest bicyclists that will be wandering our roads this weekend.

Finally, thumbs up to the start of another school year and all the people who are involved in helping our young people grow up to be well-educated, healthy, active citizens of the world. Thank you.