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Thumbs up to Carlton County voters. By Carlton County Auditor Paul Gassert’s calculations, a whopping 82 percent of Carlton County voters made it to the polls on Election Day. Statewide, the Secretary of State Steve Simon put voter turnout at 74 percent. Of course, Simon calculates by dividing the number of people eligible to vote (even those who aren’t registered) by the number of ballots cast. Gassert, on the other hand, divides the number of registered voters (including those who register same-day at the polls) by the number of ballots cast. When you do the math using Simon’s method, voter turnout in Carlton County was 67.4 percent. Not quite so impressive but still 12.4 points above the 55 percent national average. Good job, yes, but we have room to improve.


Thumbs up to the mystery man who was making the rounds of the Northland Tuesday, dropping off frozen turkeys to various veterans organizations and other worthy people. He is an unlikely Thanksgiving fairy, but says it gives him great joy. A veteran himself, he bought 55 turkeys to deliver this year. After visiting the Cloquet VFW and American Legion, he was going to stop by the homes of at least two disabled veterans and maybe a church in Two Harbors. “It just feels right,” our mystery man said.


On the subject of Thanksgiving, thumbs down to no community Thanksgiving this year in Cloquet or Carlton. We don’t blame the College of St. Scholastica for consolidating operations, but we hope a local group or organization will step up next year and create a new local Thanksgiving tradition, one that doesn’t mean driving or wrangling a ride 25 miles away to another community. We definitely have the volunteers to get it done, we just need some organizing.


Thumbs down to racist language and news that there’s been a “wave of post-election acts of hate” since Nov. 8. There have been crimes and graffiti against people because of the color of their skin or their sexuality; to a lesser degree there have also been crimes against supporters of president-elect Donald Trump. None of it is OK. We must all take action to stop such speech, whether it’s on Facebook, at work, at school or at home. It’s up to everyone who lives here, of all ages, to make sure we live in a society where everyone can feel safe and valued, and where people are respected (or not) for their deeds and actions, not because of skin color, religion or politics.


Thumbs up to Cloquet police officers, for doing their best at a challenging and sometimes disheartening job. Pine Journal sales rep Barbie Into witnessed several Cloquet police officers in action when they responded to a call about a man who had stolen hypodermic needles from a local store the morning of Nov. 6 and taken them and his two small children to another business. Into said police handled the man — who was high — very respectfully and professionally. Into said they were wonderful with the children, bringing a teddy bear from their car to give to the toddler, and holding the baby until another family could come take care of them.

A police officer told Into, “It’s so sad. This is what we deal with, day in and day out.”

We agree. It is very sad and drugs are a huge problem here. But we are thankful that well-trained and kind people responded to this call (and many more, we know).


~ Jana Peterson