News Tribune Editorial Board
After five years of frustrating inaction in St. Paul, with deaths and bloodshed only mounting on our highways, the Minnesota Legislature — finally and thankfully — voted for common sense and safety and a law to ban holding a cell phone while driving. Gov. Tim Walz signed the bill last week after it was passed by the DFL-majority House and Republican-controlled Senate.
What's this? A chance to cut government spending by $120,000 to $165,000? Few taxpayers could say no to that. Add in the benefit of more of Duluth's eligible voters participating in local elections, and a proposal to change up when City Council, St. Louis County, and Duluth School Board elections are held starts to sound like a no-brainer.
An opportunity to be seized — a sure bet, really, with Minnesota taxpayers the ones who would cash in — is being missed instead this legislative session in St. Paul. A bill to legalize sports betting made progress this year. It passed a Senate committee after a similar measure didn't even get a hearing a year ago. "But that's likely to be as far as it goes," the Associated Press reported this week. Why? "In large part because the state's politically potent tribes oppose it."
If you can't decide which is worse, winter weather that, like an uninvited party guest, doesn't know when to leave or spring road construction that, like that same uninvited party guest, always seems to be in the way, today is not your day.
Monday marks the start of the second of three long years of Superior Street all ripped up, of downtown and our city center tough to access — and of the sort of business-destroying inconvenience major road construction can cause.
This is becoming an annual thing, and that's good — even if more frequently than once a year would be even better. Either way, opportunities to get together with elected leaders to discuss the pressing issues in our communities and our lives are disappointingly rare. So Duluthians can jump at the chance to attend a town hall meeting from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday at the NorShor Theater in Old Downtown. Hosting the event for a third straight spring are Sen. Erik Simonson, Rep. Liz Olson, and Rep. Jennifer Schultz, all DFLers representing Duluth's interests in St. Paul.
Glue yourself to the big screen again. Go ahead. Savor it. Every ice-slicing, tension-filled, puck-rocketing moment. It may seem like our University of Minnesota Duluth Bulldogs are chasing down a national championship every year in men's hockey, given all the success in recent seasons. But that's far from the case. Such runs remain rarities. Special. Glory-days stuff. And they're happening now, right before our eyes. They demand to be cherished.
The sad news that broke Monday, that former Minnesota Duluth men's hockey player Andrew Carroll had Stage One CTE, was a sobering reminder: Hockey can be a rough game, a dangerously rough game — with hard checks into the boards; blows from sticks, pucks, and other players; and falls that aren't always the most graceful onto unforgiving concrete-hard iced surfaces.
It used to be that sexual harassment complaints involving state senators or reprsentatives in Minnesota rarely reached public knowledge — or public scrutiny. And no, this wasn't only during the "Mad Men" days of workplace intolerance and double standards from eons past. Minnesota's outdated laws and practices with regard to workplace conduct and our elected state leaders were making headlines just about a year and a half ago. They were back in the news last week — but with a bit of progress to report this time.
We're all bouncing along, our fillings shaking loose, so we're all complaining. About potholes. They're everywhere. After a rough winter of heavy snows, plowing aplenty, and frost-deepening temperatures, spring in Duluth has been nearly as rough. But in emails to city councilors, in letters to the editor, across bar rails, and on social media, some spewing frustration have been suggesting that Duluth is alone with its abysmal avenues and tire-blowing boulevards. Not even close.