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Short takes for Dec. 2

December 2, 2011
Marshall Independent

Bell ringing allowed

THUMBS UP: Early this week, Brainerd-based Mills Fleet Farm said it would prohibit Salvation Army red kettle bell ringers at its stores this holiday season because, as company co-President Stewart Mills Jr. said, allowing them "could open the floodgates to others who want to use the company's property." Later in the week, however, the store changed its mind and will, indeed, allow bell ringers at its locations. Mills Jr. said the company had planned to make a donation to the Salvation Army this year, but not allowing bell ringers on site would've been bad PR. We commend their change of heart.

Safe holiday travel

THUMBS UP: There were four deaths on Minnesota roads during the Thanksgiving holiday in 2010. This year, there was just one. And while even one is too many, that great of a drop-off in traffic fatalities during such a busy travel period is good news. This was the safest holiday traffic period since at least 1974, when the Office of Traffic Safety began tracking Thanksgiving holiday traffic deaths. Minnesota's deadliest Thanksgiving travel period on record is 1994, when 18 people died. What does this year's number mean? It means people, for the most part, are driving safer, wearing their seatbelts and making better judgements when it comes to drinking and driving.

Silver Dollar sign goes to museum

THUMBS UP: Good move by Keith Brockberg of KB's Bar in Ghent, who reportedly bought the iconic Silver Dollar Bar sign, which was recently taken down, and then donated it to Lyon County Museum. The cramped museum in downtown Marshall probably doesn't have room to display the large sign right now, so it will end up in storage for a time. But Brockberg's donation is a good gesture nonetheless.

Finally, some good fiscal news

SIDEWAYS THUMBS: A surplus is the last thing anyone in this state expected before budget officials unveiled their latest two-year budget forecast Thursday, but it appears the state will be able to put some much-needed money into its checkbook and start paying back our schools. Considering we're coming off a $5 billion deficit that worked to continue to rob our schools of state aid payments (they're called shifts in St. Paul) and led to a three-week state government shutdown, this is good news, not only for the state, but for our cash-strapped schools, which more and more are looking to already-burdened taxpayers for help.



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