THUMBS UP: In the wake of last Friday's school shooting in Newtown, Conn., the Independent reached out to area school officials, and we're comforted in learning that schools in the area took it upon themselves to revisit their respective safety policies and procedures. After Newtown, the days of "we never thought it could happen here" appear, sadly, to be over. Schools across the nation - in urban and rural areas alike - and parents need to stop assuming it will never "happen here." While we pray it never does happen here, or anywhere ever again, it would be foolhardy and naive to think that just because we live in Smalltown U.S.A. we're immune to such atrocities. There is no silver lining to the Newtown tragedy, but at the very least, it appears to have served as a wake-up call to schools and a frightening reminder that they must go above and beyond when it comes to the safety of our students.
No more comments
THUMBS DOWN: Users of the Independent's website may notice that we are no longer accepting comments on the "Time to ban assault rifles" letter to the editor that appeared in the paper earlier this week. How come? Once again, a certain number of users have abused the comment section by taking a very serious issue - reborn with more life than ever because of a senseless tragedy and totally worthy of educated debate - and turning it into a personal battlefield, shooting their mouth off at will and making little if no sense. Too bad, too. A number of posters, in the true spirit of the comments section, made some strong, viable arguments about gun control and assault rifles in our society; however, others, under the guise of a pseudonym, choose to blindly and immaturely rant as they strayed further and further off-topic, seemingly just to get under another's skin. Chalk up another blow to freedom of speech to the nameless trolls who have once again forced our hand.
Pleasure at the pump
THUMBS UP: Looks like drivers are getting an early Christmas present at the pump this year. Of course we would all love the thought of paying $1.99 for gas - that will more than likely never happen again - it sure is nice to see gas prices going the other way for a change. Granite Falls and Redwood Falls reported $2.99 for a gallon of unleaded this week as prices at the pump continue to fall and is approaching lows not seen in five years. Ten years ago, a gallon of unleaded went for $1.41, according to Oil Price Information Service, so it's obvious we have all been reprogrammed to believe $2.99 is a bargain, but that's OK. We'll take what we can get, especially around the holidays when we're traveling more and can use any savings we can get our hands on. And in case that's not enough to make you count your blessings this holiday season, consider this: A gallon of gas in San Francisco is $3.94, and in Chicago it's $3.56.
THUMBS UP: Good move by the Lyon County Board to eliminate the admission/parking fee for the Lyon County Fair - a move surrounding counties made long ago. The drawback is the county will have to increase its funding contribution to the fair by $25,500, but we feel it's worth it to draw more people to the fairgrounds in the future. It will be nice to be able to head out to the fair and not have to reach for your wallet before even getting out of your vehicle.
Red Lake students
THUMBS UP: A group of 2008 Red Lake Senior High School graduates where seven people were killed in a shooting spree in 2005 are headed to Newtown Conn., to let them know they are not alone and that they feel their pain. The students will pass on a plaque they received from survivors of the school shooting in Columbine six years earlier. It's a wonderful gesture that deserves a "Thumbs Up," but the fact that there's a "traveling plaque" such as this is pretty sad commentary on our society.