Thumbs up: To all the area river rats who have dedicated much time and energy to improving the health of the Minnesota River.
As sort of a reward for all their hard work, the Minnesota River watershed may be among the first to be given the new National Blueways System designation. The nomination and national recognition could result in a lot of attention and resources from federal agencies to improve the river.
This river valley has the benefit of being the home to numerous citizen-led groups that are bound and determined to give the river the respect and care it deserves. Progress doesn’t come at lightning speed and funding isn’t at the levels needed to do all the work that needs to be done to clean up the river. But patience and persistence are paying off. Just this week the state announced that phosphorus pollution has significantly declined.
As the flow of interest about the river continues, chances are those improvements will continue into the future.
Mankato area gives, and gives
Thumbs up: To the people of the Mankato area and their giving spirit during the holiday season.
Now is the time when the Holiday Sharing Tree, Operation Christmas Child, Toys for Tots, Santa Anonymous and the Salvation Army kettle collection programs begin to organize their volunteers.
Happily, in good times and in lean, the people of Mankato and those in surrounding communities have fairly consistently risen to the occasion to provide cheer for children and others less fortunate than themselves.
Program goals, understandably, are set high at this time of year. Admittedly, in some years the goals have been harder to reach. Last-minute “angels” — a term embraced by Holiday Sharing Tree coordinator Liz Brown — sometimes are counted on to come through in the end.
We’re thankful the Mankato area has angels in its midst. The tradition of giving warms the hearts of everyone concerned. And thank goodness so many are concerned.