Thumbs up to the public engagement into the serious issue of Minnesota River watershed cleanup.

Residents of the area turned out to a recent open house by the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency to offer ideas on how to solve the problem of sediment, phosphorus and bacteria polluting Minnesota’s namesake river.

Farmers and citydwellers seem to be coming together to assess the situation and come up with mutually beneficial solution. There seems to be a real recognition that we’re all in this together.

Solutions may be costly in some cases, but when everyone sees the benefit of cleaner rivers and water, they’re more likely to be willing to invest in cleanup.

Cities and counties realize they have to manage development for reducing runoff and overbuilding. Farmers may have to adjust their practices by using more runoff-slowing strategies and cover crops.

But the working together will be key. All of us are smarter than one of us.

A single shelter

Thumbs up to Covenant Family Church, which will be the sole site for the Connections homeless shelter this coming winter.

The shelter rotated weekly among a number of Mankato and North Mankato churches the past two winters, with members of the various congregations sharing the duties of operating the shelter. Organizers expect that a single site will be easier on guests and volunteers alike, as the gear won’t have to be moved from one location to another. They also hope that taking the hosting duties off other churches will encourage other congregations to take part in the volunteer work.

The shelter organizers hope to eventually obtain a permanent shelter. They see this winter, with a single church site, as an opportunity to learn what issues emerge with a one-location shelter.

The congregations involved in Connections are truly doing God’s work, and they deserve our applause.

Distracted drivers

Thumbs down to the drivers who were clueless about the new hands-free cellphone law that went into effect in Minnesota on Thursday.

If you follow state and local news in any way, shape or form, it was difficult to miss the fact that enforcement was starting. One driver said she was actually texting questions about the hands-free law when stopped by a Hopkins police officer.

He, of course, said he saw her holding the phone and that doing so was a new infraction; but even under the older law, she couldn’t be texting. He wrote her a ticket — the second one she’s received for texting while driving.

She wasn’t alone in breaking the new law and won’t be the last. Fingers crossed that this new law will convince drivers that they need to pay more attention to driving, but in the meantime, enforcement along with education by police agencies should continue to work hand in hand to make roads safer in Minnesota.

Prescription imports

Thumbs up to the FDA for its proposal to allow states to set up prescription drug importation programs.

The announcement came Wednesday from the Trump administration that states would be able to set up their own prescription drug importation programs. Florida and Vermont had already approved their programs.

There would be some restrictions on drugs that could be imported, including insulin, the necessary life-saving drug for diabetics. That insulin is not included doesn’t make sense and isn’t fair, but at least the federal go-ahead is a start.

Big Pharma called the program “dangerous,” once again overstating the risks. We suspect they think it’s dangerous to their outrageous profits.

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