Thumbs up to the growth in electric vehicles in the Mankato area and across the country.

Local auto dealers say they’re seeing more interest in EVs. Manufacturers have ramped up their electric lines, with some pledging to make their entire fleet of vehicles electric.

One of the keys to higher sales has been an increase in infrastructure, particularly charging stations. Around Mankato and North Mankato more and more easily accessible charging stations are popping up.

And auto makers have gotten better at producing vehicles with better batteries, more powerful motors and greater driving distances.

Converting to EVs is important as transportation is the biggest source of greenhouse gas emissions.

The higher upfront cost of EVs remains a barrier, but as the market continues to expand those prices will come down.

Dumb ideas quickly dropped

Thumbs up to the rapid demise this week of two ill-considered high-profile plans.

In politics there was the short-lived “America First Caucus,” fronted by some of the most bizarre members of the House GOP (Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia, Matt Gaetz of Florida and Paul Gosar of Arizona) and aptly described by former GOP House Speaker John Boehner as “racism in a can.” Greene started running away from her own proposal soon after its founding document and its praise of “Anglo-Saxon” traditions was leaked.

In sports there was the equally doomed “Super League” in European soccer, a naked power grab by a dozen of the sport’s most prominent clubs, several of which are now owned by American billionaires who neither understand nor respect the culture of the sport. That proposal crashed about as rapidly as the racist caucus plan.

It is satisfying to see these notions so rapidly repudiated. It is unfortunate that people of position and prominence thought them worth pursuing to begin with.

Welcome back MRCI

Thumbs up to MRCI again offering its clients services that connect them to the community.

COVID-19 hit the nonprofit hard, forcing it to discontinue services that employed people with physical and mental disabilities. Although MRCI had planned for years to shift from having clients work in MRCI’s buildings and instead work at more jobs in the community, the pandemic accelerated the process.

So instead of filling its own buildings, MRCI bought 200 white vans for their clients involved in programming in the community.

Part of that programming is a new community-based day service that provides everything from learning opportunities to developing life skills and gaining confidence. Even going out to eat introduces a lesson in how to budget.

MRCI’s goal is to eventually get all of their clients working in the community with competitive wages, based on their own goals and interests. The day service program helps them take steps toward that.

MRCI has a long history of serving clients with disabilities in southern Minnesota; it’s good to see them establish new ways to keep doing so.

Road warriors

Thumbs up to the hundreds and thousands of volunteers statewide and in the Mankato area who take pride in their communities and help clean up trash along roadways.

Blue Earth County has an astounding 70 groups who volunteer to pick up trash and help improve the environment. The Minnesota Department of Transportation’s Adopt a Highway program has been robust for several years. There are waiting lists for groups to take over 2-miles stretches of road across outstate.

People who sign up for litter duty include church and college groups, and families who are doing public service in memory of a loved one.

The groups that can be seen frequently as winter melts away and trash shows up stand as wonderful reminders of the good people have in their hearts and how the environment must be cared for by all of us.

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