Thumbs down to 1st Dist. Rep. Jim Hagedorn for being the sole member of Minnesota’s House delegation to oppose legislation to remove statues commemorating officials of the Confederacy and other white supremacists from the U.S. Capitol.

The rest of Minnesota’s representatives — including Hagedorn’s fellow Republicans, Tom Emmer and Pete Stauber — supported the measure.

As we said before about changing the name of a popular Minneapolis lake, this is not about changing history. It is about deciding what parts of our history we wish to celebrate and honor.

Hagedorn, like President Donald Trump, wishes to continue to venerate the memories of the men who took up arms to sunder the Union; to honor the chief justice who held that Blacks cannot be citizens; to pay homage to bygone advocates of slavery, segregation and white supremacy.

They are on the wrong side of history.

Long-term facilities

Thumbs up to state health officials and long-term care facility staff for making big headway in reducing the COVID-19 deaths in the state’s long-term care facilities.

Gov. Tim Walz and state health officials acknowledged shortcomings in their initial response to outbreaks in the facilities, problems that were compounded by the lack of a federal response.

But last week health officials announced deaths were down tenfold and a majority of assisted living and nursing home facilities had no current COVID cases.

Watching our seniors suffer such high rates of cases and deaths was a painful chapter in the pandemic. Hopefully the more positive outlook will continue.

Election judges

Thumbs up to the dedicated local citizens coming forward to serve as election judges for the Aug. 11 primary election.

Faced with extra guidelines to make voting as safe as possible because of the COVID-19 pandemic, election judges are taking on extra responsibility this year. Both Mankato and North Mankato have seen enough people come forward to staff the polls sufficiently and take on the extra sanitizing duties to make the sites safer.

Even those considered at risk are deciding to come forward to work on Aug. 11. As one retiree working as an election judge told The Free Press this week, he thinks serving as a judge is a public service, a patriotic duty.

And yes, masks will be required at the voting booth, and the last thing these workers need is to be harassed by voters who think it is their right during a pandemic to not wear one.

Camp Patterson grows

Thumbs up to members of the Mankato Kiwanis club and other volunteers who are working hard and raising money to upgrade the region’s iconic Camp Patterson.

Kiwanis has long owned the camp, due to the generosity of H.A. Patterson, who donated land for the camp to the club in 1927.

The camp has hosted about 2,500 children per year, has 14 cabins and 150 beds. The camp on the shores of Lake Washington hosts organizations such as the YMCA, Celebrate Me camp and camps for kids with diabetes.

The expansion plan calls for expanding the dining hall by 50 percent, adding six cabins and building a new restroom and shower building.

The expansion plan is in response to the high demand for the use of the camp during the summer.

Kiwanis is looking to raise $1.5 million for all the renovations. Considering how much the community and its children have benefitted from the camp over the years, donating to the camp expansion would be a good investment in our youth.

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