Thumbs up to the Greater Mankato Growth Hall of Fame award recipients for their community leadership, business acumen and volunteer contributions.

Longtime optometry business Carlson-Tillisch Eye Clinic was inducted into the Mankato Hall of Fame at its banquet Tuesday night.

Mankato Independent Originals, owners of five area restaurants and a catering business, was named the Business Legacy award as a business that already has been inducted into the Hall of Fame but continues to grow and innovate.

Visit Mankato tourism awards went to the Anthony Ford Pond Hockey Tournament as the Bring It Home award winner and Mankato MoonDogs and ISG Field investors as the Hospitality winners.

City Center Partnership Awards for new or renovated buildings that make statements went to Bridge Plaza, Frandsen Bank & Trust, SiloArt and Moulin Rouge House B&B.

Borgs Home Realty was named winner of the Entrepreneurial Business award and Bumbelou was named a Distinguished Business.

Greenseam, GMG’s agriculture arm, awarded its Seamed in Success award to Shane Bowyer and its Growing in the Green Seam business award to Clean Plus Inc.

The awards banquet showed the Mankato/North Mankato area includes businesses and businesspeople who continue to boost the area’s growth and quality of life.

Video OK’d for Potter trial

Thumbs up to Hennepin District Court Judge Regina Chu, who this week reversed herself and opened the upcoming trial of Kim Potter to video coverage.

Potter is the former Brooklyn Center police officer who shot Daunte Wright to death during a traffic stop in April of this year. Her trial is to begin Nov. 30.

Minnesota has been slow to open its courtrooms to cameras, and Chu’s ruling — like the ruling that opened the trial of Derek Chauvin to television coverage — is the risk to public health of physical attendance at this high-profile legal proceeding during a pandemic. Trials are supposed to be open, and video coverage right now is the safest way to be open.

Chu wrote that the Chauvin trial “should ally any trepidations about cameras in the courtroom.” Indeed, that trial demonstrated the practicality and value of airing a trial of such high public interest. It should not take a pandemic to heighten the openness of the judicial system.

Attacks on officials

Thumbs down to the increase in threats and even violence against local elected officials.

A report from the National League of Cities says that 81% of local government leaders surveyed have been harassed, threatened or experienced violence — destruction of property, assault or unauthorized possession of weapons — in recent years.

The ugly conduct jumped as cities and schools made decisions about health protocols, such as mask requirements, to try to protect the public health as best as they could.

But the real issue is that more residents, who in the past made their arguments and realized there were times they’d have to agree to disagree, now feel emboldened to make and sometimes carry out threats.

That’s anarchy, not democracy, and it’s causing people to drop out of the civic duty of serving on public bodies.

Miffed by Muppet

Thumbs down to those conservatives taking offense to Big Bird making sound decisions, just as the “Sesame Street” character has often done since 1969.

Big Bird, who is about 6 years old in TV bird years, just got vaccinated against COVID-19 and tweeted the news. That action has ruffled some conservatives who seem to be on the verge of tarring and feathering the avian puppet, which will no doubt result in efforts to strip the educational program’s funding.

Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, labeled Big Bird’s tweet as “government propaganda.” And Fox News contributor Lisa Boothe accused the Muppet of “brainwashing children.” And they weren’t alone in their attacks.

Giving kids scientifically proven information about how vaccines can protect them against widespread illness is called education, and the Sesame Street gang has always been about providing good role models for children. Big Bird in 1972 also was vaccinated against measles.

How embarrassing it will be for Twitter attackers if they someday realize they spent energy picking on a puppet for backing science that benefits the public good. Even Oscar the Grouch doesn’t stoop that low on a bad day.

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