Thumbs up to The Reach Resource Center and its 10 years helping homeless youth in the Mankato area.

The center, part of Lutheran Social Service, has been a place where homeless youth can get referrals for more permanent housing and drop in for a meal and talk to staff about other resources that would help them stabilize their lives and get back on their feet.

The center has assisted some 4,485 youth over the 10 years, and young people usually between ages 16-24 have visited The Reach 24,000 times. The reach recently expanded its meal program from twice a week to Monday through Thursday, 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. It is at 125 E. Liberty St. in Mankato.

Youth homelessness has been an issue that does not get much attention here and elsewhere, but The Reach has shown there is a definite need to help young people. We imagine that the program has helped hundreds of youth find a home and stability in their lives.

That’s a great service to the community and the homeless youth.

Conversion therapy

Thumbs up to Gov. Tim Walz for restricting conversion therapy of LGBTQ youth.

The idea that conversion therapy can “heal” youth who are LGBTQ has long been discredited. Many of the youth who have been pushed into what Walz called a “Byzantine, tortuous practice” have reported trauma that takes years to recover from.

Several cities in Minnesota have already banned the practice as have about 20 states.

Walz’s order requires that health plans not cover the practice and the state health department is directed to create a report on the public health impacts of conversion therapy.

While the executive order was necessary, the Legislature needs to pass a comprehensive ban, something Republicans have so far resisted.

Dedicated clipper

Thumbs up to volunteer Jo Schultz for her 33 years of service to the Blue Earth County Historical Society.

Affectionately referred to as the Obituary Lady, Schultz has spent countless hours compiling information about the lives and deaths of local residents, along with other newsworthy tidbits about the community she’s deemed worth saving in the history center’s files.

If you’ve researched deceased relatives at the center, those index cards used to track down the information have been the result of Schultz’s hard work and dedication.

Of course, we at the newspaper are cheerleaders of public information and archiving it for future use. But keeping track of local history not only serves researchers and individuals looking for specific facts, but it builds a more complete picture of a community and its inhabitants.

At age 89, Schultz deserves a rest from the clipping duties. Here’s hoping her replacement will care as much about local history and be as meticulous about tracking it as she has for multiple decades.

Making polio great again

Thumbs down to the anti-vaccine hysteria that has infected the state government of Tennessee.

This week the state’s vaccination director was fired and the state health department ordered to cease all outreach on childhood vaccinations — moves made because the Republican-dominated Legislature has decided vaccinations are a partisan issue.

Tennessee, like many other southern states, ranks low in most measures of public health, and this kind of nonsense certainly is not going to help. Vaccines eradicated smallpox; vaccines have almost done the same to polio. The anti-vax movement has unfortunately undermined the very real possibility of wiping out measles. And it is keeping the door open to a resurgence of COVID-19.

We hope sanity will prevail in the Volunteer State. Even more, we hope this example doesn’t spread — but we’re not optimistic.

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