Thumbs up to the city of North Mankato’s decision to reopen Judson Bottom Road.

The minimum maintenance road’s North Mankato stretch, which has no residents, is frequently shut down by flooding. It has been closed for much of this year after giant slabs of rock tumbled from the hillsides above the ravine.

The city has removed the boulders that blocked the roadway and decided this week against permanently closing the troublesome stretch.

Residents elsewhere on the road want the North Mankato connection available for the convenience. Because the road is designated as minimum maintenance, the city’s liability is limited.

That said, travelers on Judson Bottom Road should be aware of the risk of a boulder falling on them or being on the roadway as they travel it.

Walmart acts on guns

Thumbs up to Walmart for discontinuing sales of certain ammunition from its stores in response to recent mass shootings.

The company announced last week it will stop selling handgun and short-barreled rifle ammunition. It stopped selling handguns decades ago. It had allowed for the sale of handguns in its Alaska stores but will now also discontinue those.

The company will now focus on hunting rifles and ammunition only.

The store is also discouraging customers for carrying guns openly in the store even if state law allows it.

The announcement comes in response to a mass shooting at the El Paso Walmart last month that killed 22 people.

Walmart CEO Doug McMillon said the company was trying to “trying to take constructive steps to reduce the risk that events like this will happen again.”

He said the “status quo is unacceptable.”

Now, if we can only get Congress to act accordingly.

Main Street mainstay

Thumbs up to the hard work and dedication over the years from the Graf family, who ran the downtown Amboy furniture store for 69 years.

Graf’s Home Furnishings owners Jerry and Sandy Graf are closing the store soon so they can enjoy more family time, not easy to do when they work six days a week.

The couple deserves to take it easy after keeping the Main Street business going for so many years, especially as many businesses have closed there over the years. It’s tough to watch a small town lose the places that once made it bustle.

So it’s a bittersweet time for the Grafs who are looking forward to retirement. They have heard a lot of appreciative comments recently during their closing sale about what the store has meant to customers over the years and to the town in general.

Here’s to wishing the Grafs the best and hoping Amboy can somehow fill the gap that the store’s closure brings.

100 Deadliest Days

Thumbs down to the repeat of the summer months between Memorial Day and Labor Day weekends earning the reputation of being called the 100 Deadliest Days on Minnesota roads.

Just like in years past, this time period once again proved to be deadlier than it should have been in 2019. More than half — 57 percent — of the traffic fatalities so far this year occurred during the time period, according to the Minnesota Department of Public Safety.

This summer 132 road-related deaths occurred, including a two-car crash that took six lives.

As far as causes, at least 10 were known to be distraction-related, compared with nine in 2018. Twenty-seven were speed-related, compared with 32 in 2018. And 32 were alcohol-related, compared with 44 in 2018.

The age bracket with the largest number of fatalities was between ages 21-30 with a total of 27.

That’s an avoidable waste of young lives. Let’s hope sharper driving skills and less distraction with the help of the new hands-free law will mean the Deadliest Days label will disappear.

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