Thumbs up to the Many Rivers chapter of Prairie Enthusiasts and their members who have been restoring farmland to native prairies in and around the Mankato area.

Retired priest Kevin Clinton has been restoring some of his family’s land in Le Sueur County since 1994. He put 30 acres of farmland into the Reinvest in Minnesota program and has since worked to bring back native prairie.

Jim Vonderharr of Mankato, another member of Prairie Enthusiasts, has restored some farmland north of Mankato and collects native prairie seeds to share with others.

The group has restored about 300 acres of farmland since its founding in 2010.

Clinton, who was a priest at St. Wenceslas in New Prague, took inspiration for his environmental work from an encyclical from Pope Francis that speaks to the need to be stewards of the environment.

It’s great to see people taking action and trying to improve and protect the valuable natural resources that everyone can enjoy.

International students

Thumbs down to a Trump administration order that will force many international students to leave the United States.

ICE is telling students who’ve left families and friends for long stretches of time to study here that they will not be allowed to stay in the country if the college or university they attend moves classes online.

Many universities, including Georgetown and Harvard, have been forced to move most classes online because of the coronavirus pandemic. More are likely to follow if, as expected, COVID-19 is circulating and even spiking this fall and winter.

Trump has long assailed international students, even making the absurd statement that the vast majority of Chinese students in the U.S. are spies.

Having international students here has always been a huge benefit to America. They contribute billions of dollars to our economy. Many who first come here as international students end up starting successful businesses here, creating jobs, tax revenue and economic vitality for the U.S.

Finding excuses to push those students out is inexcusable.

Masks for the greater good

Thumbs up to those following Mankato’s new face mask mandate — and a more emphatic thumbs up to those who had been wearing masks before the ordinance took effect Friday.

By any statistical measure, the United States is doing worse in combating the novel coronavirus than the rest of the developed world, and one significant reason has been resistance among the citizenry to wearing face masks. The minor inconvenience of covering one’s nose and mouth is more than justified by masks’ effectiveness in muting the spread of the virus.

We’ve said it before, and it remains worth repeating: Wearing a mask in public is a simple yet effective way to help improve public health. It’s simply the right thing to do for your community.

Not above the law

Thumbs up to the Supreme Court’s rulings Thursday rejecting President Donald Trump’s sweeping claim to immunity from investigation.

The two rulings, both written by Chief Justice John Roberts for identical 7-2 majorities, didn’t give Trump’s political opponents everything they wanted. One almost certain result is that Trump’s tax returns will not become public before the election. In both cases — one involving a New York state grand jury investigation, the other subpoenas issued by the U.S. House of Representatives — the court returned the issue to lower courts, so the wrangling will continue.

Both of Trump’s appointees, Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh, were part of the majorities. This is particularly noteworthy for Kavanaugh, who before joining the high court had questioned the validity of the 1974 ruling in United States v. Nixon, which ordered the release of the Watergate tapes.

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