Thumbs up to Scheels and Capstone for their generous donation of Christmas gifts to two area organizations who serve families with children in need.

Mankato’s CADA battered women’s shelter and the homeless shelters and housing run by the Partners for Affordable Housing were recipients of gifts this week. Scheels donated stuffed animal puppies and Capstone donated literacy packages including books, pencils and crayons.

There are many businesses who support and donate to numerous nonprofits in the region, and we laud all of them as well; there are too many to list. But Mankato has a tradition of supporting humanitarian causes and supporting the United Way, which in turn supports dozens of nonprofits who help make the regional community so a comfortable and welcoming place for all.

The Christmas donations to shelters are just another way for local businesses to give back to their communities. And while the businesses do not seek attention for this generosity, these stories are important to tell, if only to let others know giving and generosity can be contagious.

Wishing Carew the best

Thumbs up — and best wishes — to Rod Carew, who on Friday received both a new heart and a new kidney in a double transplant in California.

The baseball Hall of Famer and Minnesota Twins icon survived a massive heart attack about 15 months ago. Since then he’s been connected to a machine to help his failing heart, and devoting his time to heart disease awareness.

Carew, 71, had a long road to get to the point where he could receive a new heart. He will doubtless continue to confront hurdles as he recovers from these transplants. But he doubtless knows that generations of Twins fans — and baseball fans in general — are pulling for him, and that should help sustain him.

Mean Old Man Winter

Thumbs down to the slap in the face that winter has wielded upon us.

We know this is winter in Minnesota and we know November was mild and kind, but the drastic jump from 40-degree days to single-digit ones with wind chills pushing the “real feel” even lower just seems crueler than it needs to be.

Yes, Friday temperatures were more moderate than the preceding weekdays, but then there was the batch of snow to contend with, and now the frigid cold is back again accompanied by the wind.

We’ve seen this bitter stuff plenty before, but usually later in the month and into January.

Enough with the whining. The wake-up slap has opened our eyes to the practicality of getting our cars winterized, keeping extra warm hats and mittens on hand, and keeping a backup plan in mind when it comes to a choice in activities.

We just wish we could have stalled the bitter stretches of winter for just a bit longer. Then again, we might see 30s next week.

Copper mine blocked

Thumbs up to the federal government for this week deciding it will not renew two mineral leases for Twin Metals. It’s unusual for the Forest Service to withhold a lease renewal unless there are “unique and irreplaceable environmental values at risk.”

There is clear risk that copper mining near the Boundary Waters Canoe Area could contaminate the wilderness area. In announcing the decision, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack noted the area is “a national treasure” special to the 150,000 who canoe it each year as well as the local businesses that thrive on the tourism.

The government also said it wants to expand protections in more federal forest lands near the Boundary Waters to prevent mining.

Society needs the minerals that are mined and mining has long been the backbone of much of northern Minnesota’s economy. But that doesn’t mean mining should be allowed when there is high risk of damaging pristine and important wild areas.

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