Thumbs up to the city of St. Peter and its businesses for what by all accounts appears to be a successful business assistance program in the midst of the pandemic.

The city, like others in the region, created a business assistance program from local funds that provides grants and loans to business, some loans being interest free and with minimal loan payments.

The assistance has gone to a birth center, bars, restaurants, hair salons, public gathering venues and fitness centers. A Somali grocery store, a critical business for the Somali community, also received a loan that kept it in business.

Megan Willette, owner of a 24-hour laundromat, was able to shore up her business with the loan and add an important security camera to help her customers feel safe.

Her business had been vandalized and she was a victim of a crime at work. The security cameras will now add another layer of security.

Business assistance programs run by cities and counties can be more helpful than bigger state and federal programs because the smaller governments can get the assistance out quicker and with less red tape.

St. Peter can be proud for its downtown, which officials say has maintained a nearly 100 percent occupancy. We’re sure the assistance has helped that cause.

Burying CO2

Thumbs up to advancing plans to capture and store CO2.

The idea of burying carbon dioxide has long been a goal to slow climate change until the country and the world is successful in creating enough energy efficiency and renewable energy to bring adequate CO2 reduction.

Now, an Iowa company hopes to develop a $2 billion project that would collect and liquify carbon dioxide from Midwest ethanol plants and pipe it to North Dakota to be buried deep underground.

The Bismarck Tribune reports Summit Carbon Solutions hopes to have the project running by 2024. A federal tax credit supporting such underground storage would bolster that ambitious and costly endeavor.

There have long been questions about whether CO2 could be safely and permanently sealed underground, preventing it from escaping into the atmosphere. Scientists have in recent years said that if sealed in certain rock formations, the process is feasible.

It is an intriguing idea that could buy us more time to make the big changes needed to address climate change.

Vaccine cooperation

Thumbs up to pharmaceutical giant Merck, which is going to partner with major rival Johnson & Johnson to produce J&J’s coronavirus vaccine.

Big Pharma takes a lot of criticism, and much of it is earned.

Still, credit where it is due on the vaccine, starting with the technical achievement of developing multiple vaccines in less than a year from the emergence of the virus. Now, with J&J having trouble ramping up production of its just-approved one-shot vaccine, Merck is going to put some of its resources into making a rival’s product.

The Biden administration played a role in this; it is invoking the Defense Production Act to help facilitate Merck’s involvement. That’s a move the Trump administration foolishly resisted early in the pandemic when supplies were scarce.

Editorial Board

Kudos to blood donors

Much appreciation is due to those who took the time Monday to donate blood with the American Red Cross. Because of your donations we were able to collect 78 units of blood.

Without the support of every volunteer this blood drive would not have been a success. We are grateful to every one of you.

We are grateful to Pastor Carl Bruiher and the First Lutheran Church staff for the use of their facility and the American Legion members for distributing our posters around town as well as the businesses who displayed those posters.

The need for blood is critical, especially now and our Le Sueur area donors can be very proud.

Blood drive co-chairs Kay King and Linda Endres

Le Sueur

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