Thumbs up to those who made an effort to get senior care center residents connected.

The Greater Mankato Area United Way partnered with Ophthalmology Associates on a project to provide nursing home and assisted living community residents with electronic tablets. With the help of donors from service clubs, individuals and businesses, the project succeeded in delivering 130 tablets to 23 local facilities Thursday. Mankato Area Public Schools loaned tablets as well.

Assisted living facilities and nursing homes have visitor restrictions during the COVID-19 pandemic. Their residents are at highest risk. Family members can visit residents at some locations through windows, but tablets have become one of the more useful ways to keep in touch.

Nate Erickson of Ophthalmology Associates came up with the idea to distribute tablets. From his work with seniors, he knows how important socialization is for senior care center residents. This has been a trying time for them as they can’t physically visit with family and friends who live outside the walls of the facility.

Making people feel less isolated is a key part of happiness. This project deserves the community’s support both now in the future. The United Way will continue to take donations for more tablets to bring to facilities.

North Mankato hotel

Thumbs up to North Mankato finally getting on the map for some of the city amenities it needs to complement its growing sporting and recreational activities with Caswell Park.

The developers, North Mankato Hospitality, have begun building a a 68-room Comfort Inn and Suites on Commerce Drive in upper North Mankato. Opening is slated for spring.

It will go a long way toward getting a convenient lodging place for all the teams from around the state and country that compete in tournaments at Caswell.

The city deserves credit for conducting a market study a couple of years ago for the need for hotel rooms in the city. The study showed a need for a 70-room hotel.

The study not only looked at the activities of Caswell, but also soccer and other businesses in the area.

Even better, developers did not ask for a city subsidy.

Dangers of facial recognition

Thumbs up to IBM, Amazon and Microsoft, each of which this week announced they were pulling of out supplying facial recognition services to police.

Beyond the obvious risk of creating a surveillance state — as is developing in China and perhaps in Hong Kong — the artificial intelligence behind the recognition software has been shown to be particularly bad at accurately identifying people of color.

But there are bigger players in this field than those three tech giants, and Microsoft’s president called on Congress to regulate the use of such services by law enforcement and intelligence agencies. It is a field crying out for legal restrictions, one too important to be left to the ethical judgment of tech corporations.

Georgia’s warning

Thumbs down to Georgia’s political leaders for allowing the state’s voting system to collapse this week. The mess that transpired before, during and after Tuesday’s elections should be a warning for all states heading into the November elections.

Georgia has long allowed its voting system to deteriorate and it showed Tuesday as chaos reigned, with long lines, ill-trained workers and mafunctioning machines. Many voters were denied their right to a timely vote and results lagged.

Issues Tuesday were not limited to Georgia. The last ballot in Las Vegas was not cast until 3 a.m.

With the fall elections fast approaching, amid a pandemic and social unrest, states need to ensure their residents have access to the ballot and can have faith that all votes will be accurately counted.

Too many politicians are instead working to make access to voting more difficult.

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