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Our View: Thumbs up, down

THUMBS UP to the Fond du Lac Band of Lake Superior Chippewa for making the hard, but seemingly necessary decision to prohibit wild rice harvesting on reservation lakes this season. The Band described growing conditions as “highly unfavorable” in deciding to “rest” the on-reservation wild rice lakes for the season.

The plan, as one Band member told the Pine Knot, is to let the rice fall to seed and hope that the harvest bounces back in 2023. Ricing has deep cultural and historical significance, and it’s a wonderful fall treat for all of us. Even though there is an alternative in place to make sure rice comes to the reservation, it could not have been an easy decision to make. Once again, our indigenous residents are showing the way in making sound environmental decisions.

THUMBS UP to the city of Cloquet for prioritizing redevelopment of Hotel Solem on Cloquet Avenue. Testimony in a hearing last week revealed the neglected building to be in even worse shape than we knew. But city officials have repeatedly stressed redevelopment of the existing structure throughout the condemnation process. The latest saga for the 103-year-old building has found the city making sound decisions to first condemn the property and then compensate the former owners for a taxpayer friendly $8,000. Redeveloping the building, instead of razing it, is the right priority. We all remember how busy that corner can be when it’s operating well.

THUMBS DOWN to the waning days of summer. If you’ve read recent issues of the Pine Knot you’ve seen a multitude of photos from numerous community celebrations held throughout the county. Given what we’ve endured throughout the pandemic, it’s been a joy to see people come together again and share in the bonds which make our communities so special.

THUMBS DOWN to low vaccination rates for children. In our COVID-19 update in last week’s paper, Dr. Dan Palmquist of Community Memorial Hospital and Raiter Clinic told us how only 20 percent of children nationally have been vaccinated despite now having vaccinations for all ages. We need more widespread vaccination coverage to protect ourselves and those who are more vulnerable to the virus during what remains an ongoing pandemic. Transmission rates are higher throughout the county than experts would like heading into the regular cold and flu season. There’s a real possibility of another variant producing a new wave of COVID-19 infections. Dr. Palmquist reminded us all: “Future death and serious Covid disease is preventable with the vaccine,” he said.

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