Our View: Thumbs up, thumbs down

 

July 21, 2023



Thumbs up to Sen. Jason Rarick, our local

representative in the Minnesota Senate, who married fellow legislator Rep. Marion O’Neill on the Fourth of July. Congratulations to the newly wedded couple.

Our instant thought was, which one of them will give up their seat in St. Paul? Murphy represents the Buffalo and Monticello area, more than an hour from Rarick’s district, which covers all of Pine and Carlton counties, plus parts of St. Louis and Kanabec counties. Residency determinations for state lawmakers generally come down to where a person sleeps most of their nights.

Interestingly, the press release assured that the two “will keep and maintain residences in their respective districts and will continue to serve their constituents as they have throughout the six years of their

relationship.”

Thumbs up to the local chapter of the Finlandia Foundation Northland for arranging a tour of Carlton County for FinnFest national and international visitors who want to know more. We hope they learn lots and like what they see, and perhaps return for future visits. The tour is also open to local residents, who are encouraged to attend, as it will provide a lot of historical details of the Finns who settled here and includes lunch plus a chance to meet other history buffs. In other news, FinnFest is moving to Duluth for at least the next five years, instead of changing

locations every year. Organizers hope getting to know the local officials and area will make it easier to arrange the massive event every year.

Thumbs down to brawling. This year’s July Fourth celebrations in Cloquet were pretty darn great, with the exception of a group of women who decided a community celebration in Veterans Park was a good place to fight not once, but twice. Police were called both times, but not before lots of children got to see just how poorly some people behave. One person ended up going to the hospital. While we hope she

recovers fully and that everyone involved in the

hitting faces some kind of consequences, we also hope they — and anyone else hoping to pick a fight — stay home next year.

Thumbs up to state legislators who appear to have fixed the problems caused in 2018 when they passed

a law stating that if a public safety employee is

diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder, it is presumed to be due to the nature of the employment. The intent was good, but the execution was terrible, as the law had no requirement to seek treatment, and many police officers, in particular, ended up retiring early. They left in droves in Minneapolis after the 2020 riots, and Cloquet lost nearly a third of its force in the first 10 months of 2019, the first year the PTSD law was in effect.

The new bill stipulates “no duty disability … unless 24 weeks of treatment are completed,” according to Cloquet city administrator Tim Peterson.

If people have PTSD, they need treatment and a safe road back to being a productive citizen. The new laws provide that, which is good for public safety

employees and good for cities, because the state is now picking up the tab for the time off, some

treatment expenses and ongoing healthcare costs for those who still retire early.

 
 

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