Editorial: Tribune ThumbsPublished 5:00pm Saturday, June 21, 2014
To the excessive rain.
Let’s check the United States drought monitor at the University of Nebraska for the status of Freeborn County. Hmm. No drought at all. Not even abnormally dry. In fact, all of Minnesota is drought-free. So is all of Wisconsin, Michigan and North Dakota. Iowa is drought-free north of U.S. Highway 20 with three small spots elsewhere. South Dakota has two dry areas but otherwise is clear. Now what the Upper Midwest needs is a flood monitor. There is one, operated by the National Weather Service. Rivers are monitored to warn populations downstream. Green dots mean no flooding. Yellow, orange and red are near, minor and moderate flooding. Guess where the yellow, orange and red dots are on the national map? The Upper Midwest, especially Minnesota, Wisconsin, Iowa and the Dakotas. Purple is major flooding. That would be the Little Sioux River in Iowa, the Vermillion River in South Dakota and the Big Sioux River on the border between the two states. For the sake of the farmers, let’s hope for some sunny weather in coming weeks.
To the Minnesota Department of Transportation.
Good news. MnDOT plans to resurface Broadway from its junction with Main Street all the way past the intersection with Interstate 35 next May. This four-mile stretch of the roadway is U.S. Highway 65 and is maintained by the state. The resurfacing is near-perfect timing with the renovations last year on the part of Broadway maintained by the city. The state’s project has a $3.5 million cost. When finished, Broadway will be brand new from Fountain Street to Interstate 35. And MnDOT hopes to meet federal standards for sidewalks along the route, too. An open house for input is slated for 4 p.m. Thursday at Albert Lea City Hall.
To rubberneckers who drive 15 mph along Lakeview Boulevard.
We need to clarify a little here. We don’t mind drivers going slow and taking it safe. But it seems unsafe when a driver goes extra slow and fails to notice there are five to eight cars patiently crawling along behind. Usually, that slow driver is rubbernecking at the high water trying to spot tied-up pontoons, overturned lifts, fallen trees and branches or simply ducks and pelicans. To us, it would seem safer to pull over and let the other cars travel at the posted speed limit of 30 mph. After all, Lakeview Boulevard is considered an arterial roadway for the city. People shouldn’t be in a rush, but they shouldn’t be delayed unreasonably, either. Pulling over to let other motorists pass is the courteous and wise thing to do.