Sarah Stultz: Thank you for helping spread awareness

Published 9:55 pm Monday, May 22, 2017

Nose for News by Sarah Stultz

It didn’t fully hit me until I sat down at my dining room table with my laptop to begin writing this column.

More than 10 months after the issue of installing permanent stop signs at Frank Hall Drive and Eighth Street was first introduced, the Albert Lea City Council on Monday night unanimously approved the signs.

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As I write this column, my 5-year-old son, Landon, is sitting to my left, watching a video on one side of the screen of my laptop while I type on the other half of the screen. To my right, hanging on the wall, is a painting that was given to us depicting our daughter, Sophie, signing “I love you,” as she gives a reassuring smile and walks hand-in-hand with Jesus Christ into heaven.

I couldn’t help but think of that painting as the council voted to approve the signs at the intersection where Sophie was struck by a car while riding her bicycle on July 2 of last year.

Sophie loved to smile, and I felt as if she was smiling down on us during that meeting.

After 10 months of fighting for these signs, lobbying the council, going door to door in the neighborhood, starting an online petition and offering heartfelt pleas on social media, our efforts paid off.

Surrounded by a few close friends as the vote was passed, I felt relieved. Though there is nothing that can be done now to change Sophie’s circumstance, I always felt inclined to help others in the neighborhood and do what I could to keep a crash like that from happening again — at least at that intersection.

It is my hope that the signs will increase awareness for everyone on the road and slow down traffic.

It is also my hope that others will not be afraid to speak out if they believe they have safety issues in any of their own neighborhoods. You are the ones who live in your neighborhoods, and you are the ones who see the traffic trends and the close calls.

I offer my sincere appreciation to all of the people who showed their support, both publicly and privately, to those who have offered hugs and words of encouragement to me and to those who have sent letters.

This process has been one I will not soon forget.

Thank you.


Sarah Stultz is the managing editor of the Tribune. Her column appears every Tuesday.