Editorial: Tribune Thumbs

Published 9:34 pm Friday, January 10, 2020

To local law enforcement.

It has been a difficult week for many in the community in the aftermath of the shooting involving Waseca Police Officer Arik Matson, an Albert Lea native who now lives in Freeborn.

The incident raises awareness of the difficult circumstances law enforcement officers face on a daily basis as they work to protect our communities.

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When most other people would run away from threats of violence or danger, they respond. They respond to higher-intensity calls of drug use and sales, domestic violence and other assaults. They patrol our streets to make sure people are driving safely, respond to crashes, assist at fire and medical calls and lead the way during funeral processions.

This week and into the future, we ask you to take a moment and thank officers for their dedication. Their efforts make our communities a safer place, and we thank them for their service and sacrifice in doing so.


To increased fire deaths in 2019.

The Minnesota Department of Public Safety’s State Fire Marshal Division released numbers this week showing 42 people died last year in fires in Minnesota, an increase of 14% over the 37 fire deaths in 2018.

The agency stated smoking is the leading cause of fatal fires in Minnesota. Between 2009 and 2019, 94 people died in smoking-related fires.

The agency encourages people to follow these fire prevention and safety tips:

• Never leave food cooking on the stove top unattended.

• Keep items like oven mitts, aprons and paper towels three feet from heat sources in the kitchen.

• Keep space heaters three feet from anything combustible.

• Do not leave space heaters unattended, and turn them off while sleeping. Plug them directly into a wall, not an extension cord or power strip.

• Have your furnace and chimney inspected annually.

• Keep candles at least three feet from anything that can burn. Never leave a candle unattended.

• Test smoke and carbon monoxide alarms monthly; change batteries at least once a year.

• Install smoke alarms in bedrooms, outside sleeping areas and on every level of the home.

• Create a family escape plan and practice it twice a year.


To the Geneva Cancer Auction and its organizers.

The Geneva Cancer Auction has been a staple in Freeborn County since 1985 and has raised $1.87 million since its inception.

The auction was initially started by Whitey Hagen — in memory of his brother who died at the age of 47 from cancer — and has grown over the years.

Organizers hope the event will pass $2 million this year in donations raised.

We encourage the community to check it out this weekend or next at Geneva Bar & Grill. All money raised from the event goes to support the Eagles Cancer Telethon.