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Editorial: Tribune Thumbs

To hot, humid temperatures and smoke.

Between the high temperatures, humidity and the smoke, it has been quite the week for Minnesota weather.

According to the National Weather Service, the heat index reached 108 in Albert Lea on Wednesday, 105 in Ellendale, 109 in Waseca and 107 in Twin Lakes.

On the heels of those temperatures, the majority of Minnesota was under an air quality alert through 3 p.m. Friday after northerly winds behind a cold front brought smoke from wildfires in Ontario and Manitoba, Canada into Minnesota. Officials have stated ongoing wildfires in Canada are now within one mile of the Minnesota border.

Fine particle levels were expected to reach the red AQI category, a level considered unhealthy for everyone, in several areas of the state and the orange category, a level considered unhealthy for sensitive groups, for the remainder of the alert area.

On Friday afternoon, the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency extended an air quality alert through Tuesday.

To St. Paul’s Sunisa Lee.

The Olympics are always fun to watch, but they are even more exciting when you have an athlete from your state who finds success.

That’s exactly what St. Paul’s Sunisa Lee did this week as she won gold in the individual all-around gymnastics competition.

Lee’s family and more than 200 others gathered at an event center in Oakdale to watch Lee compete, and it was fun to see their joy in seeing her obtain the gold. She is the first Hmong American to represent Team USA in the Olympics.

We congratulate Lee on all of her hard work. The entire state and nation cheered you on.

To the bids coming back high for Albert Lea’s new water tower.

It was disappointing for everyone to hear bids to construct the water tower downtown came in more than $2 million over the initial estimate.

The original estimate was $4.5 million, and the bids came back at $6.9 million.

City engineer Steven Jahnke pointed to the increased price of steel and the proximity to other downtown buildings as reasons why the cost was so high.

Because of the cost, Jahnke and city staff are again reviewing whether the downtown site is the best location for the tower. We ask that they review this decision carefully, as it will be one that will affect the city — and its landscape — for many years to come.

To the players named to the Tribune’s All-Area Softball Team.

Congratulations to all of the softball players who made the Tribune’s All-Area Softball Team in today’s newspaper.

Multiple players from all of our area schools made our first and second teams and honorable mention list.

The hard work you have put into the sport is evident, and you should be commended for your work.