Editorial: Tribune Thumbs

Published 8:50 pm Friday, August 13, 2021

To $20,000 in donations given to the Albert Lea Salvation Army and Albert Lea Main Street program.

Thank you to the Albert Lea members of the Southeast Minnesota Realtors Association, who gave donations of $10,005 each to the Albert Lea Salvation Army and Albert Lea Main Street program Thursday during a check presentation at the start of Thursdays on Fountain.

Realtors and affiliate members of the Southeast Minnesota Realtors Association worked together to raise the funds, with the first $10,000 in donations matched by the association.

We know these funds will be put to good use, and we thank all of those people who were a part of raising them.

To the discovery of the emerald ash borer in Worth and Winnebago counties.

Less than a month after hearing that the emerald ash borer was found near Alden in Freeborn County, the borer has now been discovered in two neighboring counties in Iowa.

The positive samples came from Forest City in Winnebago County and Manly in Worth County. The ash-tree killing beetle has now been found in 84 of Iowa’s 99 counties.

Emerald ash borer larvae kill ash trees by tunneling under the bark and feeding on the part of the tree that moves nutrients up and down the trunk.

We encourage both residents and tree care professionals to learn more about the borer and how they can help prevent the spread.

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

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

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

It has been an eventful season for area baseball — and especially the Albert Lea team, which made it to the state tournament for the first time in 52 years, and Northwood-Kensett, which was one game away from going to state.

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

To the city’s plan to clean up blighted houses and increase affordable housing options.

We were pleased to hear the Albert Lea City Council on Monday discuss possible ways to get some of the tax-forfeited properties in the city back on the tax rolls and in use for affordable housing.

The council voted to approve the acquisition of 14 tax-forfeited properties during its meeting on Monday.

Albert Lea City Manager Ian Rigg said some of the properties contain structures that are too far past rehabilitation, and will likely be demolished. But for properties that can be rehabilitated with upgrades such as a new foundation or roof, the city will rehab those properties if the city’s loss would be less than or equal to what it would have spent on demolition costs. He noted the repairs the city is focusing on are mainly to keep the houses stable and weather-tight.After the repairs are made, the city will turn the properties back over to the private market and sell the properties at fair market value.

We agree with 3rd Ward Councilor Jason Howland who said in the Monday council meeting that he hestitates any time the city discusses getting into the real estate business, but that he also recognizes there is a housing shortage and that this effort could help get some of these houses back in use.

We look forward to seeing how this plan  pans out and are hopeful it will help save some of these houses and provide additional rental options for city residents.