Editorial: Tribune Thumbs

Published 8:50 pm Friday, November 19, 2021

To the reopening of Bridge Avenue.

After another long construction season, Bridge Avenue from Richway Drive to Hammer Road reopened to motorists Friday afternoon.

We, along with many others, are pleased to see the major north/south thoroughfare used again. Not only does having the road open make it easier to get to the north side of town and vice versa, it also will calm down the traffic again through the nearby neighborhoods that had increased during construction.

To all who organized or completed the work, we thank you for your efforts. This was a large undertaking.

Though there are still a few more things that need to be done, the biggest part of the project is done.

While it was definitely a needed project, we are all glad it is drawing to a close.

To new businesses popping up in Albert Lea.

We are pleased to see the entrepreneurial spirit is alive and well in Albert Lea with new businesses continuing to open in recent weeks.

One opening people have been especially excited about is Trumble’s 2.OH on East Main Street in the original Trumble’s location. The landmark restaurant opened in 1985 and has been an important part of Albert Lea ever since. We are glad two local couples decided to invest in this business and keep that legacy moving forward.

We wish them, as well as the owners of all of the new businesses in Albert Lea, much success as they operate in the community in the coming years.

We remind residents, also, the importance of supporting our local establishments. This support is key to them being able to continue long into the future.

To rising overdose deaths across the nation.

According to new numbers released this week by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, an estimated 100,300 Americans died of drug overdoses from May 2020 to April 2021, more than any other one-year span.

An Associated Press article about the statistic says experts believe the top drivers of overdose deaths are the growing prevalence of deadly fentanyl in the illicit drug supply and the COVID-19 pandemic, which left many drug users socially isolated and unable to get treatment or other support.

Minnesota, specifically, saw an increase of about 39%, with estimated overdose deaths rising to 1,188 in May 2020 through April 2021 from 858 in the previous 12-month period.

The estimated death toll rose in all but four states — Delaware, New Hampshire, New Jersey and South Dakota — compared with the same period a year earlier. The states with largest increases were Vermont (70%), West Virginia (62%) and Kentucky (55%), the article stated.

We know Albert Lea and Freeborn County are not immune to these issues. Nearby Mankato was cited in the article as having risen from two overdose deaths in 2019, to six last year and 16 so far this year.

Drug overdoses now surpass deaths from car crashes, guns and even flu and pneumonia. The total is close to that for diabetes, the nation’s No. 7 cause of death.