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Our View: Thumbs up for the opening of Fourth Street

December 2, 2018

Commuters rejoice! As a holiday gift for you, Fourth Street Southwest is once again open to vehicles and pedestrians. The project isn’t completed yet — that will come next spring — but the major detours and inconveniences of the past few months are out of the way for now.

You’ll notice trenches where curbs should be, along with temporary drive-ins and pedestrian crossings. Next spring will see all of that finished, along with the installation of new traffic signals and on-street protected bike lanes.

With so many street and lane closures downtown this summer and fall, there’s been an unusual amount of griping and complaining from commuters. We joined in ourselves on occasion. For now, though, we’re celebrating the opening of Fourth Street Southwest.

Thumbs down to farm bankruptcies

The Federal Reserve Bank reported this week that farm bankruptcies in Minnesota and neighboring states increased dramatically in the 12 months ending last June. Region-wide, 84 farms filed for Chapter 12 bankruptcy, more than double the number in 2014.

In Minnesota, the number of farms filing for bankruptcy increased from eight in 2014 to 20 in the year ending in June of 2018.

The situation is likely to get worse, analysts say, as farmers try to balance low prices, over-production, decreased demand and retaliatory tariffs. Many farmers who have not filed for bankruptcy are falling behind in loan payments — another ominous sign for the future.

A new farm bill won’t solve all of these problems, but at the least, Congress should approve the bill that’s been languishing for months and take some of the uncertainty out of the equation for farmers.

Thumbs up to Klobuchar’s deliberations

Sen. Amy Klobuchar was quoted this week as saying she’s “thinking about” running for president in 2020. Some national pundits have said she’d make a good candidate, while others say she’s not enough of a firebrand to run for that office.

We have no idea at this point what kind of presidential candidate Klobuchar would be. What we do know, however, is that her understated style, ability to connect one-on-one with people, and willingness to laugh at herself on occasion, are traits that are needed at all levels of government.

Will she run? Should she run? We have no idea. But we’re glad that, in typical Klobuchar fashion, she’s giving it careful thought before deciding whether to take the leap.

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