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Mostly kudos for local initiatives

Darts and laurels; cheers and jeers; pats-on-the-back and kicks-in-the-pants - whatever the terms, following are a few points we think deserve comment.

Darts and laurels; cheers and jeers; pats-on-the-back and kicks-in-the-pants - whatever the terms, following are a few points we think deserve comment.

J Snow can be a good thing. It is beautiful in the northland. We hope snow lovers can enjoy the bounty this weekend. The main problem will be getting around on the roads - be safe out there.

L To the Legislature for expecting a rosy budget forecast. We hope they don't collectively use it as an excuse to nickel and dime us with "fees" again. The state has a lot of catching up to do, but Legislators have some promises to keep. To strike a balance, we think some modest tax increase may be in order if Minnesota is going to move forward. The idea of balancing the state's budget with property tax increases is no longer acceptable.

J To residents who submitted a phenomenal 400 surveys in response to the city's request for input on a downtown redevelopment plan. The kick-off meeting, postponed due to a family medical emergency, is rescheduled for 7 p.m. Wednesday, April 4 at Northwoods Bank.

J Minnesota will be celebrating a birthday in 2008. When the state turns 150, it would be great to join the celebration. The governor's budget calls for $2 million budget for sesquicentennial initiatives, including at least $750,000 for a matching grants program to help local communities with improvement projects and sesquicentennial celebrations. An equal amount of money is included to support projects of regional and statewide significance. What could we do?

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J Hats off to two groups hoping to make a difference in protecting our natural environment.

The Hubbard County Coalition of Lake Associations (COLA) is taking matters into their own hands with an initiative to protect our lakes from invasive species. Last year, COLA convened a task force to look at ways to reduce the potential for introducing exotic species into our lakes. In a letter to lake association presidents and COLA representatives, president Ken Grob outlined a plan including education and awareness activities. The threat of Eurasian watermilfoil, curly leaf pondweed and other exotics invading our lakes increases every year. When that happens, it isn't just a problem for property owners, but for all who use the water for recreation. We hope people step up to the call for volunteers and cash to support COLA's initiative.

The Mississippi Headwaters Protection Alliance was borne very recently out of concern that the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) and counties, including Hubbard, won't protect the first 40 miles of the Mississippi from off-highway vehicles (OHV). We support their effort to guard this national resource. Rules aren't enough when people put their own self-interests ahead of all else. It seems unthinkable that anyone would think it's fun or right to ride an ATV in the infant Mississippi, but the DNR ticketed at least four riders there last summer.

We wouldn't need rules and laws if people would use good judgment and common sense, but the upper Mississippi is too great an asset to entrust to hope.

J We have received offers from 21 readers interested in serving on our new reader board. That's amazing. Thank you.

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