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Cheers to 'Crush the Rush' volunteers, jeers to yard sign thieves

Jeers to people who steal or vandalize campaign yard signs. It seems to happen every election season -- candidates do the hard work of going door to door, talking to people and asking if they can put up signs -- only to see those signs disappear.

The Matt Brenk campaign reports that 10 of 40 yard signs have been stolen from throughout Detroit Lakes.

Leave the signs alone -- it's not OK to take yard signs, just like it's not OK to take flower pots or knick knacks or anything else out of someone's yard. If you see people tampering with yard signs, call law enforcement -- it's illegal.

And while we're at it, the Minnesota Department of Transportation reminds political campaigners that state law prohibits placement of private signs on state highway right-of-way property. This long standing law includes political campaign signs.

According to MnDOT officials, when unlawfully placed signs are observed or reported, they are removed quickly by transportation officials.

MnDOT will impound these signs at its highway maintenance garage for a reasonable length of tim,e to allow sign owners to retrieve their signs. If the signs are not claimed, they will be thrown away.


Cheers to the City of St. Paul, whose mayor, Chris Coleman, announced last week that the city will not pursue most misdemeanor charges lodged against journalists during the Republican National Convention.

As a result, those charges will soon be dismissed.

More than 800 people were arrested over the course of the four-day convention. It's estimated that among them were 30-50 journalists, though the count is somewhat fuzzy, according to the Minnesota Newspaper Association, in part because the line between traditional and so-called alternative media representatives at the convention was unclear.

To his credit, Mayor Coleman explained the decision as reflecting "the values we have in St. Paul to protect and promote our First Amendment rights to freedom of the press." Coleman acknowledged the "special role in our democracy" that journalists play.


Cheers to the organizers and volunteers who gathered at the Detroit Lakes City Beach Friday afternoon to help remove flowering rush.

The invasive species has been a blight on the swimming areas of the beach for years.

The Pelican River Watershed District quit cutting the weeds with its big orange machines a few years ago, out of concern that the cutting was spreading the flowering rush to new areas around the lake.

The watershed district has since been trying to battle the flowering rush with herbicidal chemicals, with limited success.

Civic pride runs deep in Detroit Lakes, and a lot of people are frustrated and embarrassed by the weedy beach.

The "Crush the Rush" effort gives people a chance to literally take matters into their own hands and do something about the problem.

As long as volunteers are careful to remove the flowering rush the correct way -- by digging hands deep under the plant and removing all the roots -- the eradication campaign will lead to a beach residents can be proud of again.