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A (hushed) cheer to quiet zone

That deafening silence you hear is the sound of Burlington Northern Santa Fe railroad horns not being blown on their way through Detroit Lakes.

The quiet zone has gone into effect on the BNSF rail corridor through city limits, and we offer a hearty cheer both to the City of Detroit Lakes and Burlington Northern Santa Fe for getting it done.

The railroad has sent out orders to crews not to blow train horns through Detroit Lakes -- contrary to the usual policy of sounding the horn at least twice per crossing.

With several crossings affected and 60-70 trains per day, that's a lot of horns that aren't being blown anymore.

"No train horn" signs have been installed for the quiet zone, which stretches from County Road 54 to Washington Avenue.

Those crossings have been designed with extra safety precautions to prevent cars from going around the gates.

And safety will take priority: Engineers will still blast their horns in emergencies -- if they see someone on the tracks, for example.

Horns will still be sounded by the half-dozen or so trains traveling each day on the north-south Canadian Pacific rail line.

But all in all, the quiet zone should add to the quality of life in Detroit Lakes -- and help visitors in those Highway 10 motels to get a little more sleep at night.

Jeers to those legislators who on the Minnesota Senate Agriculture Committee who voted against a bill to better regulate puppy and kitten breeding facilities.

The Minnesota Puppy and Kitten Mill Bill (Senate File 7) was heard by the committee, but failed to pass on a 7-5 vote.

The legislation provides for state licensing, inspections, and stronger standards of care for commercial breeders.

It provides for enforcement through the Minnesota Board of Animal Health and provides funding through licensing and registration fees, and imposes civil, administrative and criminal penalties for breaking the law.

Dogs and cats are pets, not livestock, and should be regulated as such.

Cheers to Sen. Keith Langseth for supporting the measure, but jeers to Sen. Dan Skogen for voting no, and to Sen. Rod Skoe for missing the vote.

Cheers to all those who give their time and energy to help friends, relatives and total strangers in Fargo-Moorhead with the flood fight.

The floodwaters rose more quickly than expected and the Red River is expected to crest in Fargo-Moorhead this weekend at near-record levels.

Buses for volunteers are leaving Detroit Lakes daily at 5 p.m. at the police department and returning at 11 p.m. Two runs will be made Saturday and Sunday.

Cheers to Anderson Bus Company of Frazee for donating its resources to help out neighbors, and kudos to Detroit Lakes Police Chief Kel Keena for organizing the volunteer relief effort.