Thumbs up: To our “snow heroes.” We like that term, used by the Detroit Lakes Dairy Queen to describe those folks who shovel their neighbor’s sidewalk, or who get up early to clean the streets, or respond to icy-weather fender benders. DQ on Saturday gave free Blizzard treats -- no questions asked -- to those snow heroes. Good on the restaurant, and good on all of those helpful people. We couldn’t get around town without you!

Thumbs down: To ballot madness. For the first time since 1992, Minnesota voters will have a partisan primary for the presidential candidates. And while early voting began on Friday, Jan. 17, it wasn’t without any hiccups. In fact, Becker County ballots (among other counties) did not arrive to the county courthouse in time for Friday’s primary opener. Auditor-Treasurer Mary Hendrickson learned that morning that the ballots weren’t due to arrive until early the next week. Anyone voting had to use temporary ballots. The ballot delay was due to a failed legal challenge filed last month by Republican presidential candidate Roque “Rocky” De La Fuente, who sought to be on the primary ballot in Minnesota.

Maybe this problem was unavoidable -- it certainly was not the counties’ faults -- but this was not an auspicious start to Minnesota’s presidential primary season.

Thumbs up: To Minnesota in the hot seat. Forget Iowa; all political eyes are on the Land of 10,000 Lakes this winter. GOP candidate and former Lt. Gov. Michelle Fischbach was in Detroit Lakes last week to lay out her case to take on longtime Congressman Collin Peterson in November. The Democrat Peterson has not officially announced his intentions, but if the expected Peterson-Fischbach contest materializes, prepare for a lot of campaigning.

Regardless of political persuasion, it was nice to see Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar earn a New York Times endorsement for the Democratic presidential nomination (OK, she was tied with Sen. Elizabeth Warren; the Times explained they endorsed one from the moderate and another from the progressive wings of the Democratic Party). Because President Trump is the de facto candidate for the GOP, the Times did not have to make a Republican endorsement.

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Thumbs down: To fake cops. There have been at least two reports this month of a man impersonating a law enforcement officer forcing vehicles to pull over on rural roads in Becker and Clay counties. In the first reported incident, Becker County Sheriff Todd Glander said a woman was traveling near Lake Park when a vehicle in front of her activated white and blue lights in the rear window of what she described as a newer white Jeep. The man approached the driver's side of her vehicle and told her she had a broken tail light. He asked her for ID … and to step out of the vehicle. When she asked for his credentials, he went back to his vehicle and drove off.

This is absolutely terrifying.

It’s frightening to think what might have happened next. Whoever this fake cop is, he is creating real danger, for citizens, police and even folks driving by.

There have been no further updates from law enforcement on this story. We hope the guy came to his senses … but he still should be caught and punished.