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If it’s Thursday, we must be in...

If this is Thursday, we must be in... Rochester?

Yes, Thursdays on First and Third is back, roughly doubled in size, and we’ll forgive anyone who is momentarily disoriented. The kinds of attractions normally seen in much larger cities — live music on two stages, outdoor seating for restaurants, artists and vendors selling their wares — will be seen in downtown Rochester every Thursday from today through Sept. 10.

The idea, of course, is to get people downtown, especially after business hours. While savoring a cool drink on the Peace Plaza or enjoying a juicy hamburger on First Avenue, folks bump into neighbors, long-lost friends and work colleagues. In a city that has grown so rapidly, and in so many different directions, this community-building is vitally important.

So get out and enjoy Thursday in Rochester. It’s the next best thing to Friday.

Check out Mayowood festival

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Another attraction we’d recommend to folks is the annual Mayowood Family Festival. It will to be from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday at the historic mansion in southwest Rochester.

We’ve bemoaned the loss of Rochester’s historic buildings in this space many times during the last couple of decades. Mayowood is one of the community’s few remaining historic and architectural treasures.

If you haven’t been to Mayowood for a few years, we’d urge you take a look. Master gardeners and other volunteers have made amazing progress in their efforts to restore the grounds to their previous grandeur. And groups such as the Hampton Inns Landmark Restoration organization have made significant progress in the effort to spruce up the 38-room mansion.

Seat-belt law is good work

A continuing parade of lawmakers, several of whom are running for governor, have visited these parts in recent weeks touting the accomplishments of the 2009 Legislature.

Accomplishments?

Well, yes. We acknowledge that although the governor’s decision to circumvent the Legislature and make budget cuts on his own has attracted most of the attention, there were some positive accomplishments.

One good example is the primary seat belt law that was finally signed by the governor last month and took effect this week. It allows law enforcement officers to stop and ticket drivers who fail to buckle up. Before Tuesday, tickets for failure to comply with the state’s seat belt law could only be issued if officers stopped a driver for another law violation.

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We’ve long supported primary seat belt laws because we believe it would save lives reduce health care costs.

For example, a recent study at James Madison University concluded that for every 1 percent increase in safety belt use, 172 lives and close to $100 million in annual injury and death costs could be saved.

We congratulate local lawmakers who supported the primary seat belt law, in particular Rep. Kim Norton of Rochester, who carried the bill in the House and was one of its most vocal champions.

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