It's less than a month until Election Day, and political signs dot front lawns like robins in spring. But some of those robins fall victim to cats. Just as some campaign signs disappear into the darkness.
"I’ve been telling people to bring their signs in at night," Ceri Everett, of Red Wing, told reporter Brian Todd.
Campaign sign theft is nothing new, and the Post Bulletin has reported on it repeatedly, but Mark Liebow, DLF chairman in Senate District 26, said it's more prevalent this year. In one brazen example, a social media post showed a handful of teenagers who said they'd "looted" then burned campaign signs, some of which cost as much as $40.
The signs are private property, and it's against the law to steal or vandalize them.
Liebow said that the theft situation was bad in 2016, but it's worse this year. What's even more disconcerting are claims of intimidation.
"People are saying they’ve been threatened or fearful that bad things will happen to them and their property if they put up signs," Liebow said.
That is an even more sinister manifestation of these politically charged times. Thumbs down
If I had a hammer
Tammy Riska needed a new roof on her Winona home before winter, and Habitat for Humanity Winona -Fillmore Counties agreed to do the job.
But when the volunteer organization's contractor had to back out at the last minute, executive director Amanda Hedlund asked her board of directors to step in. Most of them are more used to making decisions for the organization than swinging a hammer, but seven of the 18 members of the board — 11, if you add spouses – signed up.
Jen Gibson, a member of the Habitat board in Winona, admitted her hands were a bit sore after a morning wielding a nail gun. Sometimes it hurts to do good. Thumbs up
Best use for fire station?
Through the years, there has been a lot of speculation about ways the Silver Lake Fire Station might be used. The latest proposal would turn it into a day center for people facing homelessness.
City staff initially opened the center in the Mayo Civic Center, then moved it to a Salvation Army building at 115 First Ave. NE in August, when Civic Center activity started increasing. But the Salvation Army building, with a capacity of 30 people, isn't quite large enough.
Last week, the Rochester City Council voted 6-1 to explore options for using the Silver Lake Fire Station as a day center site. The Rochester Park Board followed up with a 6-1 vote to approve the proposal. Even so, the plan was considered a stop-gap measure until the city finds something more suitable.
The Silver Lake Station would likely accommodate 30 people. The Salvation Army building will stay open, meaning the fire station would double available services.
The current proposal calls for using $400,000 in federal funds from the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act to renovate the building on the southwest side of Silver Lake.
A qualified thumbs up for finding a new purpose for an existing building. But the idea of spending $400,000 on a temporary use tempers that endorsement.