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Looking into the editor’s mail bag

By Staff | Apr 20, 2014

I get mail. A lot of mail.

Some of it is in the form of regular U.S. Postal Department “real letters,” with stamps and everything.

Most of it these days, however, are letters in the form of email.

Probably that is true for everyone.

Some mail is important. A lot is not, which is why we refer to it as “junk mail.” Or, in the case of email, it is called spam.

Here is a sampling of some recent mail and email to cross the editor’s desk.

An anonymous letter to the editor arrived the other day in the regular mail.

But, since it was only signed “A Concerned Citizen,” we did not run it.

Basically, the author said he (or she) was in favor of the roundabouts, but thought people should use their turn signals in them.

They suggested that when one is about to enter the roundabout, one signals the intent of where they want to go. In other words, if you are headed north and are going to exit the roundabout to the west, you would blink left even though you will be turning right to go into the roundabout. If you were going to enter the roundabout and go east, you blink right. And, if you are going to continue to head north, then you don’t blink at all.

But, once in the roundabout, you hit your right turn signal just as you are about to exit the roundabout as all exits from the roundabout are made to the right.

It sounds a bit complicated to me.

Do you use your blinkers in the roundabout or not?

On a personal note, I think most of us are pretty used to the things by now. But, there are certainly those folks who are not.

Just in the past week I have twice come close to an accident in one of our Blue Earth roundabouts.

Both times were the same type of incident. As I was slowly cruising through the roundabout, with the right-of-way, someone came barreling up to the roundabout and pulled right in front of me, causing me to come to a stop to avoid an accident.

The ironic part was seeing the driver upset that I had not slowed down for him. He obviously thought the vehicle entering the roundabout has the right of way. Wrong.

Please, try and learn the basic rules of entering and exiting a roundabout. And, if nothing else, at least slow down a little.

Another letter came by email, and although it was signed, the writer asked that her name be withheld and that the letter not be published.

This letter, from a former Blue Earth resident, was a comment on my column dealing with trying to make the downtown more “attractive” as part of the planned 2015 reconstruction of two blocks of Main Street.

She totally agreed with the idea and suggested I take a look at the city where she now lives Buffalo, Minnesota. It is a very good example, she wrote, of a town revitalizing its downtown.

I did and she is correct. It has an attractive downtown, and some other very nice items in the city.

Of course, its close proximity to the Twin Cities metro area is probably a big boost.

We all can come up with examples of small towns which have a vibrant downtown one that has nice sidewalks, trees and shrubs, flower pots, benches for sitting and perhaps even outdoor eating areas.

My favorite is Ripon, Calif., because it reminds me of Blue Earth.

Ripon also has a major highway cutting through it, with fast food restaurants, truck stops, shops and a grocery store located along it. Most new business construction is done along the highway.

But the downtown has made itself attractive with brick sidewalks, bump outs, trees and bushes, benches and flowers.

They even have large signs designating it as “Historic Downtown Ripon.”

And, all the buildings are filled with shops, cafes, bars and offices. There are lots of outdoor green spaces to relax and visit.

Blue Earth could do the same. And this is the time to do it.

A committee called the “Main Street 2015 Committee” is talking about these ideas right now. They will bring these suggestions to the City Council and hopefully some of them will be incorporated into the master reconstruction plan for downtown.

Who knows, maybe the Sprout will actually make an appearance…