Editor’s note: The weekly “Thumbs Up-Thumbs Down” editorial offers opinions on highs and lows in the news during the past week.
Thumbs up: Farm Technology Days’ tent city will be an impressive site for Interstate 94 travelers driving past Eau Claire in 2020.
Eau Claire County officials this week revealed that Huntsinger Farms southwest of the city will hold the state’s largest farm show in three years. Details such as the date will be announced next week, but the choice of Huntsinger Farms seems like an ideal location. The business, which produces crops on its large, flat land on Highway 37, is close to I-94 for the expected 45,000 people that would visit the Chippewa Valley over the three-day event.
The Huntsinger family owns the business, which produces horseradish and other sauces under the Silver Spring Foods label. The company has been around for 75 years and is one of Eau Claire County’s best known agricultural businesses. Silver Spring provides a free meal to local residents for National Mustard Day each August, with 3,500 attending this year. The crowds are going to get a whole lot bigger in 2020.
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Thumbs down: Threats of violence such as the one that canceled school at Memorial High School this week may be acts of immaturity, ignorance or a joke, and not the ranting of someone bent on causing mayhem.
But in this day and age, with mass shootings in Las Vegas and Texas fresh in our minds, every threat must be considered legitimate and taken seriously. So when messages stating “Get your students out B4 I kill them” and “I have a bomb and loaded gun” showed up on school restroom stall dividers on Wednesday, school officials and authorities evacuated the 1,600 students at Memorial and canceled school for the day. Authorities say a 15-year-old girl has admitted to making the restroom threats.
Threats like these may be a call for attention or a dare. No matter the reason, school was disrupted and the community was placed on high alert. If convicted, the juvenile will pay a price for it.
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Thumbs up: A large turnout at a Chippewa Falls City Council meeting was enough to convince council members that allowing more tiny home shelters for homeless people was the right thing to do.
With temperatures dropping to single digits this week and winter closing in on the Chippewa Valley, two more tiny homes will be available downtown. Those attending the meeting explained the tremendous need for homeless services in the community and said Chippewa Valley Bible Church was an acceptable site. Police said officers have heard no complaints about the two tiny homes that have been located at Trinity United Methodist Church since February. Eleven people have used the tiny homes for more than 800 nights of shelter.
The council did the right thing approving the tiny home expansion. It’s also heartening when the public comes out in force to show compassion for those in need.