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: The Eau Claire City Council and school board must be looking mighty attractive these days.
Seven candidates, including three incumbents, are running for seats on the school board in the April 3 general election. Four of the five district seats are contested for the Eau Claire City Council, and a special election for an at-large seat also has two candidates.
It’s great to see so many people interested in becoming members of the two important panels. That hasn’t always been the case, and we’ve lamented that fact in this column. So we applaud these candidates who have shown their willingness to attend long night meetings and listen to complaints from their neighbors to help guide the direction of this city and the schools that educate our children. These can be thankless jobs, but ones that are so very important to the Chippewa Valley.
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Thumbs down: Sub-zero temperatures always seem to produce disaster and tragedy.
With temperatures in the double digits below zero, a venture outdoors could prove fatal without proper protection. A Chetek man died of apparent hypothermia this week after being found in the woods in Barron County. Fires around the holidays always seem to end in tragedy. An 84-year-old near Colfax and a 91-year-old rural Hatfield man both died in separate house fires between Christmas and New Year’s. Several other fires destroyed homes and injured occupants.
While so many of us complain about the bitter cold weather as we sit inside our warm homes, those stuck outside struggle to survive on the street. Homeless shelters fill quickly. Some locations, like in Barron County, open churches or other community sites so everyone can come in out of the cold. Shelter seems so simple, so basic until you don’t have any. May the new year bring us closer to ending homelessness.
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Thumbs up: Eau Claire’s first baby of the year wasn’t your traditional birth. A surrogate mother in Eau Claire delivered a Maryland couple’s child on the first day of the new year as the new parents rushed to Wisconsin for the birth. Now that’s a good story.
Christine Ravaga hopped the last flight out of Washington, D.C., on New Year’s Eve and arrived just before surrogate Alyssa Johnson delivered baby Sterling Monday morning. Christine’s husband, Simon Bone, drove to Wisconsin to meet his new son after the birth. The baby came about three weeks early so the new parents admitted they were “frazzled” as they rushed to the Badger State.
It was all worthwhile, though, when they got to meet their new son at the end of what Ravaga called “a long journey.” And it makes for a memorable first baby of the year.