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: Ben Loomis’ dream came true a little earlier than expected, but he’ll take it.
At 19, the Eau Claire native this week qualified for the XXIII Olympic Winter Games that begin Feb. 8 in PyeongChang, South Korea, according to a Leader-Telegram story by Ron Buckli. Loomis will compete in the nordic combined event, ski jumping and cross-country skiing with the best in the world. He’s come a long way since his younger days jumping at the Mount Washington ski hill, a developing ground for previous Eau Claire Olympic jumpers like Reed Zuelke and others.
The Winter Olympics always are a spectacle that has Americans and the world glued to their TVs for 17 days every four years in February. The events are intensely popular like figure skating and hockey, and somewhat obscure like skeleton and biathlon. It’s great entertainment that will be even better with Loomis on the team.
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Thumbs down: Shame on those people who don’t show up for jury duty.
Most everyone who receives the jury duty notice in the mail from the clerk of courts office heaves a heavy sigh, fills out the form, checks on the specified days to see if trials are scheduled and shows up as part of the jury pool. In short, they do the responsible thing. But, of course, there are those who believe jury duty isn’t a big deal or it’s something that someone else can handle. Not so, judges past and present told the Leader-Telegram’s Chris Vetter. Eight people were scheduled to appear in Chippewa County this week for failing to show up for jury duty. Of course they didn’t show up for the hearing either, and were fined $500 each.
Judges say no-shows compromise the judicial process because people deserve a jury of their peers. Retired Eau Claire County Judge Thomas Barland called jury duty an important part of the democratic process. “The jury lies at the very heart of the judicial system,” Barland said.
Oh, and it’s also your duty.
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Thumbs up: Now is the time to make sure the size and scope of a major events center on Menomonie Street are what the Eau Claire community wants and will support.
It’s good to see stakeholders talking about the convention center needs of the Eau Claire community before plans for the Sonnentag Event and Recreation Complex on Menomonie Street are finalized. The Eau Claire Area Chamber of Commerce is conducting a survey on companies’ space needs for meetings, banquets and other events. Companies can indicate how much they may use the facilities.
The last thing the community needs is a too-small facility on Menomonie Street when a large complex could have taken care of needed space that could attract events to the city. If businesses indicate there isn’t a need for a larger facility, the planning can continue, but now is the time to find out.