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: Teens in Cumberland know how to pull off a senior prank, and it doesn’t take them long. Seven minutes, to be exact.
Four seniors placed half a car against the side of the high school at midnight Sunday to make it look like the vehicle had crashed into the building less than a week before graduation, according to a Leader-Telegram story by Julian Emerson. They added black plastic to make it look like a hole in the wall that was convincing enough for a passerby to report it to police early Monday morning.
Credit police and school officials for handling the situation with the humor it deserved. This was not seniors releasing greased pigs or chickens into a school that have gotten seniors elsewhere into jeopardizing their participation in commencement. No, this was four teens who knew how to pull off a prank without anyone getting hurt or any property being damaged. Kudos to school officials for leaving the vehicle where it was so people could enjoy the prank. The bar has been set high for future Cumberland classes. Let the planning begin for next year.
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Thumbs down: Chippewa County residents will be without a bridge near Little Lake Wissota for the forseeable future.
The 195th Street bridge in the town of Lafayette was closed after it partially collapsed on Sunday. The bridge had a weight limit on it so town and highway officials surmise that someone exceeded that limit, causing the collapse. They say it’s dangerous even for people to walk on it now. “It’s a very dangerous situation,” Megan MacLaughlin, a neighbor to the bridge who owns a construction company, told the Leader-Telegram’s Chris Vetter.
The bridge is more than 50 years old and is hardly the only structure in Wisconsin in need of repair or replacement. A 2016 Federal Highway Administration report indicated 1,228 of the 14,230 bridges in the state, or 8.6 percent, were found to be structurally deficient. But replacing infrastructure like roads and bridges is a daunting task. It’s a costly process and we’re falling further behind each year. Officials believe the Chippewa County bridge won’t be replaced until at least next year.
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Thumbs up: You’re never too young to get in the habit of giving.
At 9, Savannah Addis of Eau Claire has learned quickly. The fourth-grader started a toy drive at her school to benefit the Community Table after noticing the soup kitchen’s children’s area lacked items to keep kids entertained, according to a Leader-Telegram story by Lauren French. The drive collected more than 100 toys for the children’s area.
“She collected so many things for us, we actually won’t be able to house them all,” Michelle Koehn, executive director of The Community Table, told French. “What an incredible kid, right?” We couldn’t have said it any better ourselves.