Seatbelt use is up
THUMBS UP: According to the Minnesota Department of Public Safety, seatbelt use is at an all-time high. The DPS says the latest observational use survey in June showed a 94.8 percent seatbelt use rate - a 15 percent increase since 2003. For a reference, in 1986 - the year Minnesota first passed a seatbelt law - compliance was 20 percent and there were 280 unbelted deaths on our roads and highways. In 2003, belt compliance was just shy of 80 percent with 257 unbelted deaths, and in 2008 belt use was 86.7 percent with 150 unbelted deaths. Last year, seatbelt use was at 93.6 percent with 116 unbelted deaths. Too many deaths on our highways to be sure, but at least this is a positive trend.
THUMBS DOWN: We're sorry to hear that the Minnesota Inventors Congress, which has held its annual show in Redwood Falls for the past 56 years, is planning on moving to a larger city and a bigger venue.
The Inventors Congress is planning on relocating to someplace in the Twin Cities, where there are bigger facilities and bigger potential audiences.
We suppose it can be considered a tribute to the Redwood Falls organizers that the show has grown to the point where it needs to move to keep growing. But it will be missed in this part of the state.
Farm bill action
THUMBS UP: We're glad to see the U.S. House and Senate are talking to each other again on the issue of the Farm Bill. The bill has been in limbo, with two different versions passed, but the conference committee process has been held up until the last farm bill expired on Sept. 30.
The House, which passed a partial version that stripped out the Food Stamp program, has finally appointed its conferees, which includes local First District Rep. Tim Walz, and Minnesota's 7th District Rep. Colin Peterson. On the Senate side, Sen. Amy Klobuchar from Minnesota is on the committee
The conferees are hoping to get a compromise hammered out and passed by the Congress by the end of the year, which will be very beneficial to farmers who are wondering what kind of government policies will be in place as they make their decisions for next year's growing season.