Short takes for Oct. 11

Canby Fire Department honored

THUMBS UP: Hats off to the Canby Fire Department, which is one of 17 Minnesota fire departments recently honored nationally for their fire prevention accomplishments and protecting citizens from fire, the Department of Public Safety said. More than 115 departments nationwide received Life Safety Achievement Awards from The National Association of State Fire Marshals. Minnesota had more award recipients than any other state. To qualify for the award, fire departments must: have zero fire deaths in residential structures or a 10 percent reduction from the previous year; demonstrate commitment to preventing residential fires in their communities; have an active fire prevention program; and prove that the department’s fire prevention efforts increased and made a positive impact. According to the DPS, a fire was reported every 32 minutes in the state in 2012, and during Fire Prevention Week, we ask that you join us in recognizing all area departments for everything they do to keep us safe by thanking a member of your local fire department.

Ordinance overload

THUMBS DOWN: There’s a lot to be said about the importance of keeping a well-maintained lawn and house – curb appeal is important to neighborhoods in every city – and no one wants to see a property full of junk piles, or a place of business that hasn’t been kept up, but as vital as ordinances are to every city, we don’t like the idea of over-governing. At this week’s Marshall City Council meeting where discussion centered on proposed amendments to zoning ordinances, a council member noted that what used to be a one-page city ordinance has ballooned into an eight-page one. Yes, rules and restrictions serve an important purpose, but the growing number of ordinances in Marshall throughout the years is concerning. Do we need to be worried about how many trees a person has in their yard, or if someone can or can’t paint their brick siding? Ordinances are created, in part, to set guidelines and boundaries for residents, homeowners and businesses, but when does it become too much? And how much time is too much time to spend debating existing city edicts?

Takin’ it to the street

THUMBS UP: The city of Granite Falls has one of the coolest public events in the region. The annual Meander event literally took to the street in Granite Falls last week with a reenactment of the history of the city portrayed by a walking theater. Weather-wise, it wasn’t the perfect night for the outdoor festivity, but that did little to deter many area residents from enjoying the spectacle.