We can relax a bit after Tuesday's election. There were some wins by Republicans, some by Democrats. The business of government will proceed at varying speeds across the country.
We're inspired by the near-record number of voters in Cerro Gordo County and throughout North Iowa. Participating in the democratic process, whether your votes went to winners or losers, makes our society better. It's a vital responsibility, and we're happy to see more people – particularly young people – participating.
But we can't afford to exit the process until the next polling date.
• Stay informed of the issues most important to you and seek sources beyond your comfort bubble. Be willing to learn and challenge what you think you know.
• Find those elected officials most likely to influence your issues. Let them know your stance and why it's important to you.
• To the best of your ability, ensure that the information you share with family, friends, officials and on social media on those important issues is credible. Bad information leads to bad decisions.
• In all of those communications, exchange information with maturity, openness and kindness. The first step in addressing the sour tenor in our country's rhetoric begins with us.
Here is the unfortunate reminder for those needing a longer break: the Iowa caucuses are currently scheduled for Feb. 3, 2020. We have about 15 months to be better neighbors and debaters, sharing the goal of better discourse and better solutions.
Our country, state and communities need it.
Changes to fireworks regs
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The Council is moving toward reducing them as much as possible.
An outright ban was rejected by the group, but limitations appear to be coming. The Council has more details to finalize and approve, but its next series of votes is Nov. 20.
The changes include limiting where fireworks can be sold, when they can be shot and how much law enforcement can fine offenders or property owners.
If approved, we anticipate residents will reduce their use of fireworks. Just don't expect silent skies.
Season to give
The North Iowa Toys for Tots program is among the first charity drives of the holiday season, and one we encourage you to support.
The national drive, operated by the U.S. Marine Reserve Corps, provides more than 2,000 North Iowa children with toys. Donations may come in gift or cash forms.
Applications for assistance will be accepted from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday through Wednesday at the Salvation Army in Mason City. Another application window will be available on Dec. 5.
Toys will be distributed Dec. 18 and 19. For more information, visit the North Iowa Toys for Tots website or call 641-420-5195.