THUMBS UP/THUMBS DOWN
News media still strong
Thumbs Up: It's good to see that not everyone is falling for the "fake news" hype. There's still a solid core of individuals who trust and respect traditional media and local news, according to new research from Kantar Media. It's "Dimension 2018" report contains statistics that show the news media has never been stronger. Some key findings about print media: 79 percent of people still read a printed newspaper; 67 percent trust printed newspapers; more than twice as many people trust printed newspapers and news magazines as compared to social media; and more than one-quarter of those surveyed enjoy ads in online print.
Thumbs Down: It's seems strange to criticize drivers who are "too kind" but we've seen them muck up the traffic flow a lot lately. An example: After a driver got a green light to go straight across Broadway from Sixth Avenue, he waited for three cars coming from the other direction to make left turns. He may have felt he was being courteous, allowing the other drivers to go ahead of him, but he failed to consider the drivers behind him, who now had to wait for the next light. We've also seen "too kind" drivers come to a stop on County Road 22 where it intersects with the Central Lakes Trail to let bikers or runners cross the road and continue on the trail. That's not a safe move if the traffic from the other direction doesn't also yield to the trail users. Plus, it backs up traffic. It's also confusing for trail users who know they don't have the right-of-way yet are being waved ahead to cross the road.
Help for caregivers
Thumbs Up: Family caregivers who unselfishly devote so much time, energy and compassion caring for an ailing parent or another loved may soon receive a well-earned benefit. Last week, U.S. Senator Amy Klobuchar, D-Minnesota, introduced the Americans Giving Care to Elders (AGE) Act to provide financial relief to family caregivers. They could qualify for a tax credit to help offset expenses — ranging from purchasing assistive technologies and devices to fees for a care center to making necessary modifications to a home — of up to $6,000 per year. "Millions of families already find themselves coping with the challenges and costs of caring for elderly parents — and the numbers will continue to grow," Klobuchar said. "The AGE Act will ensure that family caregivers won't have to decide between paying the bills and caring for their aging loved ones." The American Heart Association endorsed the effort. "Caregivers are indispensable assets to our health care system and often play a significant role in the recovery and well-being of heart disease and stroke survivors," said American Heart Association CEO Nancy Brown. "As the nation's population ages, the need for caregivers will escalate. Senator Klobuchar's legislation is a critical first step to ensuring that those who care for elderly parents or relatives have the resources necessary to maintain the health and wellbeing of their families."
A toast to dairy farmers
Thumbs Up: With June being National Dairy Month, we give all of the hard-working dairy farmers in Douglas County a thumbs up. America's dairy farmers provide enough milk to make more than 1 billion pounds of butter, 7 billion pounds of cheese and 1 billion gallons of ice cream. The average American consumes about 646 pounds of dairy products in a year. Over the course of a cow's lifetime, it will produce more than 350,000 glasses of milk. Dairy farmers are going through tough times right now. As Rep. Paul Anderson, R-Starbuck, noted this week, they've had to endure a run of low commodity prices and relatively high input costs. "To compound the situation, the federal safety net, which is based on the cost of feed, hasn't worked either," Anderson noted. He added that changes have made to the program that should help provide additional operating capital in the short term. In the meantime, they could use more support, so drink up and clink your glass to a dairy farmer this month.