Throughout Minnesota and Wisconsin, the last week is here or near to put a close to one heck of an unusual school year. What does this mean? It means fewer buses on our neighborhood streets and more kids out riding bikes, rollerblading and skateboarding. Kids are heading to golf courses, baseball diamonds, lakes and beaches. You’re likely to see them off to their first jobs mowing lawns, babysitting, dog walking, doing yard work, coaching, refereeing games, delivering newspapers and even volunteering. As you pour your morning cup of coffee or blend a protein shake, start visualizing where kids could be on your drive to work. Think about where they might be crossing streets. Also be aware that there are more high schoolers on the roads driving to jobs and various activities. Please - as you get into your car take extra care and give them a break. Consider leaving early to allow time to your drive. As always, don’t look at texts when you’re behind the wheel. As we settle into summer, stay alert, take it slow, and enjoy the sights and sounds of the season. 


Skateboarding is not a crime 

I enjoyed skateboarding as a kid and love to see the variety of skateboards now– from custom hand-built long boards, park boards and mini banana boards to electric boards and one-wheels. I recently ran into a group of skateboarders downtown and asked them if they could do an ollie kick flip. They all quickly performed the trick at a variety of levels. At my skateboarding peak this trick was the one I always wanted to perfect. They told me afterward they assumed I stopped because I was going to yell at them like everybody else does. They have taken the brunt and been given a bad name because of the few skateboarders who have misbehaved or damaged property in the past. I urge adults in our community to consider a different approach. Ask questions, listen and learn. It has been said kids will reciprocate the respect you show them. Compliment them, show them respect, and set an example for them about being kind. Treat them as you would like to be treated, or how you hope your children and grandchildren would be treated. Give them the benefit of the doubt and don’t assume they are all out causing trouble.  

This generation of kids hasn’t had to walk to school uphill both ways two miles in the snow, but they have a different set of challenges to navigate. The internet and social media is the wild west and anything can be said with little to no guidelines, laws or monitoring. I remember hearing a speaker on the topic who once said to make comments online like you’re talking to your grandmother. We all need a positive support network regardless of our age.  


Local inventions 

Some say America was built in the garage. Big companies like Microsoft, Apple and Gateway come to mind. Local companies like Fulton Beer, Hed Cycle and Infinite Campus got their start in a similar way. A few years ago, we did a story about the patents that had been issued throughout our communities. In Birchwood, Dellwood, Mahtomedi, North Oaks and surrounding areas, the number was impressive. Over the years the paper has covered many of these new businesses and inventions. New businesses create jobs and build our local economy. They provide a tax base which supports our infrastructure along with fun projects and social services. Without a new influx of small business and startups we can’t provide services at the same level. So let’s encourage local entrepreneurship – support the businesses out there providing jet ski food delivery, junk removal, lawn services, healthy popsicles, homemade beauty products and Bloody Mary’s. Let’s help keep the best and brightest here in our community by supporting them. 


Carter Johnson is publisher of Press Publications.

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