EDITORIAL: Mother's Day event raised awareness of overdoses

May 20—Thumbs up to the mothers who gathered to bring awareness and provide support for all those who have lost a loved one to fentanyl overdose.

The moms gathered in Mankato on Mother's Day sharing their memories of children they lost to fentanyl poisoning. They were joined at the vigil by others who've lost loved ones.

While those attending used the time to talk about and remember their loved one and offer support to one another, there main goal was, as one mom put it, "Getting the word out there."

As has become painfully clear, fentanyl is an epidemic, with overdose deaths tripling over a four-year period ending in 2021. There were 1,356 drug overdose deaths in Minnesota alone in 2021. Fentanyl is the leading cause of death for Americans ages 18 to 49.

Fortunately there has been more awareness of the dangers of fentanyl and the state is providing more support for addiction recovery. And more people are getting Narcan, which can be used to prevent death when someone is overdosing. Still, the education and awareness efforts need to continue.

Taylor Corp. helps offenders

Thumbs up to Taylor Corp. for its involvement in working with Blue Earth County Drug Court and veterans court to hire people with criminal records who would otherwise likely be without work.

The company was recently recognized by the court for its strong efforts to hire people with criminal records and help them turn their life around. It's part of a pilot program that has officials working with drug court refer potential employees to Taylor Corp.

Most of the offenders referred have some kind of felony related to substance abuse. So far, three offenders have obtained jobs with the company since last year.

The company said it hopes to continue and expand its participation. That's good for those looking to turn their lives around, their families and the community at large.

Give me those slippers!

Thumbs up to the pursuit of finding the party responsible for stealing a pair of Dorothy's ruby slippers decades ago from a Grand Rapids, Minnesota, museum.

The shoes, one of four remaining pairs in existence, were worn by Judy Garland who played Dorothy in the 1939 musical "The Wizard of Oz." The valuable slippers were on loan to the Judy Garland Museum in the late actor's hometown when in 2005 someone climbed through a window and broke the display case and made off with them.

Federal authorities followed the (yellow, brick) road to the missing slippers when a man told the shoes' insurer in 2017 that he could help get them back. After a nearly yearlong investigation, the FBI nabbed the shoes in Minneapolis in July 2018. No arrests were made at the time.

On Tuesday, Terry Martin, 76, who lives 12 miles from the museum, was indicted by a grand jury with one count of theft of a major artwork.

We don't yet know Martin's full story, but the unraveling of the plot is as intriguing as a Hollywood motion picture. The museum staff is hoping the slippers will return to Garland's hometown after the legal case ends because, after all, there's no place like home.

Time for a redesign

Thumbs up to a plan likely to be approved by the state Legislature for a commission that would redesign Minnesota's state flag and great seal, the latter the centerpiece of the flag.

The seal is overly busy and complex. Worse is its celebration of the displacement of native tribes by white settlers. As a whole, the seal, and hence the flag it adorns, merits retirement.

The commission envisioned by the bill would what a January deadline for a new design, which would stand unless rejected by the Legislature during the 2024 session. It shouldn't be difficult to come up with a more fitting emblem of the state.