Get A Grip: City Council election is where 'voter voice is heard the loudest'

Just a reminder that Tuesday is city election day and all city residents should take the time to vote for a mayor and city council members.

The city council is our nearest form of representative government and therefore, the one we have the most control over.

Some folks think that this is a minor election and not important enough to make the effort to vote.

But it's just the opposite.

This election is where the voter voice is heard the loudest.

I am happy that there are more candidates than seats for city council.

A variety of options allows us to choose which direction we want the city to move in.

Unfortunately, this is not the case in the mayoral race, which is uncontested.

It saddens me when any elected post is uncontested.

I see it as a failure on the part of the public to take responsibility for our future.

I think it works to the benefit of all when even the greatest elected official is challenged and made to sharpen his or her positions and defend his or her choices.

Nevertheless, it's time to vote and exercise our most precious freedom.

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Several civic improvements have popped up in recent weeks that deserve a mention.

The first is the flags on Stockton Hill Road.

They're wonderful.

Added to the recent median work and road widening, the look of Stockton Hill Road has gone from shabby to chic.

Changes downtown have also gone a long way to improve a dismal cityscape.

The painting of the old taxi stand at Andy Devine and Fourth Street is a delight.

I love the pictures in the windows and the crisp paint job has turned an eyesore into a showpiece.

What a transformation.

And what an inspiration.

This small project really highlights the possibilities downtown by showing us the impact of a little care and a little paint.

The second downtown change is the trim on the depot.

A phantom painter began to paint the faded trim on the decrepit depot and the job gives us a glimpse of what the depot could be, if the railroad allowed us to paint it.

I don't know who is responsible for the paint job but whoever you are, "thank you."

The city has been going round and round with Burlington Northern Santa Fe for years in an effort to get permission to merely paint the depot.

I know it's not generally socially acceptable to applaud someone for taking action into their own hands, but in this case I can't help but cheer for the vigilante painter.

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How Girl Scout cookies saved my life.

Two different recent incidents have underscored to me the importance of Girl Scout cookies.

On a recent hike in the Mt.

Nutt Wilderness Area in Golden Valley The Husband and I lost the trail and, for a time, I was afraid we would be stranded overnight in the desert.

After much hiking around (interspersed with some scrambling, climbing and, on my part, falling) we stopped to rest.

We had plenty of water with us and each had a drink but it wasn't until I ate a Thin Mint (thoughtfully packed by The Husband) that I felt rejuvenated and found the will to hike on.

Soon after we found our way back to the trail and were home in time for dinner.

Had it not been for that Thin Mint, I'm afraid I'd still be out there.

On a second occasion I found myself out of town with no money for food.

A kind donation of Girl Scout cookies (again, the mighty Thin Mint) from a co-worker made it possible for me to get through the day without becoming woozy from hunger.

It seems there is no problem Girl Scout cookies can't fix.

I'm putting them on my list of survival must-haves along with duct tape and a Swiss Army knife.

Girl Scout cookies have been a part of my life since my days as a green-clad scout.

At the time, I dreaded February because it meant that it was time again to go door-to-door asking the question over and over again, "Would you like to buy some Girl Scout cookies?" And then the interminable hours of standing in front of the local grocery stores (Ralph's and Alpha Beta), again with the question, "Would you like to buy some Girl Scout cookies?" I hated hawking cookies but the whole ordeal was somehow put over as being a positive step in our development towards becoming good entrepreneurial capitalists.

Anyway, I suffered for years for the good of the Girl Scouts (which, besides the cookie-thing, I loved and have a sash full of badges to prove it) and now I feel that I've earned the right to enjoy as many Thin Mints as I can eat.

And now that Girl Scout cookies have saved my life twice, I have two more reasons to say, "Yes, I would love to buy some Girl Scout cookies."

Abbie Gripman is the Miner's news editor.