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Cheers and Jeers

Cheer

Teachers and administrators at the Minidoka County School District were supplied with emergency response backpacks and radios to improve school safety in the districts. The radios allow teachers to communicate with each other and also to directly contact police and fire departments. In all, the district purchased 300 emergency response backpacks at a total cost of about $2,300 and 240 radios at a cost of $18,000. They were paid for with state Safe and Drug Free Schools funds. It’s still dismaying that this is necessary in schools, but it’s also undeniable that measures need to be taken. This is a good move by the Minidoka County School District to prepare its educators before catastrophe strikes.

Jeer

Idaho had its first flu-related death this week, as the Department of Health and Welfare announced Friday that a woman in northern Idaho had died earlier in the week. This comes on the heels of an especially severe flu season in Idaho last year. Nationwide, 80,000 Americans died as a result of the flu last year – the highest number in more than four decades. For most people, catching the flu is annoying and relatively debilitating for a few days. But for some, especially young children and people older than 65, it can be life-threatening. A flu shot is not a guaranteed remedy — some people still get sick as the vaccine loses potency — but it is the best proactive option we have for keeping the flu at bay. December and January are the peak months of flu season. Don’t wait until then. Get your flu shot now for yourself and for the people who are more susceptible to grave consequences if they catch the flu.

Cheer

Another fourplex development is coming to Twin Falls, despite concerns by some residents near the proposed construction site.

The development was initially denied by the Twin Falls Planning and Zoning Commission, but the City Council overturned that denial on Monday. Some of the concerns from engineers and residents, such as whether the road is wide enough to accommodate street parking, were valid. But others, such as complaints that the development would increase noise on the quiet street, should be given less merit.

As the Magic Valley grows, some formerly quiet neighborhoods are bound to become busier. That’s just part of growth. But if everyone rejected nearby residential development — which the city desperately needs to accommodate the growth that’s already here — Twin Falls would be crushed under the weight of its new residents.

The jobs and the economy are already here. Now we need to build upon that and provide affordable housing for the people who fill those open jobs. Fourplex developments like this one are a good starting point for addressing Twin Falls’ housing shortage, and we support the City Council decision to overturn the initial denial.

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Our Views are the opinion of the Times-News editorial board.

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