Our opinion: Plenty to celebrate in Austin

Published 4:14 pm Saturday, May 6, 2017

Like all news outlets, we hear a common complaint: There’s too much bad news. But we want to take a timeout to recognize a wave of good things happening in the community in the last week.

Here are just a few of the many deserving of recognition:

Hy-Vee opens new era

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We can attest: The new Hy-Vee store is worth the wait.

Hy-Vee invested $20 million into the roughly 82,000-square-feet store and is adding about 300 jobs.

The store will carry 54,000 items; a large HealthMarket and bulk foods section with fresh produce items, including homegrown and organic; specialty items; floral design and shop; a mother’s room and much more. It will also feature many options for fresh-baked meals: Hibachi Asian Grill, the Long Island Deli, Cocina Mexicana, Dia Pida Italian Street Food, Hickory House Comfort Food and The Market Grille

The  store opens Tuesday and promises plenty for shoppers to check out. It’s an exciting time to reflect on how far the site has come since it was once Oak Park Mall.

Congrats to Austin Student Senate

Riverland Community College’s Austin Student Senate deserve praise for earning the college its first designation as a Star Campus, a recognition for the most active campuses in Minnesota State College Student Association.

The senate’s leaders have been active this year and show no signs of slowing.

They promoted a get out the vote campaign and traveled to Washington, D.C., and to the Minnesota State Capitol to advocate for a 1 percent college tuition decrease, to name a few activities. They’re also working on a food-insecure pantry for students to open next year.

They’ve proven to be a strong voice for the school, and we agree with RCC President Dr. Adenuga Atewologun that they’re starting a strong tradition.

“It’s like you’re setting the standard high, and others have to try to catch up to you,” Atewologun said.

Red Bike is back

Congrats to Vision 2020’s Walking and Biking Committee for a successful kickoff to year two of Red Bike.

The program puts bikes out around town for people to ride and return free of charge. The committee learned from its first year and increased the bike total to 40.

And to prevent theft, this year’s bikes will have identifying decals. All bikes are considered the property of the city of Austin.

We encourage our readers to take advantage of this great program and to honor its slogan of ride, respect, return.

Congrats to new teachers

Last but not least, we congratulate the first graduating class of Austin’s 2+2 teacher program, a partnership of Austin Public Schools, Riverland Community and Winona State University to target Austin residents to earn teaching degrees.

This great program is a win-win: It helps Austin residents earn degrees and helps Austin Public Schools develop and train teachers.