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Published January 08 2012

Forum editorial: Hennepin judge wins roses

PRAIRIE ROSES: To Hennepin County (Minn.) District Judge Lloyd Zimmerman for refusing to hear cases at suburban courtrooms until stronger security is in place. The judge is one of several who have been trying to raise awareness of the danger judges and courtroom personnel face in courthouses that do not have adequate security measures, including metal detectors. The incidence of guns getting into courtrooms is up across the nation. Judges, lawyers and others are increasingly at risk. Some have been killed. Zimmerman’s action might seem over the top, but he is calling attention to a real problem in some suburban Twin Cities courthouses. Many counties have taken the threat seriously and installed metal detectors and other security measures. But many have not, in part because of budget constraints. But courtroom security should be a priority. Zimmerman is right to raise a flag of concern.

PRAIRIE ROSES: To the unknown shoplifter who, after nearly 40 years, paid the Straus Clothing store $100 for stealing a sweater. The theft occurred in the Grand Forks store, which has been closed for years. The payment came to the owners of the Fargo store last week. The five $20 bills were accompanied by a note that admitted the theft of the sweater 37 years ago. While shoplifting losses are a part of doing retail business, it’s a rare happening to have a shoplifter pay up, especially after so long a time. It was a nice touch as the holiday season winds down.

PRAIRIE ROSES: To state Rep. Kathy Hawken, R-Fargo, who has changed her mind about stepping out of the North Dakota House of Representatives. She will seek re-election this fall. Hawken, one of the Legislature’s strongest voices for children’s issues, education and women’s issues, changed her mind after talking with friends and colleagues and after state Sen. Tom Fischer, R-Fargo, died. They were friends, and during the last legislative session, Fischer urged her to seek re-election. Hawken has been in the House since 1997 and brings a wealth of experience and knowledge to her public service. She also is not one to parrot the party line when it’s out of line with her values and priorities. That’s a rare quality in lawmakers.

Forum editorials represent the opinion of Forum management and the newspaper’s Editorial Board.