Chronicle Editorial

Mandela leaves worldwide legacy

     The world lost one of its most iconic symbols of freedom and equality last week following the death of South African leader Nelson Mandela. The news was indeed sad, but it by no means marks an end to Mandela's long and storied legacy that influenced people across the globe.

     Mandela battled political persecution in racially-divided South Africa for much of his life before leading the country out of apartheid. He became president, which is nearly unfathomable considering the circumstances in which he grew up. All of this was accomplished through peaceful means, and it provides us with a guiding lesson in today's age of political upheaval and global uncertainty. Peace, understanding and tolerance will always be the most successful means to solving an issue, no matter the circumstance or history. Mandela proved this, but it gets forgotten far too often.

     Mandela was the perfect messenger for this campaign of peace and stability. His ever-smiling face and kind spirit made him an instantaneous worldwide favorite in the 1990s, and it's hard to argue any leader influenced people to the extent Mandela did in the late-20th Century during his rise to prominence. His story is as much a tribute to the undying nature of the human spirit as it is an example of standing up for what's right. Mandela was an icon of humanity, and though he changed a part of the world thousands of miles away, his efforts helped shift attitude across oceans and continents. He was a leader in every sense, and his legacy will live on indefinitely.

 

A friendly wintertime reminder         

     It's time to shift gears into full-on winter mode. The snow has fallen, the plows are out and the shovels are flying – it's definitely here to stay. These frigid temps and blustery winds also bring with them annual reminders of winter safety. It's a tried and true routine all Iowans are most likely used to, but a brief review never hurt anyone.

     Wintertime travel creates the largest potential for roadside troubles here in the Hawkeye State. Weather can change quickly and it's important to keep a few extra blankets and other supplies with you when you head out. Things often get hectic around Christmastime, but keeping on top of holiday travel hazards is pinnacle as highways become more and more congested this time of the year. Check forecasts, pack a few extra items and use common sense before heading out to grandma's.

     If you must travel through a storm, be courteous and aware of plows and other maintenance crews out on the roads. They're out there for your safety, and failing to respect their authority can lead to accidents and other troubles. Keeping your distance and exercising precautionary driving tactics can keep you out of both ditch and the morgue this time of the year. Snow-covered roads are nothing to toy with.

     Lastly, be aware of wintertime hazards at your home. Power can go out at the drop of a hat during ice storms and blizzards, so it's important to keep a few flashlights and other supplies at the ready these next few months. Keep an eye out for elderly neighbors this time of the year as well. Check up on them if the electricity goes out, and don't be shy when it comes to scooping their sidewalk – there's no need for them to risk a broken bone for a few inches of snow.

     Snow and ice are never very fun, but exercising common sense can make winter a little bit easier for everyone involved.