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Thumbs Up ... to nurses everywhere. This is National Nurses Week, and we join Americans everywhere who celebrate the contributions these people make to our well being.

It seem as if there is a day, week or month for just about every profession in this country. But we know, too, that nurses are a unique category. Gallup consistently finds in its polling that nursing is one of the most respected professions. In a 2018 survey, 84 percent of Americans rated the ethical standards of nurses "high" or very high." No other profession was rated higher.

We are blessed in this community to have nurses — at our hospitals and doctor's offices, at our schools and in some workplaces. They care and comfort us when we're sick, and they help us navigate the often complicated corridors of health care.

The American Nurses Association, or ANA, says that there are 4 million nurses nationwide, and as we celebrate them this week we also should recognize the challenges they face. They work long hours, face staff shortages and experience stress. Workplace safety also is a top concern, according to the ANA.

When we show our appreciation for nurses, we also should remember that the best way to show we value them — or any professional, for that matter — is to urge employers and policymakers to truly listen and respond to their concerns.

Thumbs Down ... to the speeders and reckless and careless drivers who make Operation Hard Hat necessary.

In case you hadn't noticed, Illinois State Police officers were monitoring traffic on Interstate-74 this week, but not in their familiar uniforms instead dressing as construction workers.

The idea was to nab bad drivers without tipping them off that an officer was present.

Unfortunately, it seems to have worked all too well.

Graham Ambrose of the Dispatch and Argus wrote earlier this week that Master Sgt. Ron Salier monitored traffic from a Walsh Construction vehicle Monday morning, and in "just a few minutes" between Avenue of the Cities and John Deere Road he recorded nine speeding violations.

The operation was aimed at helping all those who work along our roads and highways, where it can be dangerous. This year alone, 34 Illinois State Police squad cars have been struck, which is more than quadruple the number in all of 2018, Ambrose reported. Many of those crashes ended in fatalities.

It's not enough to urge people to ignore their cell phones or stop fiddling with the radio. When people get behind the wheel of a vehicle, they should remember they are driving a heavy piece of machinery that can easily hurt or maim. Driving safely and at appropriate speeds should consume all of our attention.

Some might not like the idea of cops disguising themselves like this, but we're OK with it, and we think Iowa should consider it, too. We believe it's a good idea to continue driving home the message that safety should be our top concern when we are behind the wheel.

Thumbs Up ... to the Quad-Cities Community Foundation and their allies for their efforts to raise money to help those who have been affected by the flooding that struck our community with such force this year.

The Quad Cities Disaster Recovery Fund supports organizations that are helping people in Scott and Rock Island counties, and "every dollar donated will be used for needs here in the Quad Cities area," organizers say. (Disclosure: the Times is one of several companies and groups supporting this effort.)

We have watched for weeks as flood fighters have pushed back the water and, where they couldn't, acted swiftly to try to contain the damage. But as we now watch the Mississippi River recede, all of us should be mindful that we are in the early stages of recovering from this disaster. A lot of work, and a lot of money, will be needed to restore our properties and our lives to where they were before this flood struck.

We applaud the efforts of those who are beginning to raise this money, we wish them much success and we look forward to the wise and efficient use of the funds.

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