No news is good news, they say. And in the news business, good news too often is NOT news, or sensational enough to display prominently. But one distinctive cover page of the Star Tribune’s metro section earlier this month provided a refreshing exception. The story at the top of the page revealed how nursing homes in the Ecumen chain are improving the quality of their residents’ lives by replacing sedative drugs with massage, music, games, aromatherapy, and other alternatives for pain and anxiety control, in a very encouraging project mostly funded by a state government grant. Another article on the page and a large photo described how the Burnsville Police Department is using body cameras instead of more expensive dashboard cameras, to more quickly settle claims of excessive force and other disputes. And a third article on the page explained how the city of North St. Paul was planning to save money and improve services by turning its recreational programs over to the neighboring city of Maplewood. Our new governor and our new Legislature will be leaving no stones unturned in their search for better ways for our governments to do things and to save money. It’s important to be aware that Minnesota already is blessed with a culture of good government, conscientious public employees and leaders, and a tradition of innovation in the public sector. Mostly unheralded efforts like the above are occurring every day across the state. All of us, as the actual bosses of our governments, need to be part of this. You can add your two cents by contributing your thoughts to the Common Cents project , sponsored by the Citizens League and the Bush Foundation. Check out their website for an interesting and robust discussion of the further things Minnesota can do with long-term care, with technology improvements and with consolidation and collaboration between governments.