THUMBS DOWN: Schools around the country are considering closing their doors and teachers are being laid off as severe funding issues continue to plague our education system. And southwest Minnesota is not immune to the problems, as the Canby School Board recently voted to reduce staff size by three positions. At the high school, counselor Theresa Hunt and special education teacher Becky Todd were placed on unrequested leave. Also, provisional kindergarten teacher Judy Berckes was put on unrequested leave. School board member Kari Harding said she was "heartbroken" over the moves and that the school district would "consider throwing them to the curb." The last thing schools want to do is lay off its teachers and cut meaningful programs, because in both instances, the students end up paying the price, but it's happening. In Tyler, the Russell-Tyler-Ruthton School Board voted not to renew seven positions for next year, including four RTI positions funded through grants. Those positions could be reinstated if grant money is available next year. It's certainly not a fun time to be a school board member. As one school board member in Canby put it, cutting jobs "doesn't make you a hero on Main Street, but it's what we were elected to do."
Drinking at TCF
THUMBS DOWN: A bill that would allow the sale of alcohol to fans in premium seats only at TCF Bank Stadium has been OKd by the state Senate. The Senate rejected an amendment that would have made booze available throughout the stadium. As we've thumbed before in this space, if one fan can do something, others should be able to as well. Talk about opening up Pandora's liquor cabinet. Some opposing senators said allowing stadium-wide liquor sales would create safety problems. Others agree with us on a different scale: Why exclude the majority and create an elitist society at Gopher games? Solution I: Let everyone enjoy a beer or two or more and cut sales off when the third quarter ends. Solution II: Don't let anyone drink. Alcohol is allowed at Southwest Minnesota State University but only in suites, and those are leased out. The lessee must purchase the proper insurance that covers themselves as well as SMSU. Lessees who choose to consume alcohol at football games work with SMSU officials on the delivery schedule, and all alcohol must be taken off campus following each game when the suites are cleared. Perhaps the 'U' should follow that lead instead of creating its own hangover.
THUMBS UP: Marshall Area Transit is in the midst of a trial run that has two buses running the same route around Marshall, with one essentially backtracking and heading back in the opposite direction to lessen to amount of time riders spend on buses everyday. As part of the new "blue route" there are also eight transfer stops where the new blue bus can receive passengers waiting to return to their original destination. The free trial run goes through April 30 when it will be evaluated. The additional route is a big step in the right direction for public transportation within city limits.