THUMBS UP: A new public health and human services agreement to dissolve two agencies into one was reached earlier this week, as Lincoln Lyon Murray Pipestone Public Health and Lincoln Lyon Murray Human Services were melded into one coalition: the Southwest Health and Human Services. The coalition will still have separate boards, but their services will be combined. In an age where most state lawmakers are clamoring for health reform and the dissolution of duplicate services, this appears to be a step in the right direction.
Big weekend for the troops
THUMBS UP: Last weekend was an important one for area troops who returned to their hometowns earlier this spring after spending a year in Kuwait. National Guard soldiers from the 1st Battalion 151st Field Artillery went through the first of three integration processes Sunday with a nearly day-long workshop, a vital part of the transition process to help ease them back into their normal routines. The troops were also honored at a special welcome home ceremony later that day at the Marshall Middle School. Area National Guard troops were also on hand at the Lyon County Fairgrounds on Saturday, where Operation: Military Kids took place. Operation: Military Kids is a statewide program that puts the focus on the children of deployed soldiers.
Weather on our side
THUMBS UP: The weather so far this month has been nearly perfect for area farmers, although some of the more low-lying fields still have standing water in them from this weekend's rain. Overall, however, crop growth is a bit ahead of schedule from last year's estimates. No drought, no flooding. So far so good. There is a caveat, however: Minnesota weather, as we all know, can change in a heartbeat. But we can be thankful for how it's treated us so far.
THUMBS DOWN: The Brett Favre talk is starting to heat up like the weather once again. Our best advice: Do whatever you can to ignore it, because it's all talk and speculation. Besides, everyone knows the future Hall of Famer will be back in a Vikings' uniform this coming season. With $13 million waiting for him, the 41-year-old superstar be a fool not to return. Still, media will again be all over this non-story for the next three months, pounding out story after story about Favre mowing his lawn, playing catch with high schoolers and exchanging texts with Vikings coach Brad Childress. Even die-hard football fans got sick of all the non-news a year ago. Just so you know (in case you haven't heard yet) Favre's ankle surgery last month went well and, according to the Associated Press, he has a few more weeks of rehab before making his final decision on whether or not to return. More on that later, no doubt.
McCollum nonprofit bill
THUMBS UP: Minnesota Congresswoman Betty McCollum on Wednesday introduced a bill that aims to transform the way the federal government deals with the charitable nonprofit community in the United States. The government, Minnesota Council of Nonprofits executive director Jon Pratt said, has long ignored the nonprofit sector, which, he said, employs 10 percent of America's workforce. McCollum's legislation would provide a way for Minnesota to have access to nationwide data concerning economic performance to help nonprofits and policymakers establish better partnerships to serve area communities. Nonprofits play an important role in cities and towns everywhere and this bill could go a long way in bolstering the partnership between government and nonprofits to better deliver vital services, enhance accountability and, hopefully, save taxpayers money.