Medicaid expansion denied
THUMBS DOWN: The health care overhaul requires all states to offer Medicaid coverage to low-income adults starting in 2014, and Minnesota is one of many states that was eligible for early expansion of Medicaid health coverage for poor adults. Yet, Gov. Tim Pawlenty, facing a state law that required him to make a call on the issue, decided against signing up. He said the expansion would cost the state $430 million over three years. The decision is just one more issue this administration is pushing off until the future, much like the budget deficit Minnesota is facing that the state "solved" by delaying payments to schools. That problem wasn't fixed as much as it was passed on to the next governor and the next session. Four of the five major candidates running to replace Pawlenty said they will opt for the expansion in January.
Minneota High School's loss
THUMBS DOWN: Minneota High School is losing a long-time educator, mentor and coach as Jim Rolbiecki is retiring after 35 years at the school. The thumbs down is because Rolbiecki is the kind of educator you just don't replace, a real asset to the school he served for so long. Rolbiecki taught history and criminal law at Minneota and was the school's athletic director. He also was an assistant coach to Gerhard Meidt when the football team built a mini-dynasty in the late 1980s, winning back-to-back-to-back Class C championships. Rolbiecki touched many young lives at Minneota - on and off the field, inside and outside of the classroom - and will be sorely missed by the school.
THUMBS UP: It's good to know the city of Marshall is in good financial shape. So says the 2009 audit that found Marshall's net assets increased and its debt decreased in 2009. Marshall also underspent its 2009 budget by $500,000, the audit said, and will have reserves equalling 75 percent of next year's budget.
Condoms in grade school
THUMBS DOWN: Cape Cod Elementary School recently approved a policy that allows elementary school students to receive free condoms without even having to tell their parents. Not only is grade school not the place to be giving out condoms, not being required to involve kids' parents is further overstepping the boundaries. It's an absolutely absurd policy and will hopefully be a wake-up call for parents to talk to their kids about sex, even though that talk might come sooner than they had hoped. Access to condoms should be age-appropriate and handing them out to 9- and 10-year olds is flat out frightening. Massachusetts' Democratic governor objects to the policy and has registered his complaint to the school super, who said she will revise the policy because of the recent publicity.