Attention given to 23/7
THUMBS UP: It might not be the ultimate solution, but it's a start. The University of Minnesota's safety study at the troublesome Minnesota Highway 23/Lyon County Road 7 intersection shows that rural Minnesota infrastructure is getting the attention it needs. Maybe the fact that the intersection has been deemed so dangerous will ignite some immediacy when it comes to the state throwing some transportation money our way when the time comes. The ultimate goal is for an interchange at the intersection, and while that might still be a few years off, at least the intersection is getting the attention it deserves. It might be a small step, but it's a step nonetheless for one of the most dangerous rural intersections in the state.
Higher education cuts
THUMBS DOWN: Southwest Minnesota State University President Dr. David Danahar was pretty candid Tuesday when unveiling the school's proposed cuts for fiscal year 2011-12 and 2012-13. Calling it his "most troublesome presentation" he's ever given, Danahar outlined the proposed budget cuts that, at a minimum, would be in the $1.7 million range (it could go as high as $2.8 million). Schools like SMSU can't go to the state for help either with a $6.2 billion deficit looming. Big-time budget problems not only lead to a loss of programs and services, but faculty members end up paying the ultimate price when they're told their contracts aren't being renewed.
A 2nd snow day in the Cities
THUMBS UP: The Minneapolis and St. Paul public school districts made the right decision to cancel classes for a second straight day Tuesday as the both cities continued cleaning up and digging out from the weekend snowstorm - one of the worst in the history of the state. However, St. Paul Mayor Chris Coleman disagreed with the decision and said he personally toured the city and found the majority of streets had been cleared. He said a second day off put an undue burden on parents and families. But what the mayor needs to remember is the number of special needs children who aren't able to get around that easily under the best of circumstances. And what if a bus got stuck making a turn? Then the kids are left at the bus stop longer in frigid weather. Cold and dark is a bad combination. There's nothing wrong with erring on the side of caution when it comes to the safety of our students.
Busted bell ringer
THUMBS DOWN: We've all heard of stupid criminals, but what about heartless, soulless petty thieves? Here's one: A Salvation Army bell ringer was caught recently using a tweezers to pull money out of the red kettle he was ringing at. It happened at a Cub Foods in Eagan and it was caught on video. The person was busted taking $40. While $40 doesn't seem like a tremendous amount of money, considering the Salvation Army, as a whole, is reportedly behind in fundraising this year while the demand for its monies is up everywhere, there is no such thing as a small amount of money.
The Bank is open
THUMBS UP: The University of Minnesota did the right thing when it agreed to host Monday night's NFL game between the Vikings and Bears. The details that needed addressing - some minor, most major - would've been enough to make most institutions cringe. For starters, the 'U' had shut down TCF?Bank Stadium for the winter, much like people who own cabins shut their shacks at the lake down for the winter, only on a much, much larger scale. Will it be perfect come game time? Probably not, but it was the only way the Vikings could actually host their final home game of the season. The 'U' is also doing itself a big favor. By rolling out its frozen carpet in front of a national TV?audience - everyone watches Monday Night Football - it can show off its pride and joy to the nation, including, maybe, some high school blue-chippers who will for the first time see what a top-notch facility it is. The stadium is a major recruiting tool, and the University and the Gophers football team could use all the positive press they can get their paws on.