Keeping Agronomy program
THUMBS?UP: The Agronomy program at Southwest Minnesota State University has been taken off life support and is no longer among the proposed cuts at the university. While the program is still small comparatively speaking, it has grown during its three-year existence - there are now 13 declared agronomy majors - and the potential is there for even more growth. We hope this program flourishes in the future, but for that to happen, SMSU needs to provide it with as many resources as possible and really reach out to area ag industries and promote it. Dissolving the program might very well have sent current ag students heading to South Dakota to further their education. The Agronomy program is the only one of its kind in the MnSCU system and university officials were wise to decide to keep it.
No e-cigs in Park & Rec buildings
THUMBS UP: Good move by the New Ulm Park and Recreation Commission approving a motion banning the use of electronic cigarettes in Park and Rec buildings there. The concerns are the image that allowing people to use e-cigarettes will portray and the implied impression that smoking is allowed in the buildings. While e-cigarettes are advertised as a safe alternative to smoking, the Food and Drug Administration has yet to even complete testing on the devices. The City of Marshall prohibits smoking at all the parks in town but has no policy on e-cigarettes. Safe or not, all cities should adopt policies restricting e-cigarettes and any smokeless tobacco products inside public buildings. It simply sends the right message.
Twins now cable-exclusive
THUMBS DOWN: The Twins have joined a number of Major League baseball teams that will no longer offer their games on regular broadcast TV by signing a cable deal with Fox Sports North. What does that mean for you? Well, if you don't have cable, or if the satellite package you subscribe to is limited to basic channels, you will only be able to watch eight games this year - the ones that will be shown nationally on the FOX?network. In other words, you would need to upgrade and it would cost you more to watch your Twins. WFTC aired 25 games last season.
Budget bill fallout
THUMBS DOWN: It didn't take long for party politics to take over at the Capitol, did it? Republicans have spent the last few days bashing DFL Gov. Mark Dayton and his proposed budget fix which includes an increase in taxes to the state's wealthiest. The GOP says the plan would be a huge blow to the state's business climate and could eventually push large businesses out of the state and possibly force small businesses to close their doors because they can't afford the tax bump. We hope the GOP-controlled Legislature and the Democratic governor will soon find some middle ground on the budget bill, but as it stands now, they're not even close.