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Short takes for Aug. 12

August 12, 2011
Marshall Independent

Nursing degree at SMSU

THUMBS UP: It would be a huge move for Southwest Minnesota State University to implement a nursing program within the next couple years. Being able to provide students with such a program where they could earn a bachelor of science nursing degree would go a long way to keeping them in Minnesota as opposed to watching them go west and cross the border to SDSU or hit the road east to Mankato. Students in the region can now enter programs to become licensed practical nurses or registered nurses at Ridgewater College in Willmar and Minnesota West Community and Technical College campuses but have no other options in the area to pursue a bachelors degree. If SMSU wants to boost enrollment, it needs to be aggressive in its pursuit of this degree. It would not only benefit the school, it would go a long way to keeping our brightest students in the area.

Losing the Silver Dollar

THUMBS DOWN: Southwest Minnesota is on the brink of losing an iconic business at the end of the month when the Silver Dollar Bar in Ghent closes its doors. The family-run Silver Dollar has been around since the early 1930s - quite an accomplishment for a business located in a small, rural town. The owners of the establishment have been trying to sell it for about a year but have had no takers, and it would be nice to see a group or individual step up and take over operations so this historic southwestern Minnesota treasure can stay open.

Gas prices

SIDEWAYS THUMBS: Yes, the cost of a gallon of gas is still pretty high compared to a year ago, but it looks as if its on another downward trend. Several of our readers have asked that we publish gas prices from around the area in our daily "Gas Tracker" on Page 2A. We tried that in the past but ran into some problems getting the information, and unless we're physically in a certain town it's difficult to report, especially when prices fluctuate often. We will, however, consider reporting on gas prices in area towns if you let us know what they are. If you are in another town and notice the price, email the editor at

Fall sports

THUMBS?UP: Yes, school begins - at least in some districts - in 10 days and that means the high school sports season is just around the corner, too. This year, the first game in the entire state will involve two teams from southwest Minnesota when Murray County Central takes on Luverne on Thursday. The rest of the teams open the season either Sept. 1 or 2.

NCLB waiver

THUMBS?UP: We hope the state of Minnesota is successful in its pursuit of a waiver to the overbearing and unfair federal No Child Left Behind law that labels schools as failures if they don't meet federal "adequate yearly progress" guidelines. Being freed from these testing shackles and potentially costly sanctions would give school districts the opportunity to pursue reform that could, for example, lead to improved teacher and administrative evaluations. Testing in 2009 resulted in 71 school districts in Minnesota facing corrective action because, according to federal standards, they failed to meet AYP requirements.



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