A busy campus
THUMBS?UP: Southwest Minnesota State University has more going on on campus this weekend than some campuses do in an entire semester. For sports fans, there's a soccer game, a volleyball match and a 2-0 football team that will take the field. Hungry? SMSU's Smokefest is also this weekend, featuring some of the best grillers in the Upper Midwest. Grilling isn't something to do on the deck to these boys, it's an art. There's also a women's health expo and 5k walk/run and a street dance. Like marching band music? The annual Pursuit of Excellence festival will take place at the original Mattke Field on Saturday. Pursuit brings in some of the best high school marching bands in the country and is worth checking out - not just for the music, but the overall presentation these bands offer. Hopefully the weather will cooperate. By the way, it's also parents' weekend at SMSU. So if you notice a little more traffic around Marshall this weekend, you'll know why. The potential downside is the question of how smoothly that traffic will be able to flow with all the road construction still going on.
THUMBS?DOWN: Minnesota physicians are concerned about GOP gubernatorial candidate Tom Emmer's proposal to cut Minnesota's health care safety net by an additional $2.25 billion, the Minnesota Medical Association said Wednesday. The MMA said nearly 75 percent of state Medicaid spending is spent on services for people with disabilities and the elderly and that state spending on health care is being driven by increased enrollment in state programs (particularly in the economic downturn), an aging population, and increased use of the health care system. The proposal, the MMA says, means something will have to give - the state would have to either cover fewer Minnesotans or fewer services or lower payment rates for care. The problem is, cutting people off the state's balance sheet will not eliminate the cost of treatment -it just means someone else will have to pay for it.
What will September rain mean for farmers?
THUMBS?DOWN: From most accounts, this growing season has been a good one for Minnesota farmers. With the exception of some hail early on that did some damage to a few fields around Marshall, this summer's weather provided an ample amount of rain and good growing temperatures. However, there is some concern about the approaching harvest season, considering all the rain that has fallen in the last couple of weeks, including Wednesday. Some two inches of rain has fallen this week on top of already saturated, muddy fields, and farmers aren't looking forward to a repeat of last year when late-season rain pushed the harvest season back. Let's hope things dry out considerably during the next couple of weeks.
Same old Twins -?good thing, too
THUMBS?UP: The Twins are in the midst of winning their sixth America League Central title this decade and, once again, are doing it with a strong second half. They have the league's best record since the All-Star Break and have all but wrapped up another division championship. We know what lies ahead (likely another first-round meeting with the Evil Empire known as the New York Yankees) but let's enjoy the run for now. It's debatable which pro sports team is the most popular in Minnesota right now. The Vikings just started, and even though they fell in their season opener, there is that Vikings buzz in the air, not because of Brett Favre, but because Minnesotans simply love their Vikings. Love probably isn'ta strong enough word. But as for now, this is the Twins' time. No team in baseball is playing better right now and despite playing another September sans one of their best hitters, this team has managed to pull away from the pack in their division. The Twins give everyone something to look forward to six days a week - from college students in their 20s who gather to watch, to seniors in retirement homes and assisted living facilities who tune in on TV or radio every single day to follow their team. Hopefully this year the Twins can get past that first round and make it a memorable fall in Minnesota.