Boys State coming back
THUMBS UP: During a visit to Marshall this summer, Minnesota Secretary of State Mark Ritchie told the Independent it would be a shame if Southwest Minnesota State University didn't get Boys State back when its five-year contract ended. It wasn't a slight to other universities around the state, but Ritchie had nothing but good things to say about SMSU and hoped it would return. As it turns out, SMSU has put on a good enough show each year for the last five years that it was awarded another five-year contract to host Boys State. The week-long event brings in about 400 high school students each year and exposes those students to the campus and all it has to offer. What a recruiting tool.
THUMBS UP: We applaud residents who live in school districts where referenda were passed this year. In Minneota, where the school board was asking for an increase in existing referendum revenue authorization from $126.30 per pupil to $700 per pupil, 52 percent supported it. It was the first time in a decade the referendum went up. In the Lakeview School District, voters passed a referendum that would increase per pupil funding by about $300 to a total of $800 per student for a term of seven years. A total of 468 votes were cast in favor of the referendum, 212 against it. The Murray County Central School District also passed a referendum increasing funding per student, with 873 votes for the referendum to 371 votes against. It will replace MCC's current referendum of $831.76 and $450 per pupil with a new, 10-year referendum of $1,281.76 per pupil. Times are tight for all families, so it's especially refreshing to see citizens still more than willing to support their schools.
Leave child tax credit alone
THUMBS?DOWN: President Barack Obama's deficit commission has come out with a skeleton form of its plan to help curb the national debt to the tune of about $4 trillion in the next 10 years. Part of the plan is to eliminate the child tax credit. Hopefully, that's one part that won't be on the final cut list. Taking away the child tax credit is a direct hit to all parents - from the rich to those struggling to put food on the table. Two words to the deficit commission when it comes to the child tax credit: Hands off.
When words are not enough
THUMBS UP: Smoking is about to get a lot less fun. The feds plan on putting graphic warning labels on each pack of cigarettes sold in the U.S. as part of a campaign by the Food and Drug Administration and the Department of Health and Human Services. The FDA?commissioner calls them "gruesome" pictures. Words alone - such as "cigarettes cause cancer"?- just aren't cutting it enough as tobacco use is still blamed for about 450,000 deaths per year. These images probably won't cause all smokers to give up the habit, but they could go a long way in preventing teens from starting it.