March madness, Mustang style
THUMBS UP: It would be too much of a stretch to call the Southwest Minnesota State University men's basketball team a perennial power, but once again, they're showing they can be a force to be reckoned with when the regular season wraps up. It seems more often than not when the calendar switches over to March, the Mustangs flip a switch and turn things up a notch. Such is the case this year, as the Mustangs are in the midst of yet another March run. After winning the school's first NSIC Tournament championship last weekend, the Mustangs open play in the Central Region tournament Saturday against Minnesota State-Moorhead, the very team they beat Sunday to win the conference tournament title. SMSU will be looking for its third trip (2001, '09) to the Division II Elite Eight Championship in 12 years. The Mustangs are somewhere between powerhouse and Cinderella; magic seems to follow them everywhere at this time of the year, and we wish them the best of luck this weekend.
Losing our leaders
THUMBS DOWN: On Wednesday, the very day Sen. Gary Kubly of Granite Falls was laid to rest, another popular rural politician, former Sen. Gary DeCramer, died. Although DeCramer, who used to live in Ghent, has been out of the political spotlight for some time now, there's no question he, like Kubly, was an outspoken voice for rural Minnesota during his decade's worth of work at the state Capitol. Wednesday truly was a sad day for rural Minnesota. Kubly and DeCramer were not only good politicians who looked out for their rural constituents, they were both good, hard-working men with real values and a commitment to doing what's best for the districts they served. They will be missed.
King of the mat
THUMBS UP: Congratulations to Minneota wrestler Josh VanOverbeke, who on Saturday claimed the Class A championship at 220 pounds. Hats off as well to the six other area wrestlers who earned runner-up honors and to all the wrestlers who capped their seasons off with a trip to St. Paul.
Paying more to hunt and fish
THUMBS UP: We fully support the DNR in its pursuit to raise hunting and fishing fees in Minnesota. Remember, these are user fees we're talking about, not taxes; only those who hunt and fish will be paying more. These are fees that should've been raised a long time ago. General hunting and fishing license fees haven't increased since 2001 - the longest stretch without a fee increase in more than four decades. And with the DNR's Fish and Game fund on the brink of going into the red, it's time for the fees to go up. If the Legislature doesn't approve the bump in fees, there will be across-the-board cuts that will affect every region of the state - cuts that might not be noticeable now, but in time, certainly will be. Giving the DNR the go-ahead to raise these fees should be the biggest no-brainer for our elected officials this session.