Thumbs Up/Down

Fort Ridgely Golf

THUMBS DOWN: We share the concern of the Friends of Fort Ridgely who learned this week that the Department of Natural Resources is planning on closing the Fort Ridgely Golf Course.

The Fort Ridgely nine-hole course is unique among Minnesota’s state parks. It gives the park the special distinction as “the only state park where you can shoot an eagle.”

The Friends of Fort Ridgely, in a letter to the editor this week, posted their concerns about the closing. They make some valid points. The state in recent years spent a lot of money to fix up the course and install new greens. It seems a shame to shut it down now.

Perhaps the park is a well-kept secret that is a little too well kept. Perhaps the state is not making a lot from greens fees. Perhaps it does lack the expertise in running a golf course.

Well, perhaps the state should contract out the management of the course or sell it to someone who knows how to do the job and promote the course. Maybe they could host special fundraising tournament (they may be the only gof course in the state that doesn’t, if they don’t). Maybe they could consider raising their fees from $9 for nine holes, or $14 per day. Most golfers are used to paying much more than that.

One this is sure. If the state shuts down the course, it is unlikely to reopen. We’d like to see the state make an effort to make this work.

Jobless bill passes

THUMBS DOWN: One of the problems with the Minnesota Legislature, it has been said, is that Republicans and Democrats can’t even agree on what they agree on. That was evident last year when the two parties couldn’t come up with a bill to address Minnesota’s growing transportation needs, even though everyone agreed before the session that it had to be done.

This year the Legislature spent three weeks arguing over a bill everyone agreed should be passed right away, the extension of jobless benefits to out of work miners on the Iron Range who had been laid off after the U.S. steel market was flooded with low cost foreign steel. Republicans had been insisting that the bill include a tax break for businesses that contribute to the state unemployment insurance trust fund. After nearly three weeks of deadlock, the Senate passed both measures as separate bills, and the House passed them too, sending them to Gov. Mark Dayton for his immediate signature.

If legislators can stretch out non-controversial issues like this, heaven help us all on issues where they have a real difference of opinion.

No lead in water

THUMBS UP: It is good to hear from the New Ulm Public Utilities that the problems that plagued the Flint, Mich. water supply aren’t happening here, and are unlikely to happen.

Flint’s problems began when the city had to start taking water from a local river instead of from the City of Detroit. The chenistry of the local water caused lead to leach out of old pipes and fittings, slowly poisoning those who drank it.

Minnesota laws won’t allow a city to change its water supply without state approval. New Ulm also adds phosphate to the water to prevent pipe corrosion and the kind of leaching that troubled Flint.

The PUC guarantees lead free water up to your home.