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A raft of honors

THUMBS UP: It seems the students in New Ulm schools are doing all right for themselves when it comes to academic competitions.

Last weekend we reported on the Minnesota Valley Lutheran Knowledge Bowl teams taking first, second and third in the Tomahawk Conference meet at St. Paul’s Lutheran Church in New Ulm. The same day, the New Ulm High School Knowledge Bowl teams swept the top three spots in the Mankato area Knowledge Bowl meet. On Saturday, the New Ulm Area Catholic Schools junior high robotics team placed fourth in the qualifying round of the state Robotics competition in St. Cloud and earned an invitation to the VEX World Tournament in Louisville, Ky., in April. And on Monday, the St. Paul’s Elementary School Mathletes team placed first in the Traverse Des Sioux Regional Chapter Meet in Mankato, and earned the right to compete in the state tournament.

That’s quite a string of success. Congratulations to all the academic competitors out there.

Short shutdown

THUMBS DOWN: You didn’t notice it, but the federal government shut down for a few hours Thursday night when Congress couldn’t pass a spending bill by midnight. But by dawn on Friday a two-year spending bill was passed, and went to President Trump, who quickly signed it.

It was the second shutdown in a matter of weeks, but Congress, thankfully, has finally settled the long-term government funding issue for a couple of years. The odd thing about this spending bill is that it was opposed by the tea party branch of the Republican caucus and the ultra-liberals among the Democrats. The tea partiers don’t like the big increase in spending, and the liberals don’t like the fact that they couldn’t force an immigration plan to protect the Dreamers into the bill.

But that issue is next on the Congress’ agenda. We imagine it will be settled.

Fasching

THUMBS UP: It’s time for some midwinter fun this weekend with Fasching. The German version of Mardi Gras is a tradition that goes back hundreds of years, with an emphasis on fun and frivolity and a touch of disrespect for authority.

That’s one of the reasons costumes and masks are a big part of Fasching. If you are poking fun at your city’s government, a little anonymity is a good thing.

It is also one of the reasons the Narren, New Ulm’s troupe of masked dancers, kick things off by capturing the mayor, dressing him up in rags and parading him through town – all in good fun.

We hope fun rules for all during the Fasching celebration today.

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