THUMBS UP: Every year student exchange programs looking for host families tout the benefits of hosting an exchange student. Among the benefits are the life-long friendships that can be made.
That is evident this weekend as the New Ulm High School Class of 1961 celebrates its 50th class reunion. It will be joined by two students from Ulm and Neu Ulm, Germany, who spent the school year with them here.
Claudia Mller-Konrad and Susanne Zoller-Nauen have traveled to New Ulm this week to rejoin their classmates and renew the friendships they made 50 years ago. We wish them and their classmates a happy reunion.
Back in business
THUMBS UP: We are happy to see the empty Budget Mart store, which was taken by the county for unpaid taxes, was sold at a sheriff's auction to someone who is planning to reopen it as a convenience store/gas station. It has been a sad-looking spot on Broadway for too long.
The City of New Ulm had a chance to acquire it to convert to a parking lot. We are glad the city council passed it up. We need more businesses running in town.
State bond rating
THUMBS DOWN: Standard & Poor's downgraded Minnesota's state bond rating from AAA to AA+ on Friday. It was the last of the three major credit rating services to give the state an AAA rating.
This should be a wake-up call to our governor and our legislators. S&P cited the state's reliance on one-time measures to balance the state's budget, instead of finding addressing the recurring instability.
We doubt the state's leaders are listening, however. Gov. Mark Dayton issued a statement blaming Republicans for not raising the needed revenue. Republicans responded that the governor wouldn't need to raise the revenues if we cut spending the way they want. In other words, they carried on the same argument that led to our government shutdow in July.
It will take time to put the state back on a solid financial footing as it is. The longer the parties bicker, the longer it will take.
THUMBS UP: Congratulations to the New Ulm Medical Center, which has earned national recognition from the The Joint Commission for its quality measures on pneumonia and surgical care.
The hospital staff had to meet some stringent requirements in regard to its performance and procedures. The recognition is a tribute to the organization's willingness to meet these standards.