Big day in New Ulm
THUMBS UP: Today is a day 150 years in the making for New Ulm (or 125, depending on whether you're celebrating the New Ulm Battery or the Hermann Monument's Cornerstone). Today is the double anniversary celebration for the New Ulm Battery, New Ulm's Department of Defense for the past 150 years, and the 125th anniversary of the setting of the cornerstone for the Hermann Monument. It took another 10 years or so to get the big guy completed, so we can look forward to another celebration in 2023.
A grand celebration is set for Hermann Heights and Harman Park today, with cannons firing (plug your ears, folks!), bands playing, tours of the Hermann Monument, and a grand fireworks display. If you saw the fireworks for the Hermann Victory celebration in 2009, you know this will be a great show.
New Ulm does know how to throw a party, and we hope everyone has a good time.
THUMBS UP: Gov. Mark Dayton has come up with an interesting theme for the upcoming legislative session. This is the non-budget year session when state legislators work on a bonding bill, throw a few insults at each other and go home.
Dayton would like to make this the "Unsession," a session in which legislators would comb through existing state law and eliminate any laws, rules and regulations that are excessive or redundant, that are outdated, that make life more difficult and that make no sense.
The governor has been collecting suggestions from public employees, and is now looking for suggestons from the public. A website, unsessionsuggestion.ideascale.com/, has been set up where people can look over other suggestions and add their own two cents' worth.
We are the ones, after all, who have to live with the decisions made at the Capitol. If the state reforms education standards, our kids have to meet them. If the state sets rules for cities or counties, we have to abide by them, whether they make sense here or not. We pay the extra fees and taxes, and we should have a say in whether the money is being wisely used.
So if you have run up against a state law or regulation that makes no sense or makes life more difficult, you can let the governor know about it. Maybe, just maybe, something will be done about it.
E-cigarette use among teens
THUMBS DOWN: The U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention reported this week that e-cigarette use is rising among high school and even middle school students. This is a kind of troubling trend. The CDC?worries that kids who start sucking on these cigarette-like sticks that send water vapor and nicotine into your lungs instead of the tar and carcinogens of regular smokes will wind up smoking real cigarettes before long.
Smoking prevention programs don't like the idea that kids are being taught that smoking is somehow cool and sophisticated.
There are still a lot of unknowns about the health impact of e-cigarettes, or how well they work as smoking cessation tools. It is also not known whether e-cigarettes are a "gateway" to tobacco use.
It is, we think, something parents should be concerned about.