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PUC eases pain

Thumbs Up: February utility bills are going to be painful to look at this month. The massive cold spell that struck much of the country created a huge demand for natural gas, and that translates to huge prices for natural gas. We’re all going to be paying much more in February than in January.

But for customers of New Ulm Public Utilities, things could be worse. The New Ulm Public Utilities Commission on Friday voted a $2.6 million buydown of the gas bill increases. It won’t cover all of the increase utility customers will be facing, but it will ease the pain somewhat. The table on the front page of today’s paper shows that.

In addition, customers will be able to spread out the payments for the increase over five months, which will make it easier to bear.

This natural gas increase hit utilities all over the country like a tsunami. New Ulm Public Utilities, at least, is taking steps to keep it from washing us all away.

Try, try again

Thumbs Up: The New Ulm Baseball Association Board of Directors has decided to make a bid for hosting the Minnesota Amateur Baseball Association state tournament in 2023. We hope this year’s experience will not be a barrier to a successful bid.

New Ulm, we all remember, had been picked to host the 2021 state tournament, and was well on its way to having a successful event. But COVID-19 happened, and as local cases started to rise as the tournament approached, the New Ulm City Council, at the urging of local health professionals, decided the city’s ballparks should not be used to host it. The games were played elsewhere.

We don’t know if that will affect MABA’s decision makers when they see another New Ulm bid. We hope they will remember that this has been a truly unusual year — even the Minnesota State Fair was canceled — and give New Ulm another opportunity.

Dr. Seuss here to stay

Thumbs Down: This week Dr. Seuss Enterprises, the organization responsible for running the late, great children’s author’s estate, decided to pull six of his books from publication because they “portray people in ways that are hurtful and wrong.” And as a result, Dr. Seuss’ books have shot to the top of the best seller lists.

Dr. Seuss’ books have delighted and inspired children, and the parents who read to them, since “To Think That I Saw It On Mulberry Street” was published in 1937.

A minor character portrayed as racial stereotype in that book is one reason that book has been pulled, along with five others.

But Dr. Seuss will not be going away. His delightful poetry and sublimely ridiculous characters will be part of our culture long after the cancel culturists have passed.

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