Thumbs Up/Down

Great gift for district

THUMBS UP: There are a lot of concerns and questions, as one would expect, about the District 88 school building tax referendum. Is this necessary? Is it affordable? Is it in the best interest of the district and the community?

People will answer these questions with their votes on Aug. 12, but one New Ulm couple has given a strong indication of their confidence in the project. The couple, who wishes to remain anonymous, has pledged a gift of $1 million to supplement the construction of fine arts facility, if the referendum passes. The money would be used to add to the facilities, to provide additional amenities and fixtures that would ensure it is a first class, comfortable, usable space for school and community functions.

This is an extremely generous gift, and a great vote of confidence in the project. We hope voters will join this couple in supporting the district’s building plans with their votes on Aug. 12.

Taking the pop out of the popcorn wagon

THUMBS DOWN: It seems like a silly, nitpicky kind of thing to do, but the U.S. Department of Agriculture has put a hold on the Brown County Historical Society’s historic popcorn wagon. The USDA won’t issue a license for the wagon to operate until it has a sink.

We realize health standards have changed over the past 100 years, especially in the food service industry, and we have no interest in eating food prepared or served by someone with dirty hands, but in the interest of historic preservation, couldn’t the USDA come up with some alternative to installing a sink in the popcorn wagon? Hand sanitizers or alcohol hand wipes could be as effective in protecting the public’s health, couldn’t they?

Pastoral center

THUMBS UP: The Catholic Diocese of New Ulm dedicated its new Pastoral Center on Friday. It is a beautirful building, designed on the outside to fit in with New Ulm’s German style of architecture, and designed on the inside to meet the needs of the the diocese and the staff who serve it.

The building was paid for with private donations by parishioners, and local parishes benefitted as well, since $5 million of the funds raised went back to parishes for their own needs, like new roofs, or heating and air conditioning systems and other types of maintenance projects that often tax parish bugets.

The new center should serve the diocese for many decades to come.