Thumbs Up/Down

Service to Ag

THUMBS UP: The New Ulm Farm-City Hub Club has picked its Service to Agriculture award winner, Joe Maidl.

Maidl, of Lafayette, will be honored at the Hub Club’s annual banquet and meeting on Jan. 16 at the New Ulm Country Club.

Maidl’s service has been a long, steady stream of giving his time and energy to the club since the late 1990s. As a leader and a volunteer, he has made his presence felt, always ready to do the work needed.

Congratulations to Maidl, and we hope there is a good turnout for his banquet on Jan. 16.

Gophers protest

THUMBS DOWN: What a mess the University of Minnesota football program has become! With the suspension of 10 players, four of whom had been cleared by police for an alleged sexual assault, the U’s president and athletic director have so incensed the football team that they are refusing to participate in any football activities.

This week the school’s  Office of Equal Opportunity and Affirmative Action recommended suspending those four players and six others, saying they violated school conduct standards. Certainly the conduct described in the assault complaints should be considered reprehensible, and not in keeping with the standards of the community and the U of M.

But somehow, in the act of imposing the suspensions, the U’s officials did not consider the impact on the rest of the team and their sense of fairness. They are boycotting, with the apparent support of their coach who sent a message stating his pride in his team.

So, does the administration back down and show itself more concerned with football than its own standards? Or does Coach Tracy Claeys start rebuilding his team from scratch, if he even chooses to hang around. Does he leave, or do U President Eric Kaler and AD Mark Coyle leave?

It doesn’t look like a situation with room for any winners.

Driving exercise

THUMBS UP: It was an interesting exercise in the effects of impaired driving at the New Ulm High School on Thursday, The school’s Health teacher, the police liaisson officer and the National Guard combined to show students how texting while driving and drinking while driving can affect their ability to operate a vehicle safely.

It’s a good lesson that every student should have, and probably a lot of adults as well.