Real farm bill needed
THUMBS DOWN: House Republicans may consider it a victory that the House passed a stripped down version of the U.S. Farm Bill, one that separates the Food Stamp program out of the legislation. But the chances of this version of the Farm Bill getting through the House/Senate Conference Committee seems very slim. The Democratic-controlled Senate is sure to insist on the inclusion of the Food Stamp program. A compromise version that includes the Food Stamp program is unlikely to get past the House.
So farmers are back where they started the growing season, with no idea what is going to happen to the programs they relied on before.
We are not averse to the idea of dividing the Farm Bill as Republicans want to do, but more practically, we want a farm bill that will be able to pass through both houses of Congress and get signed, to give farmers some guidance in their farming decisions.
THUMBS UP: We're happy to see the August Schell Brewing Co. is back on track with its expansion plans. The expansion will add a new building, which looks a lot like the old buildings (nice touch), for a new yeast propagation system, water tanks and "breight beer" holding tanks. The second part of the project, which would have cut into the surrounding hillside to create more space for brewing tanks had to be changed because of excessive cost.
Schell's has been asserting itself in the state beer market with its quality brews and its old-style tourist touch. We wish the Martis well in this expansion.
To bee or not to bee
THUMBS UP: We appreciate the tolerant attitude the City of New Ulm had toward a swarm of bees that made a short stay downtown this week. On Tuesday, a swarm of bees landed in a tree on Minnesota Street, right in front of Frandsen Bank. No one panicked. The city put some barriers around the tree to warn people off, and by the next day the bees were gone, off to a new hive location.
Contrast that with the City of St. Paul, where officials felt the need to do something about it when a swarm of bees landed in town, at a busy downtown intersection across from the St. Paul City Hall. Police called the fire department, which sprayed fire retardent foam on the bees, killing thousands of them.
We prefer New Ulm's reaction.
THUMBS UP: We must give a Thumbs Up and a thank you to the Minnesota man who invented the game Twister. Charles "Chuck" Foley, who died July 1 in St. Louis Park, created the game that calls for you to put your right hand on blue, your left foot on yellow, etc, until participants fall to to the ground in a laughing heap.
Foley developed the game in the mid-1960s, and it took off in living rooms all over the country. Kids liked it, and so did older folks who enjoyed the coed contact it provides. It is a game where the play is more important and more fun than the winning, and it was an iconic game that won a spot in at least two major motion pictures. Thanks for the laughs, Mr. Foley.