The Free Press, Mankato, MN


April 27, 2013

Ojanpa: When good money goes awry


But when the money runs out, the affected federal agency is served notice that it’s time to close the account.

But this, apparently, isn’t as easy as it sounds because it involves, like, paperwork and stuff. So those empty accounts just sit there, with the only money they’re involved with being the fees it costs for them to remain actively, uh, inactive.

The government says it continues to whittle away at closing these accounts. Meantime, I guess we should look on the bright side: Even more of those empty accounts cost us $2.1 million last year.

And now we come to those quasi-bulletproofed Cold Spring Schools.

Last week the public school district there showed off its bulletproof whiteboards that are designed to deter gun-wielding maniacs.

The school bought 170 of these 18-by-20-inch handheld boards at $300 each. A private business paid for half and the school district paid for the rest when a building project came in under budget.

The isn’t so much a tale of “leftover” public money spent imprudently as it is a story of wrongheadedness wrought by fear and frustration over school shootings.

In 2003 a gunman killed two students on Cold Spring school grounds, so Rocori’s vigilance about school safety is omnipresent.

But safety and one puny 18-by-20 board per classroom are not one and the same, no matter how revved up Cold Spring Police Chief Phil Jones is about it.

“This is the best development in school safety I’ve ever seen in my life,” he said.

In other words, the only way to stop a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a ... whiteboard.


Brian Ojanpa is a Free Press staff writer. Call him at 344-6316 or email


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