The Free Press, Mankato, MN

February 22, 2014

Our View: Winter whining justified

The Mankato Free Press

---- — Thumbs down to winter.

Not winter in general, just this unrelenting, depressing, brutal one.

To date, Mankatoans have seen below-zero temperatures on 38 days since the start of December, compared to just 14 times all of last winter.

The coldest temperature in the previous two winters in Mankato was -9 degrees each year.

Mankato has dropped to double-digits below zero 16 times so far this winter. There was the alluring warm-up earlier this week, seducing us with thoughts of spring — only to body slam us with a late-week blizzard.

Yes, we all like the idea of being Minnesotans, wearing our badges of winter with honor.

But come on, we’re not enjoying this at all.

There, we feel better.

Wheels generosity supports family

Thumbs up to Jerry’s Body Shop and the Minnesota Valley Action Council for its annual effort to get a fixed-up vehicle into the hands of someone who needs their own transportation.

This year the donation, thanks also to Progressive Insurance for the vehicle and Enterprise Rental for $300 in gas, went to Douglas Foster and Sallie Beltz of New Ulm and their 20-month-old son.

Anyone who lives in rural Minnesota in the winter knows how important it is to have a vehicle to get around. Thanks to the vehicle donation, the parents can get to work, childhood classes and the grocery store without walking a long distance in extreme weather, asking for rides or relying on limited public transportation.

MVAC has run the Wheel Get There program for the past 10 years in which people can donate their cars, and MVAC fixes them up and sells them at a bargain price to low-income individuals and families.

About six years ago, along came Jerry’s Body Shop, which wanted to help that program along. After coming up with a nomination system to find a deserving family, the annual donation was born.

One of the pluses of the program is the pleasure of watching the people receiving their fixed-up car and driving away.

The Wheel Get There program takes vehicle donations anytime of year and is low on donations right now. Contact MVAC’s Dan Jones at 345-6822 if you are interested in making someone’s life a bit easier.

Be proud of Oshie’s hockey success

A shout out to T.J. Oshie, the Minnesota standout from Warroad and NHL star, who almost single-handedly beat the Russian Olympic hockey team in an overtime shootout to help the U.S. qualify for the medal round.

Oshie, though a native of Washington state, probably caught on to the Minnesota values of humility in his high school years and is not likely to take all the credit for the win. He recently told US Weekly: “It’s a little much, to be honest.

I tend to fly under the radar a little bit so to have all this press around me is pretty crazy and surreal.”

But his prowess in the shootout — beating the Russian goalie four of six times — made many a Minnesotan proud of the reasonable hunch that he learned those moves hanging with the rink rats, evenings and weekends during those long Minnesota winters.

Editorial Board