The Free Press, Mankato, MN

December 21, 2013

Nicollet needs interchange

The Mankato Free Press

---- — Thumbs down to the idea of anything but a full interchange at Highways 14 and 111 in Nicollet.

MnDOT officials met with Nicollet residents this week to begin discussing a new four-lane, Highway 14 bypass that would run just south of the current alignment.

MnDOT’s initial option for the intersection leans toward one that would prevent Highway 11 traffic from making left turns across Highway 14. Instead, motorists would turn right, go down Highway 14 a bit and use a dedicated lane to do a U-turn back onto 14 in the other direction.

We understand MnDOT is working with limited budgets and the plan adds safety to the intersection. But a full interchange at the intersection makes sense. Highway 111 carries considerable truck and other traffic going on or off Highway 14.

We were glad to see MnDOT officials stress that they do want to work with Nicollet to try to develop a plan all can agree to.

Code talker’s honor well deserved

Thumbs up to a Minnesota man for finally honoring a man who guarded the knowledge of his unique communication skills used in service to his country. Lex Porter, a late member of the Fond du Lac band of Ojibwe, was recently given a posthumous Medal of Honor for being a code talker during World War II.

As a code talker, Porter and others transmitted coded messages in tribal dialects to keep enemies from deciphering messages. Although the secretive program was declassified in 1968, Porter never broke the vow of silence he took entering into the program. His family didn’t learn of his involvement in the program until the military decided to honor Porter and others who served as code talkers.

Considering that Native Americans weren’t yet considered U.S. citizens during World War II, Porter’s service to his country deserves much attention and gratitude.

Congress makes the grade on budget

Thumbs up to Democrat and Republicans in the U.S. House and Senate for finally realizing compromise is what the people want and it’s the right way to operate in divided government.

The House passed a compromise budget last week and the Senate voted this week to approve the measure that avoids a government shutdown and reduces some of the automatic cuts to our national defense.

Our national politics has been held hostage by interest groups and their money for too long. Leaders in the House GOP, particularly Rep. Paul Ryan and Speaker John Boehner, deserve some credit for standing up to those interests and acting in the interest of all Americans.

Keep it up.

The Editorial Board

Arts supporters are appreciated

The first weekend of this month a group of 48 talented, professional regional artists filled the Verizon Wireless Center for the 11th Annual GSR Fine Art Festival.

We wish to thank the people of the Mankato/St. Peter area who braved the frosty wintery weather to travel downtown in support of the arts. An event such as this is only possible as a result of the efforts of many people. We wish to thank our energetic volunteers and are grateful to the Verizon Wireless Center staff and local businesses for their support.

Wonderful performances by our local singers and musicians helped create a rich and vibrant atmosphere. Finally we are also extremely grateful to the participating artists that provided such an amazing and diverse visual experience for all who attended.

Patty Conlin

Sacha Van de Zande

Tom Bliese

Directors GSR Fine Art Festival