The Free Press, Mankato, MN

June 8, 2013

MSU baseball season inspired

The Mankato Free Press

---- — Thumbs up to the Minnesota State University baseball team for its dramatic and inspiring run to the Division II national championship game.

The team and the season were a real delight for fans and the university community. Pitcher Jason Hoppe’s NCAA record 55 1/3 scoreless innings was only icing on the cake. The team had 42 victories, including an 11-game post-season win streak. Several players and coaches won national awards including pitcher of the year for Harvey Martin, and coach of the year for Matt Magers.

This was the team’s third appearance in the World Series in four years, with a higher finish each year. Having finished runner up, their new goal is to bring back and national championship. We have confidence they will make another strong run next year.

Coaches, players, fans, students, parents and supporters have a reason to feel good about this team and their efforts for many years to come. The team had discipline, drive and sportmanship and a respect for each other and their coach.

It was an historic season that only added to the success of MSU’s football, basketball, hockey and various other varsity sports.

Sexual assault comment was awful

Thumbs down to U.S. Sen. Saxby Chambliss, R-Georgia, for his remarks that raging hormones are partly to blame for sexual assaults in the military.

Republican Rep. Mike Turner, co-chairman of the military sexual assault prevention caucus, stated criminals, not hormones, cause sexual assaults.

“Perpetuating this line of thinking does nothing to help change the culture of our military. We must be focused on combating this issue directly. The numbers speak for themselves,” the Ohio representative said.

IRS spending spree showed no respect

Thumbs down to IRS and its Congressional oversight committee for lavish conference spending during the economic downtown. A Treasury Department’s report uncovered that $50 million was spent to hold 220 conferences for employees between 2010 and 2012.

The conference spending included $4 million in 2010 in Anaheim, Calif., for which the agency did not negotiate lower room rates, even though that is standard government practice, according to a statement by the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee. Instead, some of the 2,600 attendees received benefits, including baseball tickets and stays in presidential suites that normally cost $1,500 to $3,500 per night.

In addition, 15 outside speakers were paid a total of $135,000 in fees, with one paid $17,000 to talk about “leadership through art,” the House committee said. Acting commissioner, Danny Werfel, stated “This conference is an unfortunate vestige from a prior era” and “many of the expenses associated with it were inappropriate and should not have occurred.”

While the IRS was egregious in its spending, one would also have to wonder what kind of oversight was being performed by the House oversight committee during this time.

PCA made the right ruling on composting

Thumbs up to the Minnesota Court of Appeals for clearing the way for the continued operation of a new food composting facility in Good Thunder.

Opponents of Full Circle Organics, which opened in February, argued the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency shouldn’t have granted permits for the facility without requiring a more lengthy and detailed environmental assessment.

The court ruled the state, including a MPCA citizens board, had properly vetted the project and said opponents environmental concerns were generalized and provided little material evidence to support their case.

It is understandable the some nearby residents would have concerns, but such composting facilities should be encouraged.

The facility takes organic food wastes, mostly from restaurants and institutional settings, mixes it with yard waste and wood chips then ferments it and turns it into a landscaping material and for use at organice farms.

That recycled food would have otherwise ended up in landfills. Some 33 million tons of food waste needlessly goes into landfills each year in the United States. Finding ways to reduce that waste through modern, well-run composting facilities benefits everyone.