The Free Press, Mankato, MN


January 4, 2014

Closing schools keeps kids warm, safe

Thumbs up to the governor for closing public schools Monday.

Gov. Mark Dayton decided Friday morning to close schools Monday because of the dangerous weather forecasted. Temperatures are to dip into the double digits below zero statewide and with windchills, the “real feel” will be even more bitterly cold.

Exposing children to these dangerous conditions is a risk that shouldn’t be taken and the governor’s action is warranted. The entire state will be in the deep freeze Monday and knowing in advance that schools are closed will help parents make plans. Already on Thursday, Rochester schools had decided to cancel classes Monday when the high temperature there is to be 15 below zero.

Instead of each school district wrestling with what to do on Sunday night — even if the forecast is off by 10 degrees, conditions will still be brutal — parents and students can now plan accordingly.

Minnesota governors don’t in general take their power to close the state’s schools lightly. The last time it was done was in 1996. We may be hearty Minnesotans, but we are also smart and know safety of all of the state’s school children is paramount.

Nicollet residents show engagement on Highway 14

Thumbs up to Nicollet residents for quickly and decisively voicing their displeasure about an intersection plan proposed by the Minnesota Department of Transportation.

Highway 14 will be updated to a four-lane from North Mankato to just past Nicollet, including a southern bypass of Nicollet. But instead of building a full interchange at Nicollet, MnDOT is proposing an intersection that would have vehicles turn right onto 14, then move over to make a U-turn to go the other direction on 14.

With a busy Highway 111 intersecting with 14, such a plan makes no sense. It would create unsafe conditions as slow-moving semis go onto 14 and then merge over to make a U-turn.

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