The Free Press, Mankato, MN


June 28, 2013

Bowman helped United Way grow

Thumbs up to Laura Bowman, president of the Mankato Area United Way, for her past work and her new position as head of the Olmsted County United Way in Rochester.

Since Bowman took over the Mankato United Way in 2006, the Cleveland native helped develop, grow and professionalize the important organization that funds so many worthy causes.

She helped lead aggressive and successful funding campaigns even through the recession, helped develop new leaders in the organization and launched a variety of new initiatives.

While we're sorry to see her leave, we wish her luck in her new challenge at a larger United Way in the state.

Healthier foods in schools make sense

Thumbs up to the U.S. Agriculture Department for initiating rules that for the first time will make sure that all foods sold in the nation's 10,000 schools are healthier.

The rules will ensure that high-calorie sports drinks, candy bars and other junk food will be removed from school vending machines and cafeteria lines. In their place will be granola bars, diet drinks and other healthy items like low-fat hamburgers and healthier pizzas.

Many schools, including locally, have worked to limit or remove soda pop and other empty-calorie snacks out of vending machines and cafeterias, but many schools around the country have not. Some schools have felt pressure to include junk food because of financial incentives from companies that make candy and pop.

There have been legitimate concerns about the government legislating things like the size of soft drinks that can be sold to adults by private restaurants. But certainly there can be agreement that starting school kids off right by limiting junk food and offering good and healthy alternatives in public schools is a legitimate role for government.

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