The Free Press, Mankato, MN

December 8, 2012

Our View: Program helps teen parents help themselves

Free Press Staff Writer

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To the South Central Teen Parent Project and its focus on educating teen parents. The collaborative multi-county effort is using a state grant earmarked for population groups in need to serve dozens of teen moms, including 19 in the greater Mankato area.

The grant is funding a workshop series that tackles topics such as budgeting, family planning, healthy lifestyle, work-readiness skills and practical life skills, such as an understanding of basic car maintenance. Last week auto mechanic Terry Tacheny showed the teens how to check tire pressures, oil, fluids and to detect what engine belts sound like when they’re going bad.

And the project isn’t just about information. The key component of the teen mom project is its “single point of contact” adult mentoring model. That person-to-person communication is an important part of getting the teen parents on track to a stable life.

Remember Pearl Harbor

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To those Americans still living who remember Pearl Harbor and those still alive who served in World War II.

On Friday, the 71st anniversary of Japan’s attack on Pearl Harbor was commemorated by some, forgotten by others. Fewer Americans actually remember the event that catapulted the United States into World War II because there are few of those Americans still living. Also, events designed to observe the momentous occasion tend to get more interest on the anniversary years that end in zero. But whether it’s the 71st or not, Pearl Harbor remains one of the signature events in the history of our country; indeed, in the history of the modern world.

We hope you took a moment on Friday to consider how Pearl Harbor changed America and the world. Even 71 years after the fact, the world is largely what it is today because of what was touched off there.

Gustavus brings gem of historic Bible to campus

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To organizers of Christmas in Christ Chapel at Gustavus Adolphus College for adding copies of the historic St. John’s Bible to its display of fine arts to go with its Christmas in Christ Chapel celebration.

The university secured one of 299 copies of the original Bible with calfskin pages and glorious illustrations called “illuminations” from St. John’s Abbey in Collegeville. Readings during the performances where taken from the large Bible and illuminations were projected on screens.

The Bibles are works of art as replicas of an original which was the first handwritten Bible commissioned by the Benedictine monks more than 500  years ago.

By most accounts, the Bibles were works of art not to be missed. Their availability in a local event added to the Christmas spirit all around.

Democratic group biggest offender on “dark money”

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To secrecy. While a lot of bad press has gone to Karl Rove’s funding of some Republican initiatives in this last election, Mother Jones magazine found that the most secretive of  “dark-money” groups actually was one allied with the Democratic Party called Priorities USA.

The name sounds familiar because it is the sister group of the flagship pro-Obama super-PAC, Priorities USA Action. Created by former aides to President Obama, this group hides the identities of its donors which it legally can do just like the Sierra Club and the National Rifle Association. But we can find out about some groups because they reveal their finances.

Rove’s Crossroads GPS spent over $70 million, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce $33 million and Koch-backed Americans for Prosperity nearly $39 million. We know this because they said so in press releases. However, details surrounding Priorities USA, which Mother Jones says is one of the only purely political nonprofits on the Democrat side, are a mystery.

Multiple requests by the investigative-reporting magazine on how much was raised and spent were declined. According to the Los Angeles Times, Priorities raised $2.3 million in secret donations in 2011. But little else is known about this group. For a party that demands transparency of others, it would appear some sunshine is needed on its own groups.