The Free Press, Mankato, MN

March 29, 2013

Our View: Nicollet County gains Smithsonian

The Free Press

Thumbs up

To the Nicollet County Historical Society and students and faculty at Gustavus Adolphus College for getting their exhibit in the Smithsonian.

The two joined forces last year to create a 12-panel exhibit called "Commemorating Controversy: The Dakota-U.S. War of 1862." Now they've learned it will be displayed by the Smithsonian Institution in New York and Washington, D.C., next year and into 2015.

It's a significant accomplishment, but fitting that an exhibit from Southern Minnesota be used to help explain the tragic war that resulted in the execution of 38 Dakota and left scars that remain today.

The exhibit avoids taking a point of view, instead laying out a brief history of what led up to the six-week war, how it unfolded and reconciliation efforts since.

St. Peter should be proud.

Event offered a helping hand

Thumbs up

To Minnesota Valley Action Council, Greater Mankato Area United Way, Partners for Affordable Housing and others who helped organize the third annual Community Connect event to help people who are homeless or have other problems find services they need.

Some 800 folks showed up in need of services and they were able to get referrals for housing, fill out job applications and just get a good meal.

Local hair stylists donated more than 75 free haircuts, and others offered free cell phones.

This kind of outreach is some of the most important work government and the nonprofit sector can do. It gets people in touch with services that can help them help themselves. It supports families and the needy.

Pedaling Past Poverty raised nearly $69K

Thumbs up

To the organizers and participants in the the inaugural Pedaling Past Poverty event that raised about $69,000 for the Theresa House and Welcome Inn transitional housing for the homeless.

Partners for Affordable Housing, which operates Theresa House and the Welcome Inn, organized the fundraiser that raised money through pledges of those riding stationary bicycles for several miles. Minnesota State University and South Central College allowed use of their bikes, and the YMCA offered space in its third floor studio.

The hauling of the bikes was a donated service as was the food for the riding teams. The School Sisters of Notre Dame and their staff participated in the event and raised $22,000 of the total on their own.

Some 38 bicyclists participated.

By all accounts, the fundraiser looked to be a success on many fronts and offered needed funding for the important services of Theresa House and the Welcome Inn.

Dying at home on the rise

Thumbs up

To, uh, dying at home.

OK, it may be tough to give a thumbs-up about death, but we all do care about how and where we will someday die.

Most people would rather die at home than in a hospital or nursing home.    

A Centers for Disease Control and Prevention study shows more people are getting their wish.

The research shows hospital deaths accounted for 29 percent of U.S. deaths in 2010, down from more than 32 percent in 2000.

Reports indicate deaths in the home grew from 23 percent to 27 percent.

The growing availability of hospice care, where people can more comfortably spend their final time at home, is the likely factor.