Short takes for Jan. 25

Smokes going up?

THUMBS UP: There are holes in Gov. Mark Dayton’s budget proposal to be sure, but we like the cigarette tax and hope it flies. While there are a number of people out there who are not thrilled with paying more for their smokes, the potential benefits that come with a higher cost on cigarettes are, in the long-term, more important. One, it might be that final push a smoker needs to finally give up the nasty habit and get on a path toward a healthier life. Two, it has the potential to keep kids from becoming smoking addicts. No, there’s no guarantee to either scenario, but it could help. The increase would raise the price of cigarettes by $.94 – we hope that’s enough to make you call it quits.


THUMBS UP: We’re pleased to see Marshall Public Schools signing on for another three years of flexible learning year. Marshall is one of 25 school districts in the FLY consortium and voted Tuesday to stay in the program that put area kids in school earlier than others – the main sticking point among opponents of the plan. FLY hasn’t been perfect – and Marshall Schools Superintendent Klint Willert has admitted as much – but the prevailing opinion is it’s good for the students in more ways than one. Of course, the ultimate goal is to bring up students’ high-stakes test scores. Time will tell if that goal is attained, but it already looks like there has been some improvement in that area.