Short Takes for March 8

Some pub for Casey Jones

THUMBS UP: “You can’t miss the railroad roots of the Casey Jones Trail any more than you can miss the behemoth steam engine that sits idle at the End-O-Line Railroad Park and Museum, just off the trail’s Currie Loop.” This is an excerpt from a piece on the trail by the publication Minnesota Conservation Volunteer. It’s a segment of a story on bike trails in Minnesota. It’s nice to see a local gem highlighted by a statewide magazine. Although the trail is completed (it’s currently 21 miles out of a planned 100), it’s definitely worth a visit once the snow melts. In the meantime, find yourself a copy of the magazine and check it out (there are a few cool, vibrant photos, too).

Ascher reception

THUMBS UP: Make sure to set aside a little time Thursday evening to wish Ruth Ascher well in her retirement. Ascher has been running the United Way of Southwest Minnesota for a decade and is stepping down from her post as executive director. The United Way has a strong brand to be sure, and everybody knows how much good it does for families and children in area counties, but every successful organization needs a driving force behind it. Ascher surely has been that. Her reception is from 4-6:30 p.m. at the Marshall-Lyon County Library.

Health insurance exchange

SIDEWAYS THUMBS: We’re reserving our opinion for now on Minnesota’s pending health insurance exchange program – an online marketplace for Minnesotans to acquire coverage. It’s gone through the House and Senate, and the differences will be debated on in conference committee. One thing we all must realize and accept is this won’t be a perfect plan – there will be certain aspects that don’t sit well with many people, including Republicans in St. Paul, who worry about the proposed provider tax and not having representatives from the medical and insurance field sitting on the governor-appointed agency overseeing the exchange. The issue has already gone partisan, so stay tuned for plenty of debate in the coming days and weeks.