Short takes for July 26

Money for the mural

SIDEWAYS THUMBS: We’re excited about the third and final mural that will be constructed in downtown Marshall next year – one, because it will add a nice, aesthetic touch to downtown, and two, because of its creator, well-known artist Terrence Fogarty, a graduate of Southwest State University (now SMSU) who knows his way around a canvas and is tuned in to the city and its history as well. But we’re not sold on the idea of committing to the mural $20,000 of taxpayer money – money that will be funneled from the 1.5 percent city tax implemented this year to pay for the new regional amateur sports center. It’s one thing to be optimistic about the prospects of getting state bonding dollars in 2014 – which would make that $20,000 pill much easier to swallow – but despite being the Minnesota Amateur Sports Commission’s No. 1 priority heading into the 2014 legislative session, city leaders and sports complex backers know all too well there is no guarantee long-sought after bonding will come. We know the project will move forward whether the state chips in or not, but committing a significant amount of taxpayer money to something that wouldn’t make or break the sports complex project, we believe, has a cart-before-the-horse feel to it.

Stuff the Bus

THUMBS UP: United Way of Southwest Minnesota’s annual Stuff the Bus event took place this week and brought in plenty of school supplies that will surely be put to good use this upcoming school year. Programs like Stuff the Bus are vital for families in area communities and should not be taken for granted. If you’re in a position to make donations to these kind of causes, we encourage you to do so.

Make an example out of Braun

THUMBS DOWN: Major League Baseball suspended disgraced Milwaukee slugger Ryan Braun for the remainder of the season for using performance-enhancing drugs. That’s not enough, we say. Braun, who was busted some time ago but lied about it and publicly blamed others for the pickle he was in, shouldn’t be allowed to play again – not just this year, but ever. Besides his paycheck, what will Braun miss by not being allowed to play again this season? He’s already made a fortune off baseball (and the Brewers will still owe him $113 million after this year), his team is not going to the playoffs and he’s not chasing any records. If anything, this is nothing more than an early vacation. Only his image will take a hit, and next year, he’ll be back on the field to resume playing out his massive contract. It’s time for MLB to pull the life-time ban card to send a clear, fist-slamming message to all of baseball that any use of banned substances will not be tolerated and the consequences of use will be severe. Braun is not the first pro ballplayer to cheat and lie about it, which tells us he won’t be the last, unless MLB does something drastic now – like kicking him out of the league for good. MLB vilified Pete Rose to the extreme for betting on baseball, and we think cheaters like Braun deserve a similar fate.