Short takes for Aug. 23

Bicycle map

THUMBS UP: For the first time in more than a decade, the Minnesota Department of Transportation has updated the state’s bicycle map, which only makes sense considering Minnesota is among the nation’s most bicycle-friendly states. The map, which is available in both paper and electronic formats, provides bicycle accommodations across the state and includes roadway details – shoulder width, pavement type, etc. – state and regional trails, historic sites and parks and safety tips. The electronic version of the map is available at and is compatible with smart phones. MnDOT says it features more detailed routes than the paper version and includes smaller and printable areas of the state. The online version will be updated twice a year.

No love for the football team

THUMBS DOWN: The Marshall community has a long history of supporting its university, but we were somewhat discouraged to see the lack of participation in Tuesday evening’s public autograph event featuring members of the Southwest Minnesota State University football team. It’s not likely you will see any of these student-athletes playing on Sundays in the future, so there wasn’t much of that “celebrity” draw that typically brings people out, but it would have been nice to see a little more community support for the football team. You can bet the players would’ve appreciated it. Perhaps you can make it up to them by attending a few home games this season. If anything, mark Sept. 7 and Oct. 5 on your calendar – those are the respective dates for the Ag Bowl and homecoming. It would be great to have a full house at the REC on those two days to show visiting schools how much this community, this region, supports its college athletes.

More on SMSU sports

THUMBS UP: While we’re on the subject, SMSU’s volleyball team, coming off a 30-win season, has developed into quite a powerhouse – with a conference championship in 2012 and nine straight NCAA Tournament appearances – and since southwest Minnesota is widely known across the state as a volleyball hotbed, it only makes sense for area residents to check out this year’s team from time to time. With a handful of players hailing from the region and a coaching staff made up almost entirely of native southwest Minnesotans, the team is not only dominant, it has a real home-grown feel to it.

Tax repeal needs to be part of special session

SIDEWAYS THUMBS: The good news is Gov. Mark Dayton has gone on record saying the warehousing tax and the farm equipment tax should be repealed. The bad news is that it likely won’t happen during the Sept. 9 special session. We like the idea of a special session to address disaster relief issues in Minnesota, but again strongly recommend the Legislature take up the tax issue as well. The 2014 session will be a short one, and since legislators will be dealing with bonding next year, taking care of any tax repeal before the session begins would better serve lawmakers – and residents of the state – in the long run.