Short takes for Oct. 4

Driving restrictions make a difference

THUMBS UP: It appears that new restrictions on teen driver’s licenses have made a positive effect. Five years ago, the state Legislature imposed restrictions that prohibit teens from driving between midnight and 5 a.m. for their first six months and limit the number of teenage passengers they can have in the car. These new laws have led to a sharp decrease in teen fatalities and injuries. That being said, it’s still important for parents to keep open the conversation with their teen drivers about safe and defensive driving.

Two sheets better than one

SIDEWAYS THUMBS: We’ve known for some time that the regional amateur sports complex in Marshall will be built – with or without help from the state – and we hope it proves to be a boon to the city by eventually becoming a destination for major hockey tournaments. What concerns us is what happens if the city is denied bonding dollars in 2014. The plan is for two sheets of ice, but that is contingent on getting $4.8 million from the state. If the complex is denied that long-sought after funding, we’re looking at one sheet of ice, which Marshall already has, and if the city wants to realize its goal of attracting big-time hockey tournaments in the future, one sheet of ice might not cut it, no matter how grand of a facility it turns out to be. Project supporters deserve credit for working to sell the complex to legislators in St. Paul, putting it in prime position to receive state funding next year, but having their foot in the bonding door doesn’t guarantee entry – state funding for smaller cities has proven hard to come by, and it would be a shame if the city had to settle for anything less than its original vision. The city of Marshall has proven it can host big tournaments in just about every other sport; it’s good at it, but if it doesn’t get that second rink at the sports complex, plans to land major, multi-day hockey tournaments could melt away.

Deer in the headlights

THUMBS DOWN: The Minnesota Department of Public Safety said this week that seven people have been killed in deer-motorcycle crashes in 2013 – that matches the total number of fatal deer-motorcycle accidents in all of 2008. And the most dangerous months are ahead – more than one-third of all deer-vehicle crashes have taken place in October and November during the last three years. There’s already a lot going on on our roads at this time of the year with farmers heading to and from the field, so it’s time to slow down a bit and really keep your eyes open.