Short takes for Feb. 7

Public notice bill


Obviously we’re not big fans of a bill that will be roaming the Capitol this session that could remove public notices from newspapers and their websites, but you shouldn’t be, either. The bill would allow cities and counties to publish public notices on their own websites instead of, or in addition to, an official newspaper. We’re all for having cities and counties post their notices on their websites as a companion to more traditional means – the newspaper – but limiting the publication of notices to just their own website, we feel, is bad policy. Government actions should stay in newspapers, not be buried on some website somewhere, especially considering many low-income and senior citizens don’t have access to the Internet or prefer not to use it. We want transparency in our local governments, and newspapers fit that bill better than websites any day. We all know what can happen when we rely on technology too much – just ask anyone trying to sign up for healthcare through MNsure – why risk having to deal with technical problems when searching for a public notice on a website? Why not keep it simple and continue publishing notices in newspapers as usual? As the Minnesota Newspaper Association says, newspaper publication of public notices prevents government from deciding when and how the notice is published and whether it is changed after publication, and public notices in newspapers are a checks and balance on potential government errors. This legislation is tantamount to a waste of time for our elected officials in this year’s abbreviated session.

Vogl to be a Mustang


We congratulate Marshall High School’s Megan Vogl, who signed a national letter of intent this week to continue her soccer career at home with Southwest Minnesota State University. It’s the next chapter in what is a really cool story – cool because there is no girls soccer program at MHS. Vogl was a three-year letterwinner and captain this past season on the boys soccer team. The Mustangs’ record-setting soccer program is on the rise, and it will be nice to see a familiar face on the pitch in 2014.