Don’t let a smaller surplus dictate spending decisions

An updated economic forecast for the State of Minnesota late last week indicated, as expected, that the state's projected surplus had dipped, from around $1.5 billion to $1 billion. But with that news was an indication that the state's economy is still relatively strong. Predictably, the reaction was greeted with calls for new Gov. Tim Walz to slash his spending proposals because it's now clear the state doesn't have the available money it once did. The media played right along, with headlines referring to "battle lines drawn" in the upcoming "budget fight." We're still in pretty good shape, everyone, and we can still afford to invest some needed dollars in some much-needed Minnesota projects and initiatives.

Check out Women’s History Month events at UMC

UMN Crookston is going above and beyond for March’s Women’s History Month, theme “Visionary Women: Champions of Peace & Nonviolence”, with events every week. The celebration kicks off Monday, March 4 with the book club debut of “Girl, Wash Your Face!” in the International Lounge. Then, on Friday, March 8, in the Prairie Room, they’ll discuss starting a UMC Lean-In-Circle where women talk openly about their ambitions. On March 12, in the Prairie Room, the 3rd Annual “Honoring Our Own” reception will honor UMC faculty member Sharon Stewart and staff member Krista Proulx, with speaker Polk County Judge Tamara Yon. On March 26, in the library, there will be a discussion about the book “Girl, Wash Your Face!”. On March 27, in Dowell 208, there’s a webinar called “Mentoring Women of Color.” On March 28, in Bede Ballroom, the movie “On the Basis of Sex” will be shown. Plus, throughout the month, there will be a “Women in Athletics” display in Lysaker Gymnasium and the bookstore display will showcase the theme. There’s plenty to attend, so mark your calendars for your favorites.

Stop making the ‘tired’ excuse for professional athletes

Ok, we get it. Athletes work hard and they get tired. But when the Minnesota Wild defeated the Calgary Flames in Calgary at around 12:20 a.m. Sunday and had to fly back to St. Paul for a 6:30 p.m. puck drop that same evening against the rested Nashville Predators in a nationally televised game, the loss was basically conceded before the opening faceoff because the Wild players would be exhausted. It's all Coach Bruce Boudreau talked about after the win in Calgary. It's all the Minnesota media covering the team talked about. It's all the NBC Sports Network analysts talked about leading up to puck drop Sunday evening. Again, we get it. But these are handsomely paid athletes who have the best accommodations, and get the best food and physical therapy and massages at every turn. Wild players knew heading into Sunday's game that everyone was already making an excuse for them to lose. But, wouldn’t you know it, they played hard and led until the Predators tied it in the closing minutes of the third period. Yes, the Wild came up short in the shootout, but they gained a valuable point.

Welcoming more evening natural light, warmer   temperatures, but you can keep the snow

Maybe this past weekend was Old Man Winter's last stand, at least when it comes to frigid temperatures. We're supposed to flirt with 30 degrees later this week, but, of course, with the warm-up snow is also in the forecast, even measurable snow. It's also a big weekend for lovers of natural light because Daylight Savings Time kicks in. We'll lose an hour of sleep and things will be a bit dark in the mornings when we're getting ready for work and school, but the payoff is more light in the evenings, which is certainly welcome.

Keep up with Rydell and Glacial Ridge National Wildlife Refuges through their “Friends” Facebook page

The Rydell and Glacial Ridge National Wildlife Refuges Facebook page was permanently closed Friday, March 1 after it was announced that the Department of Interior was “taking a new direction” to communicate with the public. They had 2,578 dedicated followers and typically posted daily with wildlife sightings, news and photos. Dozens of people commented on the social media change with some saying it felt like “censorship” and that they hope a “more logical communications policy” would be reinstated in the near future. Rydell and Glacial announced that their “Friends of Rydell and Glacial Ridge Refuges” page would remain open for information to be posted there, but after taking a look, posts are only made approximately once a month. Let’s hope they can move their followers to the Friends page and keep people “in the know” about the refuges.