The Free Press
Thumbs up: To the federal government for getting out of the wolf-protection business and allowing Minnesota and other states to manage the majestic predators.
Federal protection of wolves was necessary when they were pushed to near extinction in the early 1970s. Since then the numbers have grown fivefold to more than 6,000 over 10 of the lower 48 states.
That recovery has brought a new reality, particularly in Minnesota, which has the largest number of wolves — about 3,000. Wolves have increasingly turned to killing cattle, dogs and other livestock as their numbers grow.
The Minnesota DNR will now oversee management of wolves, making it easier to kill wolves that prey on livestock and eventually creating a hunting and trapping season. Many wildlife biologists believe Minnesota’s current wolf population is about double the ideal sustainable size.
The rebound of the wolf, like that of the bald eagle, is one of the great wildlife success stories. No one wants to see wolf numbers fall too low.
But managing the number of wolves is necessary and reasonable.
To the Grinch who stole dinner
Thumbs down: To the thief who decided to prey on the most vulnerable this holiday season. About 1,500 pounds of food were taken from a food shelf in north Minneapolis last week.
Police say a volunteer who was supposed to transport the food from outside the city to the food shelf drove away with it instead.
The saving grace of all this is that Minnesotans responded with an outpouring of generosity, flooding the shelf with donations so that the Christmastime giveaway could proceed as planned.
The donations were plentiful, providing much more than the $300 worth of food stolen. So even more people can be helped.
That’s a true holiday blessing.
Good news on the farm front
Thumbs up: To good economic news, wherever we may find it. While a general recovery for the nation is slow, the Midwest farm economy is still going strong. The price of farmland remains high. Grain and livestock prices remain strong, and all the predictors point to record farm income for this year.
This is good news for farm machinery makers. Shipments of farm equipment are 20 percent ahead of last year, which leads to expansion — and more jobs.
Those of us living in rural Minnesota can be grateful that the good farm economy lifts all of our boats to a certain degree.
Teachers touched a life
Thumbs up: I would like to give a very big thumbs-up to the fifth grade teaching team at Monroe Elementary: Mr. Miller, Mrs. Matzke and Mrs. Mehlhaff.
Two years ago, our daughter entered fifth grade with almost no friends, labeled troublesome by past teachers and all-around discouraged and ambivalent toward returning to a school. From the first, Mr. Miller showed us he actually cared about this child. He made it clear that while academics were important, so was her self-esteem and self-worth. He told us that his goal for our daughter wasn’t that she would constantly behave, not that she would ace every test, but that she would have what is so important to a child that age. She would have friends.
We gradually saw changes in our daughter.
Mr. Miller, Mrs. Matzke and Mrs. Mehlhaff, thank you for helping our girl. I have no doubt it is because of the way the three of you work as a true team, and your commitment to making every child matter, that helped turn things around. Our daughter is no longer the shy, lonely girl. She is now in seventh grade in a new district. She was on the volleyball team and in the school’s knowledge bowl group.
The words I say here can’t possibly be enough to show how much that one year meant to our whole family.
Alyssa Davis and family