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Pioneer Editorial: Cheers and Jeers

Cheer: Celebrating our state flower

The showy lady slippers are in bloom along North Country roadsides. The pink-and-white blossoms are rare and exotic flowers. A new festival sponsored by the Lady Slipper Scenic Byway Committee celebrates the beauty of the area and the start of summer with the Lady Slipper Festival last Saturday in Blackduck and Friday and Saturday, July 1 and 2, in Cass Lake. Highlighting the rich environment, culture, history and arts is a good reason to hold festivals.

Cheer: City Park a gem

Folks have been enjoying the new City Park for some time now, but the actual ribbon cutting Friday signaled the reopening of the play space featuring a skateboard course and disc golf, as well as innovative landscaping and other facilities. The project also has earned recognition from the Minnesota Recreation and Park Association with an award of excellence.

Cheer: Youth Build

Youth Build members from around northern Minnesota gathered last week to work on the conversion of the old Red Lake Seven Clans Casino to a new Senior Center. Youth Build offers young people the opportunity to graduate from high school while learning employment skills and earning scholarships and credits toward post-high school education.

Jeer: A bad trend

As university budgets take a beating across the country, agricultural schools and extension programs are feeling the impact. Large-scale layoffs have been threatened at some agricultural colleges, and 4-H youth programs are facing the ax because federal and state funding are on the chopping block. At a time when farmers are being asked to grow more for food and fuel to meet soaring world demand, these trends are very bad news. Ag schools lead the research into new crops, such as Minnesota's famous Honeycrisp apple and the grains that fueled the green revolution. These facilities need the utmost support.

Cheer: Fishing fun

For 21 years, Fishing Has No Boundaries has given people with disabilities the opportunity to spend time on Lake Bemidji and catch fish. Organizers say participants look forward all year to the weekend on the water. The Bemidji Fire Department treats the anglers to a fish fry, Subway provides lunch and the Bemidji Lions Club serves a pancake feed. It's a good time for all.