EDITORIAL: Purple lanes will lead the way

·3 min read

May 6—Thumbs up to the Legislature's passage of a bill naming a stretch of state Highway 5 in honor of Prince.

A seven-mile length of the highway running past the music legend's Paisley Park compound in Chanhassen will soon get purple signs informing motorists, be they a "Lady Cab Driver" or behind the wheel of a "Little Red Corvette," that they are on the Prince Rogers Nelson Memorial Highway.

This is hardly a unique honor in Minnesota, which has named portions of several highways for politicians, authors and law enforcement officers.

Highway 14 west of Mankato, for example, bears the name of Laura Ingalls Wilder, who wrote the "Little House on the Prairie" books, and part of Highway 169 is named for John Johnson, the early 1900s governor from St. Peter. Highway 60 between Mankato and Windom honors long-time legislator George Mann.

Renaming roadways is hardly a pressing legislative issue, but Prince's honor is a worthwhile and fitting gesture for a native son who achieved so much and chose to maintain his connection to Minnesota.

Market time

Thumbs up to the start of the farmers market season.

We're fortunate to have two local markets that are open on different days — one in Mankato and another in upper North Mankato.

The long-running Mankato Farmers' Market is now open Saturdays at 8 a.m. at the Best Buy Parking lot. Starting in June, the market adds weekday markets on Tuesday and Thursday from 3-5:30 p.m.

Starting June 5, the North Mankato Farmers' Market is starting its seventh season, setting up at the South Central College parking lot on Mondays from 3-6 p.m.

Farmers markets are a benefit to everyone. They offer tasty, freshly picked fruits and vegetables that you buy straight from the growers.

High flying

Thumbs up to the Minnesota State University aviation team preparing for the Air Race Classic.

The competition is an all women's airplane race for all ages, from 17 to 90 years old. Sami Naples, Grace Ackerman, Madi Luebke and Ella Jones will compete as the Purple Tails in the collegiate division of the national race, doing MSU proud.

The team will cover 2,400 miles in the race, beginning in Grand Forks, North Dakota, and complete the race in Homestead, Florida.

Referred to as "the epicenter of women's racing," the competition has only been entered by MSU once before. The practice, planning and organizing that has to be done by the aviation students to participate in the event are demanding enough, and in June they will put all of that hard work to the test. (If people are interested in supporting the team, visit Gofund.me/8656b2a2.)

No matter where the team finishes, it's quite an accomplishment to be part of such a unique event.

Bison family grows

Thumbs up to the presence of the regal bison and their newborns and those who care for them at Minneopa State Park.

New calves were born this week and there could be up to 15 total newborns when the season is done. The presence of the bison herd at the park has been a significant tourist draw for the Mankato area ever since they arrived several years ago.

The herd has some of the purest genetics and several are being transferred to refuges around the state including in Rochester and Dakota County. The Department of Natural Resources works with the Bison Conservation Herd, which expands the herds around the state.

The building of the bison herd reminds visitors of what the American West once was with thousands roaming the plains. We should give thanks to those who have worked hard to rejuvenate the herds and offered the special places to experience them.