AUSTIN EDITION EDITORIAL BRIEFS COL Early Childhood University is worthwhile investment

Those involved in Austin's 150th anniversary legacy program have selected a worthy endeavor for special attention in the community.

Members of the sesquicentennial committee picked the Early Childhood University project to receive funding and other resources as the city heads into its next 150 years.

The project will involve several agencies working together to provide and enhance services for our most precious resource -- our kids.

The goal is to ensure that all children in the community get the educational and other resources they need to get off to a good start in life and eventually succeed.

Sesquicentennial Executive Director Kelly Mithuen summed it up well. "The children, of course, are our future," she said. "Strengthening them will benefit the community in years to come."



; DFL needs speech, not silence

The DFL Party has a mistaken belief that less political speech is better than more. It is a backward notion that rank-and-file DFLers should reject.

In fact, the opposite is true. When a person or, in this case, a political party disagrees with the facts or opinion of a political claim, the best answer is a better argument. More discussion is the answer to wrong ideas.

This past week, television advertisements that made dubious claims of successful U.S. efforts in Iraq were carried by stations across the state.

The segments feature military personnel implying that naysayers who suggest the Iraq war is not going well are unpatriotic and at the very least hurting the war effort.

The advertisements are wrong on many levels. First, the war is not going well. Second, dissenters who speak out are proving by their actions that they are engaged citizens.

Yet, instead of answering the ads with a better message, the DFL called on stations to pull the ads.


The DFL chose not to engage in the marketplace of ideas. Instead, it wanted to shut down political speech the party found unpleasant.

Rank-and-file DFLers should be upset with the party's decision-makers on this issue.


; Stan will be worth seeing

It was a major coup for the Quarry Hill Nature Center in Rochester to acquire the life-size replica of a tyrannosaurus rex dinosaur for educational display -- if only for a month or so. And parents and teachers should make an effort to have their kids see it.

The T-rex, nicknamed Stan, will be on display beginning Wednesday from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. weekdays and from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekends at the nature center, 701 Silver Creek Road Northeast.

Admission to see Stan, on loan from the Black Hills Institute of Geological Research in South Dakota, is $2 for adults and $1 for children. You'd pay at least triple that to see other T-rex replicas in science museums.

Scientists unearthed 70 percent of the real Stan's bones 14 years ago in South Dakota. A replica of his giant head has been on display since 1998, a gift from renowned South Dakota paleontologist Susan Hendrickson in memory of two Rochester children, Graham and Meredith Rooke, who were killed in a car accident.


The display of Stan is a way for kids -- and adults, for that matter -- to grasp the immensity of some of the prehistoric creatures that once roamed our environs. It's also a way to show off one of Rochester's educational gems, the nature center.

Stan will be on display until March 22.

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