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THUMBS UP: We think the organizers of the Christkindlmarkt at the New Ulm Event Center were pleasantly surprised and maybe even a bit overwhelmed by the turnout they had last weekend. Over 4,000 people came to the Event Center over two days to shop for unusual gifts and sample some German holiday traditions.

We know that has to have some economic impact, not only for this past weekend, but in future goodwill. We think some people who haven’t been to New Ulm before will be back.

Congratulations and well done.

First is the worst

THUMBS DOWN: Why does it seem the first big snowfall of the season is the worst? We’ll tell you why: It’s because it never just snows. The first snow usually comes after a relatively warm spell. The snow is preceded by some rain and freezing drizzle that forms a nice layer of slush underneath the snow, once the snow finally starts. Then when it really gets cold, the slush turns hard as concrete, and it’s impossible to get a plow or a shovel under it.

All we can say is drive carefully, don’t strain your back or your heart shoveling, and don’t worry, this will all be gone in about six months.

Set priorities first

THUMBS UP:The news that Minnesota is facing a possible billion-dollar budget surplus has folks on both sides of the state spending debate salivating. Some will want to rachet up spending, while others will want to slash taxes.

We say you can’t make major decisions on the basis of one financial forecast. Let’s wait and see if this surplus does materialize. Then let’s set priorities for what the state really needs to be spending, and adjust the tax rates to supply the needed funds. We could use some stability in our state finance system.

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