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A $184 million gift to baseball fans

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After seeing players like Torii Hunter and Johan Santana leave the Minnesota Twins for more lucrative deals with other teams in recent years, Twins' fans were praying the same wouldn't happen with Joe Mauer.

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Now, they won't have to worry. The team announced Sunday that the reigning American League Most Valuable Player had agreed to a $184 million, eight-year contract extension, the fourth richest deal in the majors. It was the best news fans could have received after also learning Sunday that star relief pitcher Joe Nathan would miss the upcoming season with a serious elbow injury.

It would have been all but impossible to complete a new Mauer deal without the revenue-producing Target Field, which opens in mere days, on the horizon. But keeping the star catcher and three-time league batting champion in the Twin Cities was -- as perhaps the team's braintrust realized -- far more important than just economics.

Mauer, besides his stature as an elite player, is a hometown hero who was drafted by the Twins in 2001 out of Cretin-Derham-Hall High School. He is an outstanding role model and citizens, by nearly all accounts, on and off the field. In short, he is a fan favorite, and his departure to another team would have had a significantly negative ripple effect on attendance and overall team interest.

We're thrilled No. 7 will be entertaining us for years to come right where he belongs -- in Minnesota. -- Worthington Daily Globe

High-speed Internet access is key to rural Minn. success

It is becoming increasingly apparent that access to affordable Internet broadband is becoming the issue of the 21st century just as bringing electricity to all American homes was the issue of the early 20th century

The "Connecting America: The National Broadband Plan" issued by the Federal Communications Commission makes numerous recommendations, notably the goal of connecting 100 million households to affordable 100-megabits-per-second service, building the world's largest market of high-speed broadband users and ensuring that new jobs and businesses are created in America.

Expanding broadband across the nation will build a foundation of sustained economic growth and the widely shared prosperity we all seek," President Barack Obama said about the report.

We are fortunate in our region to have broadband access through a number of outlets, but especially our local carriers as they reaches out to connect the remote areas of our region to high-speed Internet.

Our region is a leader in Minnesota, and our lakes and pines locale make it a huge attraction for high-paying telecommuting jobs.

We need to see that experience spread across Minnesota and America.

-- Park Rapids Enterprise

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