It’s not fashionable to like newspapers anymore, but Baird Helgeson’s John Reinan’s tweet today is a solid reminder of the daily miracle that happens each day, and ghosts of the past that give a newspaper its life.

The Star Tribune is leaving its old building, and before leaving, reporter Randy Furst wrote the names of people who once worked there on a pillar.

Others wrote their own names.

Of particular note is that someone also wrote and circled the name of Larry Oakes, the fine reporter from the North Country who took his own life two years ago, and deserves to be remembered in the newsrooms in which he toiled.

Institutional memory is one of the most underappreciated values of newsrooms.

Related: Photos: Star Tribune staff says goodbye to old building (MPR News).

In Wichita, Michael Kelley, who has Down Syndrome and autism, plays on a school’s special needs basketball team.

His mom bought the young man a varsity letter jacket like other kids wear.

The principal made him remove it.

“Another parent, from what I am told, was upset that my son was wearing his letter jacket,” Jolinda Kelley tells KSN TV.

“It’s not just my son. It’s every student that was out there last night. It’s every student that’s there on Fridays that plays their hardest and to the best of their capability regardless what that is.”


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There is, apparently, no district policy against kids wearing varsity letter jackets.

Writer Jay Gabler, who I’m happy to say is a public radio colleague, pretty well sums up the student loan situation, which generally gets very little sympathy from the older crowd for some reason.

He writes today on The Financial Diet that he has just turned 40 and he still owes $40,000 in student loans.

My mom still remembers looking with disbelief at my offer letter from Boston University. They promised substantial grants, to be supplemented by several thousand dollars in student loans as well as a parental contribution that was stiff but—well, not $20,000. “I think this means you can go to Boston,” my mom said with happy surprise.

And he did. And then he went to Harvard after that.

He recently found some of the old paperwork for those first student loans. “What, I wonder, did the 18-year-old me think my life would be like in 2015? Did I realize I would still owe that money?” he asks.

He’s not trying to get out of the loans. He acknowledges he took them on and it’s his responsibility to pay them off.

Writing from the perspective of my present self, I realize that I’m not really the one who the younger me expected to be making those loan payments. What I mean is that I don’t think I actually realized, when I was signing that promissory note at age 18, that the guy who would be paying that loan off in the 21st century would actually be me—the same guy, with the same Isaac Asimov paperbacks and the same birthmark on my chest and the same phobia about pens that aren’t clicked shut.

Whom, then, did I imagine would be making these payments? I think the answer is that I envisioned the payments being made by an adult: someone with such fantastic reserves of money that it would mean something totally different than it did to 19-year-old me. In short, I don’t think I realized that the $50,000 I was borrowing would ever feel real.

He got a lot for those loans. He learned what he didn’t want to be. He learned what makes him happy and, fortunately for us in public radio, music and radio is one of those things.

But he’s not a soapbox; he’s not lecturing us on changes to the education system that we all know aren’t going to happen. The drag on our economy is going to keep dragging it.

He simply wants today’s students to understand what they’re signing up for. And maybe lead the rest of us to understand why others are out of work because a generation doesn’t have the money to buy what they were selling.

(h/t: Julia Schrenkler)