And now, a State Microbe

There it was, amid the long list of crucial bills that state legislators in Wisconsin were racing to vote on before their session ends next week: A bill to select the state’s official microbe. Yes, microbe.

Peculiar, perhaps, until one considers what appeared to be the extremely short list of contenders (one) for this state honor — none other than Lactococcus lactis, the bacterium used to make cheddar, Colby and Monterey Jack cheese, and an unsung hero in this, the nation’s No. 1 cheese-producing state.

“The first time I heard the idea, I thought, I’ve got more important things to do than spending my time honoring a microbe,” said Gary Hebl, a Democratic state representative who proposed the bill which, he says, would make Wisconsin the first state in the nation to grant such a designation. “But this microbe is really a very hard worker…”

The proposal in Wisconsin had faced only one detractor in committee – “the opponent was clearly lactose intolerant,” Mr. Hebl said.

The article mentions in passing that here in New Mexico we have a State Question: Red or Green. There is a third answer for those of you who can’t figure out which chile sauce you prefer. It is “Christmas.”