Et Cetera …

These kids are inspiring

There are some pretty amazing young people in the Fairmont area. Like those who organized and participated in the fifth annual Kids Against Hunger concert on Wednesday at the Opera House.

And then there are this year’s Triple A Award winners at area schools. These students excel in academics, fine arts and athletics, and show us that the future of the country is in good hands.

Sometimes older people can get down on “today’s youth.” We say take another look. There are good, smart, successful kids all around.

Getting out of hand

Minnesota’s public pension plans for government workers are underfunded, by a whopping $16.7 billion. The problem is $4 billion worse than just a few years ago.

The plans pay retirement benefits to more than 720,000 state and local workers. About $3.8 billion goes out annually.

The state has to address this problem soon. It needs to stay up to date on its funding obligations, and do more to reform the pension system to remove the burden from taxpayers, today and into the future.

New option for veterans

Kudos to Faribault County Veterans Service Officer David Hanson, who has helped the county obtain a federal grant to utilize Ride Link, a service that connects veterans, their families and caregivers to a single source of information on transportation options.

The grant was offered in southwestern Minnesota as part of a pilot project. It’s a bit of an experiment to do more for the nation’s servicemen and women.

We encourage area veterans to check out their options by calling the Veterans Service Office at (507) 526-6268.

Reintegrating veterans

We want to express our appreciation for the groups and businesses that have been working together to make sure veterans returning home from Iraq and Afghanistan are reintegrated into the world of work.

Government veterans agencies at the state and federal level have teamed with Minnesota’s state employment agency, as well as with veterans support groups, such as the Yellow Ribbon campaign.

Their success is evident in the low jobless rate of returning Minnesota National Guard members.

On top of this, Wal-Mart recently announced plans to hire 100,000 veterans. Others may follow suit.