Et Cetera …

Ambitious planning

The Minnesota Department of Education and the state’s colleges and universities are working to redesign the public education system. The goal is to maximize resources, better serve students and communities, and reduce the cost of college and vocational schooling. It’s a lot to imagine, and it will require local schools to work more closely with area colleges.

This collaboration comes in conjunction with Minnesota’s “World’s Best Workforce” program, which the state is implementing to better prepare students for post-secondary schooling. This too is an ambitious effort.

We see worthy goals here. We hope the follow-through is real and that changes in outcomes, for good or bad, are measured.

Class revives tradition

Fairmont Area’s building trades class has revived a local tradition, that of students building a house. While the model of putting up a house at the school site and then auctioning it off could not be sustained, a new model seems to be working well this year.

Students are building a home for one of the district’s teachers, on his property. Students are actually sub-contractors on the job, working under a professional contractor and sticking strictly to construction – no plumbing or electrical work.

It is not clear if the class will have work next year. We hope anyone interested in helping students learn will give them a shot, by giving the school a call.

Plant back in operation

Fairmont’s ethanol plant is getting back to work. Its new name is Green Plains Fairmont, under the ownership of Green Plains Renewable Energy of Omaha, Neb.

Restarting the plant means 56 workers are back on the job. That is good news for them and the local economy. The plant also serves as an outlet for farmers to sell their corn. Nearly 110 trucks of corn are needed each day at the site.

While ethanol remains controversial in the United States and there could be changes in the federal biofuel mandate, Green Plains is optimistic about sales of ethanol overseas as well. We hope the company is right and can make a long-term go of it here.