Et Cetera …

Cameras would help

From the sound of things, Fairmont Area Schools will be getting a bargain if it spends its share – $11,000 – of the cost to put in security cameras on the buses its students ride.

The school deals with up to five bus-related incidents each week. These open the door to liability issues for the district. Also, the state is considering an anti-bullying law, which would force schools to do more to combat student-on-student violence.

Security cameras in buses would capture the actions of kids and reduce the need to depend on witnesses, who aren’t always reliable.

This study could be big

There is an important and interesting study under way in Minnesota regarding current levels of groundwater and whether its use is sustainable. Southwest Minnesota is an area of particular concern. Worries about declining availability of groundwater could, of course, lead to restrictions on water use. And that could be devastating for farmers, among others.

A Department of Natural Resources team of agency experts, irrigators, lake associations and well-drillers plans to spend the next several months analyzing data and putting together a long-term plan. Stay tuned.

Still don’t understand it

The city of Fairmont continues to tweak a proposed rental ordinance that would try to address issues of substandard housing and other problems associated with rental units. Another meeting this week offered more controversy, with those for and against the ordinance speaking out.

We remain wary. The ordinance largely puts landlords on the spot, adds to their financial burdens, creates more red tape for them and will cost them money. All of this may discourage them from providing local housing, including that which is the most affordable.

Idea may not be the best

There was some talk this week in Fairmont about possibly creating an industrial park near the airport. This is not the first time this topic has come up. We’re not sure this makes any more sense than building an industrial park elsewhere. In fact, it may make less sense.

The airport site comes with strings attached in the form of federal funding. That means getting the federal OK to proceed. Also, the infrastructure to the airport is limited. Unless there is a great push from an industry or two, it’s difficult to see this idea coming to fruition.