Et Cetera …

State needs to catch up

We can’t say we generally agree with Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton’s approach to public policy, but we have to side with him on his push for public construction projects. Dayton wants state lawmakers to pass a $1.5 billion bill to build or repair road and bridges, wastewater infrastructure and college campuses.

The Legislature approved $1 billion in projects at the end of last session, but the bill died in a political controversy that included Dayton. We think lawmakers should pass the bill again. It’s not a new bill: Dayton is right, it’s catch-up.

Tough to battle nature

Martin County Highway Engineer Kevin Peyman offered some insight this week into what the county can and cannot do when it comes to keeping the roads clear when there are icy conditions. State law does not allow the county to use salt and sand everywhere, but rather only on certain problem areas.

The county does what it can to tackle this slippery issue. But when the weather gets so cold in the wake of a winter rain, the problem is difficult to deal with. We all have to be patient and remember that Mother Nature is a beast. She can’t always be easily tamed.

Put phone down, drive

Pedestrian deaths are on the rise in Minnesota, as is the case across the United States. The culprit? More people driving and more people getting distracted by their smartphones. Also, more people walking, jogging and running.

In Minnesota, the number of pedestrian deaths increased from 17 in 2014 to 41 in 2015. The major controllable factor in all this is the crazy way in which some people cannot leave their phone alone for two minutes, even when they should be focused entirely on the road in front of them. If it isn’t enough for some people to be safe drivers, then they should consider the ramifications of a criminal vehicular homicide conviction.

Getting the ball rolling

A revitalization plan for the northwest corner of Fourth Street and Downtown Plaza in Fairmont was revealed this week. It includes an ampitheater, farmers market, retail outlets and even housing. We believe the plan is a bold dream that at least gets people talking about some ideas. Some may be quite workable, while others are probably a little far-fetched.

We do want to extend kudos to Project 1590 and board member Linda Meschke, who obtained a grant to study the site. We’re sure people have driven by it over the years and wondered if it couldn’t be something, anything.