Et Cetera …

Court backs free speech

Citizens who disrupt public meetings are not being fair to elected officials or fellow citizens. Standards of decorum and laws exist to deal with those who believe their free speech rights — and only their rights — are important.

However, a disorderly conduct law struck down by the Minnesota Supreme Court this week went too far in silencing a protester in Little Falls. The court vacated her conviction. This too makes sense, because overly broad laws should not exist that “chill” free speech rights. We should all want to live in a society that fosters robust debate.

School wins $10,000

We congratulate Fairmont Area Schools for winning a $10,000 grant from Monsanto. Local farmers nominated the school for the funding.

The money will be used to buy two “virtual welders” for use in the STEM 8 class at Fairmont Jr./Sr. High.

Fairmont Area has built a solid reputation for itself in, among other areas, its vocational training. Area businesses and students have benefitted from this educational opportunity. The purchase of the virtual welders only adds to the ability of the school to continue this successful tradition.

‘Micro loans’ available

Fairmont Economic Development Authority is offering “micro loans” to eligible businesses. They are low-interest loans that help spruce up buildings and storefronts.

Businesses can borrow up to $10,000 at 3 percent, to be paid back over seven years. The loans can be used for things such as signage, storefronts, code work, windows, doors, minor renovations, and machinery and equipment, among other things.

We encourage those interested to contact Linsey Preuss, Fairmont economic development director, at (507) 238-3925.

Girl Scout helps lakes

Kudos to Girl Scout Hannah Botzet, who is doing her part to help keep Fairmont’s lakes in good shape. For her Silver Award project, Botzet chose to place fishing line recycling containers around fishing docks and at Sommer Bait Shop.

The simple receptacles are made of PVC pipe. People can place old, tangled line in the containers, and Botzet will check them periodically to empty them out. The project is meant to keep fishing line from being discarded in the lake or on the lakeshore.

It’s great to see a young person bring so much thought and energy to a good deed.