Et Cetera …

School has work to do

A police investigation has resulted in charges against four Blue Earth Area students following an alleged assault. The incident — and others — sparked an outcry among the public over how Blue Earth Area is handling bullying. Those voices made themselves heard at a school board meeting this week.

The school cannot control what happens at a private party off site. It can control how victims and instigators are treated on campus, and how it punishes bullies in terms of their extracurricular eligibility. It sounds like Blue Earth Area has a lot of work to do. It needs to get to it.

Event to offer updates

We encourage Fairmont residents interested in the future of the community to attend an open house Thursday at Red Rock Center for the Arts. It will focus on several local projects in the works, offering information and ways to get involved. Projects include the trail system, an indoor playground at the mall, the Fairmont Opera House addition and others.

The gathering will be held from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. and again from 4:30-7:30 p.m., with presentations at 12:15 p.m., 5:15 p.m. and 6:15 p.m. There is no fee to attend and refreshments will be provided.

Bad timing, big fee hikes

Martin County commissioners this week approved a new feedlot inspection fee schedule (after 17 years) that raises costs substantially for some producers, who are not dealing with the best ag economy right now. An average feedlot can expect its inspection cost to rise 100 percent, from about $5,000 per year to $10,000.

Martin County does need to fund its inspections, but ag producers argue that many, or most, county services are paid for by the populace as a whole. Producers could add that inspections protect the county as a whole, from overblown fears of environmental contamination.

City boosts contribution

Blue Earth City Council this week approved a 20 percent increase to the Blue Earth Fire Relief pension, despite efforts to otherwise trim the city budget. This was interesting timing, to say the least.

Firefighters are volunteers, so cities generally make an effort to set up pensions for them, because they believe firefighters perform an invaluable service that deserves some reward. It’s difficult to argue with this.

The council could have perhaps built in several smaller bumps in city contributions over the next few years.