Et Cetera …

Consider pitching in

The Fairmont Opera House put out a call for help this week, and the public responded in a big way. It’s good to know that area residents still care deeply about the Opera House, which has seen major public involvement through funding and restoration efforts over the years.

Last weekend, the Opera House faced a gushing hole in the roof, an immediate problem for sure and an indicator of bigger worries at the 118-year-old structure.

We encourage people to call (507) 238-4900 or visit to give what they can. The Opera House is a local jewel worth preserving.

The future of education

It is shocking when you think about it. Public schools, which are large structures and commonly involve an investment of tens of millions of dollars, often sit empty. In fact, they may only be used about 15 percent of the time.

So it is easy to support initiatives like the one proposed by Fairmont Area Schools. It would allow the school to receive state aid for students taking vocational classes outside the regular school day.

But in the this day and age of live-streaming, we cannot also help but wonder if there are not better ways to operate schools overall. Online schools are setting a trend that may be inevitable.

Museum renovates

The Pioneer Museum in Fairmont is an incredible place for young and old alike to learn about the history of Martin County. The site is owned and operated by the Martin County Historical Society.

Thanks to excellent planning and success in obtaining grants, the museum has made several significant upgrades, with more to come. These include renovations, relocation of items and digitizing microfilm.

We congratulate the museum, and encourage area residents to visit. More information is available at

Nanny state still active

We suppose it makes sense that if Minnesota has a Clean Indoor Air Act then it should ban the indoor use of e-cigarettes, just as it banned smoking years ago. One can argue that vaping releases dangerous chemicals into the air, thus undermining the purpose of the act.

But legislation now proposed to ban the use of e-cigarettes indoors also has a smell of overkill and overzealousness to it. As was the case with banning smoking, it may have made more sense to allow property owners (bars, restaurants) to make their own decisions on the matter, with the resulting public preferences deciding their fate.