Town hall response
THUMBS UP: Quite often when a city has a public forum event the turnout is sparse and those who do attend sometimes keep to themselves and just listen, but Tuesday's town hall meeting with District 21 lawmakers was different. About 50 residents crammed into a room at the Bistro in downtown Marshall to voice their concerns over a variety of pressing issues that are pressing subjects in this year's session. The crowd was passionate and didn't hold back as it let area legislators know how they feel on issues such as health insurance for state employees, higher education, voting for the disabled, and transportation and the condition of rural roads. Attendees took the legislators to task and asked some serious questions on these issues, letting them know their votes will be closely watched in the upcoming month.
L&C funding down
THUMBS DOWN: The Lewis & Clark Regional Water System continues to pace back and forth in a worrisome fashion after it learned President Obama's proposed FY12 budget included just $493,000 for the project. Project officials said that amount would bring new construction to a "screeching halt" because it would only cover half of the project's annual administrative costs. Officials say cuts to L&C funding would hurt taxpayers in two ways: One, the remaining federal cost share of $194 million increases each year for inflation - last year the federal cost share was $188.6 million, an increase of $5.4 million in one year during a period of relatively low inflation; and two: it hurts the economy through fewer construction jobs. Lewis & Clark, a project designed to provide treated water to its member municipalities and rural water systems to more than 300,000 people in southeast South Dakota, northwest Iowa and Rock and Nobles counties in southwestern Minnesota, is also at the bottom of projects within the Bureau of Reclamation's funding priorities. The president's budget proposal and a congressional earmark ban which eliminates the potential of funding through the appropriations process would together equal a major blow to the project and economic development in the far southwest corner of the state.
West Twin Lake
THUMBS UP: Rare is it these days that you can find a lake in the region that hasn't succumbed to algae blooms or been overtaken by invasive fish. According to the DNR, West Twin Lake is one of those lakes and Lyon County commissioners did the right think in passing an ordinance to prohibit the use of gas-powered motors. It's a contentious issue, and those against the ban worry it would keep visitors away. That's a small sacrifice, however, to keep the lake in pristine shape. The ban might keep some people from enjoying the lake and push them to another one, but if heavy boating persists and sediments continue to be stirred up, the lake could eventually lose its shine, and that, we argue, would itself do enough damage to keep visitors away.
THUMBS UP: What do Ryne Myhrberg, Nathan Werner, Christian Skillings, Beau Buysse and Ashlynn Muhl have in common? Not only are they top-flight athletes, they're all headed to Southwest Minnesota State University next year. Myhrberg and Werner have signed on to play football at SMSU; Skillings and Buysse will be teammates on the Mustang wrestling team and Muhl will join the SMSU volleyball squad. These are big moves for the university - not only are they getting some really good athletes, these are athletes from the immediate area that should help each team at the gate.