Editorial: Tribune Thumbs

Published 8:51 pm Friday, March 10, 2023

To the inclusion of two Albert Lea projects in the House public infrastructure package passed this week.

We were pleased to hear this week that the $1.9 billion public infrastructure package approved Monday by the Minnesota House included funding for both the Fountain Lake dredging and Albert Lea’s new wastewater treatment plant.

The bill included $9 million for the final phase of dredging on Fountain Lake, as well as $2 million toward the city’s new wastewater treatment plant.

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The two Albert Lea projects have been up in the air without the passage of a bonding bill since 2020, and both are important for the community.

Active dredging on Fountain Lake began in 2018. The first two phases were funded by an initial $7.5 million in bonding appropriation and $9.5 million in local option sales tax funds.

The final phase of the project includes the east basin of the main bay, Bancroft Channel and parts of Bancroft Bay. Costs are higher than initially anticipated for this portion because the dredge had to be removed from the lake because the funding was not available.

The city’s new wastewater treatment plant has also risen in cost and is now expected to cost almost $73 million, as of last fall. Though the $2 million included in the bill is only a small portion of the wastewater plant project, we are glad to see legislators recognize the importance of the project.

We urge legislators to consider additional money for this plant in the event of another bonding bill later this year or next.

We also urge the Senate to keep these important projects in the bill and to swiftly approve a similar package.

To Albert Lea’s six Teacher of the Year nominees.

Congratulations to the 2022-23 Albert Lea Teacher of the Year nominations, which were announced this week.

The finalists are Mary Bissen, Sophie Claussen, Jeremy Corey-Gruenes, Andrew Gustafson, Robin Hundley and Staci Waltman.

While we are appreciative of all educators in the district, we wish to give a special spotlight to these half dozen.

The teacher of the year will be announced at the high school on April 5.

To the Albert Lea robotics team.

Hats off to The Broken Zip Ties, one of Albert Lea’s robotics teams, which last weekend advanced to the world competition in Dallas after winning the competition’s Excellence Award.

This is the second year for the team to participate in the world competition, and we applaud its members and their coach, Burke Egner, for their hard work in making it possible.

The world championships will be April 25 to 28, with 800 teams from over 60 countries competing.

Good luck in this next phase. You’ll have a lot of people rooting for you.

To increased daylight.

Whether you love or hate Daylight Saving Time, there is one thing we all can agree on.

It’s time for more sunlight.

This encourages healthy lifestyles, such as joggers circling the lake and families or couples going for walks. Soon enough peoople will be out on their grills and enjoying time on their decks, patios and driveways.

Though we’ll lose an hour of sleep overnight Saturday, it will be worth it once we make it through the weekend.

Don’t forget to move your clocks forward one hour before you go to sleep Saturday so you can be on time for your Sunday morning plans.