Staying with Coca-Cola
THUMBS UP: The Marshall City Council decided this week on a 6-1 vote to pursue vending with Marshall's Viking Coca-Cola at the Aquatic Center instead of going out of town to Pipestone and sign on with Pepsi Cola Bottling. Compared to other decisions the council makes that involve millions of dollars, this one seems rather small, but staying local is not something the city wants to ignore. And the practice of purchasing local goods, no matter the dollar amount paid for them, should always be considered priority No. 1. Going outside of Marshall, even if it is something relatively minor like pop at the pool, would've been a poor decision with possible negative consequences.
Oily little secrets
THUMBS DOWN: Why is it not surprising to see those in charge of inspecting off-shore oil rigs have been accused with accepting gifts from the very companies they were policing? Why is it not surprising to learn that inspection tests on these rigs are less than rigorous. A report released earlier this week details misconduct at the Deepwater Horizon drilling rig's office in Louisiana. That's the rig that exploded last month, sending millions of gallons of oil into the Gulf of Mexico. One report, citing a confidential source, said inspectors allowed oil and gas companies to fill out their own inspection forms in pencil; a government inspector would then trace over their writing in ink. There's a lot we don't know about the government's sometimes-cozy relationship with the oil industry, but there's a good chance, because of what's happened in the Gulf, more slime will be uncovered in the future.
Menard's going up
THUMBS UP: Progress on the new Menard's in Marshall is clearly visible if you're in the vicinity of the construction site on the southern edge of town. Some fear having a Menard's in town will signal the beginning of the end for smaller construction/home improvement businesses in and around Marshall, but that remains to be seen, and we certainly hope that won't be the case. What it will bring is competition, and sometimes competition has a positive result, such as lower prices for consumers. And for those wishing to shop at a Menard's its presence in Marshall means local residents don't need to take off for Sioux Falls, S.D., or any other city to get what they need. Marshall is a growing community, and with growth comes the presence of larger "box store"-like businesses, chain stores. We shouldn't assume larger stores will wipe out our downtowns, and we shouldn't fear the influx of the big boys; we should accept their presence and appreciate the fact that the city of Marshall is considered a good risk for larger businesses looking to expand.
Not on the list
THUMBS UP: Readers of the Independent - especially those in the education field or those with school-aged children - might have been taken aback by Thursday's Page 1 headline "Consultant finds common faults in 32 schools." It should be made clear - and we should've done the clearing up - that no area schools are on that list. In fact, there are no schools from the entire region on the list. The Minnesota Department of Education's list outlines shortcomings of the state's lowest-performing schools. Those schools can now apply for grants to help them fix their problems. Surely, all schools could use some grant money, but this isn't the way any would want to get it.