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Letter to the editor: In storm, hard work, innovation on display

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opinion Farmington, 55024

Farmington Minnesota P.O. Box 192 / 312 Oak St. 55024

To the editor,

Mother Nature was no match for the people at two Farmington institutions this week, and what they did deserves public appreciation.

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First, Dakota Electric. When we lost power around 9 p.m., last week's blizzard made white-out conditions in Empire Township. Our farm is literally the last connection on a short run, not a priority compared with more populated areas, but when we lose power the consequences are significant. The automatic watering systems in the barns rely on electricity and would have been frozen by morning almost surely. Power was restored around midnight, so it was a surprise to suddenly see a emergency flashers inching through the drifts past the house around 2:30 a.m. Taking nothing for granted, somebody was still out checking everything in miserable conditions. Dakota Electric was out as they always are, making sure energy technology keeps working.

Meanwhile, Farmington Public Schools used the occasion of the storm to make history. With handheld iPad technology now in the hands of students and staff they leapfrogged past the impossibility of running buses in a blizzard. While other districts called snow days and put added pressure on lost instructional time, Farmington entrusted students with independent learning. This is exactly the right approach to build skills for whatever comes next: jobs, college, and military service all expect technology skills and discipline for independent learning.

We are impressed by the technological savvy and risk-taking we've witnessed this week. No doubt, the people who were directly involved in both of these situations faced significant challenges making everything work well. Upheavals in the normal delivery system probably caused stressors we can only imagine for everyone. So we're sending a public thank you. First, to Dakota Electric for putting us back on line. And second, thanks to ISD 192 for keeping learning literally online. That's a big, innovative step toward the mission, “ensuring each student reaches his or her highest aspirations.” Bravo.

Bill and Wendy Wustenberg,

Farmington

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