The news last week that eight or nine of Pioneer Public Television’s (PPTV) employees have moved into their gleaming new headquarters building was fun to hear. These administrative employees are just the first wave of the PPTV staff members. The remaining Pioneer Public Television employees will be moving into the new facility in stages, as new technical equipment arrives and is installed, tested and readied for broadcasting.

The television station’s transmitter site and 1,000 foot tower is located a couple of miles south and east of Appleton and will stay at that licensed location. Because of that, a new mono-pole relay tower will be constructed next to the new broadcast center here in Granite. The footing for that tower, which will send the signal from the station toward the Appleton transmitter site, is already in place. However, because of the need to limit the height of that tower to under 200 feet...and because of the curvature of the Earth, a second relay tower will need to be constructed near Montevideo in order to move or jump the TV station’s signal to the main transmitter site and big tower.

The towers will be installed during this upcoming construction season and all new equipment should be in place to permit all production, programming and engineering staff to make the final move to the new high-tech facility by late this fall.

Pioneer Public Television’s new headquarters and broadcast facility will help the station reach new heights in programming and also help them in attracting new talent to their staff. The new facility will also enable Pioneer to host regional meetings and programs. The new facility will mark a new chapter for Pioneer. Hearing comments and questions from folks who drive by from all corners of the state convinces me that it also marks a new chapter for this community.

Hats off to Granite Falls resident Hugh Smith for his activism a couple of weeks ago when he rounded up some of his good neighbors to attend a city council meeting and request some traffic control signs at the intersection closest to their homes. The council listened and, at the residents’ request, voted to place four-way stop signs at the intersection of Sixth Avenue and Second Street, one block west of the city hall. It was also voted to change the southbound yield sign on Second Street at Seventh Avenue, to a stop sign. The neighbors’ concern and willingness to speak up for pedestrian and driver safety demonstrated a good case for the changes.

Hugh is also taking up the cause for a flashing red signal or a flashing stop sign for southbound on Highway 23 at the intersection with Highway 212 east of Granite, near the Granite Falls Energy ethanol plant. I’m glad to hear that. Hugh, a retired MnDOT maintenance employee, has a genuine concern for the traveling public’s safety and will help make a good case for that much needed improvement. The intersection was recently the site of a fatality and multiple injury car crash when a driver from the Sioux City area and possibly unfamiliar with the route, drove past the stop sign, through the intersection and out into the field, causing the car to roll six or seven times. As bad as it was it could have been even worse if there had been another vehicle entering the intersection from Highway 212.

While a large stop sign is hard to miss, a flashing red signal or a flashing red stop sign no doubt would catch an unsuspecting driver’s attention and be visible during foggy or blizzard-like conditions.

It seems like an easy and relatively inexpensive installation that could very well help prevent another tragic accident. I have a feeling that good neighbor Hugh will keep a crusade going for this basic safety signal. It would make that busy intersection safer for everyone.