Ethanol loan great example of cooperation

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Congratulations to SW Energy LLC and all the people who have been working so hard for so long to make the ethanol plant just west of McCook a reality.

With Monday's announcement, one of the major pieces of the puzzle has fallen into place.

The $35 million in loan guarantees -- $10 million in a Renewable Energy Systems Guaranteed loans and $25 million in a Business and Industry Guaranteed loan from USDA Rural Development, represent the best type of partnership between business and government.

In exchange for guaranteeing the loan, the federal agency will help provide a local market for the millions of bushels of corn needed to produce up to 120 million gallons of ethanol a year.

In addition, there will be hundreds of construction jobs while the plant is being built, and dozens of permanent jobs.

Officials were to be in McCook today, checking out the site where the plant, which will initially produce 54.3 million gallons of ethanol a year, will be built. It is later to be expanded to the 120 million-gallon capacity.

There will be downsides, of course, such as disruption during construction and increased truck traffic near the Perry elevator. But modern ethanol plants have proven to be good neighbors, and we know the new plant's benefits will far outweigh the inconvenience.

Coaches and fans are keeping an eye on the forecast for Thursday night's final regular-season game, when Grand Island Northwest's football team comes to Weiland Field in McCook.

Four unbeaten area teams -- Chase County, Hayes Center and Arapahoe besides McCook -- are putting their unblemished records on the line Thursday afternoon and evening when it promises to be colder and windy -- perfect football weather.

Much of this page has been promised to District 44 legislative candidates Mark Christensen and Frank Shoemaker on Wednesday, when they have been given the opportunity to submit 500 word essays in support of their candidacy.

Next week, with only another week remaining before the election, they will be given another chance to make their plea for votes.

We hope the voters will take advantage of this unique opportunity to find out more about their candidates.

The weather forecast for this weekend is looking good for the annual High Plains Freedom Flight balloon festival, as well as the season opener for pheasants.

We know the hunters and ground crews will be careful to watch out for each other while they're out driving around the countryside ...

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