Dare to Care
THUMBS UP: This has been a big spring for The Kitchen Table Food Shelf, which on Wednesday hosted kids from church youth groups who spent time constructing a house and a car out of cans of non-perishable food as part of the Dare to Care program. The "canstruction" brought in a lot of food, raised money and raised awareness for kids that there are homeless and hunger issues where they live. But another group also got in on the action. Employees from Larson's Home Furnishings came up with quite an idea to raise money for the food shelf. They motivated themselves to get in shape by pledging $1 per pound loss - this way, they could help others while helping themselves. The goal for the nine employees involved is to collectively lose 100 pounds, which would mean $100 for the food shelf. As part of a food bank, the food shelf can parlay that $100 into $1,000 worth of groceries. That's a great example for other businesses to follow to give back to the community.
Welcoming the troops home
THUMBS UP: What a sight it was when local Minnesota National Guard soldiers arrived in Marshall last week. People from area towns came out in full force and lined the streets from Mike's Cafe on East College Drive all the way to the Marshall National Guard Armory. At some areas along the welcome home route, the crowd was four or five deep. How nice that must have been for the troops, who spent the better part of the last year overseas, away from their family and friends.
Key should be tossed
THUMBS DOWN: Tom Petters, the brains behind a $3.65 billion Ponzi scheme, was sentenced Thursday morning to 50 years in prison. Prosecutors say Petters should've gotten the statutory maximum of 335 years. Agreed. They should throw away the key on this one. Petters' crime is the largest fraud in Minnesota history, a prosecutor wrote in court documents, adding that there are a handful of fraud schemes even comparable in the history of the United States, including the $13 billion gem that was run by New York financier Bernard Madoff, who got 150 years in prison. Madoff and Petters can share a cell for the next 150 years, we say, when you think about all the people who were swindled out of their savings by the two. U.S. District Judge Richard Kyle called Petters the "captain of the ship" of the scheme that victimized hedge funds, pastors, missionaries and retirees.
Tiger's no hero
THUMBS DOWN: Augusta National Golf Club Chairman Billy Payne lashed out at Tiger Woods on the eve of the Masters, calling Tiger a "hero" who "did not live up to the expectations of the role model we saw for our children."
Harsh words, and it's a sentiment probably shared by scores of golf fans.
But it's people like Payne who perpetuate the belief that athletes are role models and heroes. Why do we think they are? Why do we place them on such a high pedestal? As parents, we should hope our kids look up to us more than they look up to someone who can hit a golf ball 350 yards right down the middle. Pro athletes in our society get so much exposure for what they do on the courts and fields, but they also get just as much pub, sometimes more, when they screw up, and those are the kinds of things that resonate with our children. Yes, there are thousands of 10-year-old boys out there who aspire to hit a ball like Tiger or dunk like LeBron, but for as talented as these athletes are, they're still human - and that's something we need to remind our kids of. You want your son to emulate Tiger the golfer, fine. Just make sure he doesn't take after him as a man.