Up to the challenge
THUMBS UP: The Arc of Minnesota Southwest, New Horizons Crisis Center, Tracy Kids World and Western Community Action, Inc. are among 50 non-profit organizations that are part of a giving challenge called the Bremer Give-to-the-Kids Challenge that began Tuesday and runs through Oct. 5. The goal of the challenge is to encourage people across Minnesota to support nonprofits for children by donating through GiveMN.org, an online giving site. The Otto Bremer Foundation, which is sponsoring the challenge, is providing a matching grant of approximately $300,000 for the Give-to-the-Kids Challenge. Participating youth-serving nonprofits will receive a one-to-one match for the first $6,000 each organization generates through online donations made on GiveMN.org during the campaign. People can go online at GiveMN.org and select the organizations they want to support. We encourage you to check out the website, rise to this challenge and make a donation.
Social host ordinance
THUMBS UP: Yellow Medicine County commissioners this week discussed, in front of a crowd of people, implementing a new social host ordinance in the county that would penalize hosts of parties where alcohol is being consumed by minors and give cops more authority in charging them. The ordinance would make it a misdemeanor to provide an environment where the host knows or reasonably should know that underage drinking takes place and carries a maximum sentence for a violation of 90 days in jail and/or a $1,000 fine. Now the county has to take it a step further and approve this ordinance, which, at the very least, would make people think twice about serving alcohol when minors are present.
Political forum attendance
THUMBS DOWN: Candidates for House District 21A and Senate District 21 were given the stage last week in a political forum hosted by the Coalition of Greater Minnesota Cities. It marked the first time the public could hear directly from each of the candidates in a formal setting. Unfortunately, the public didn't respond in droves. It could be that area residents were too busy dealing with water in their basement after last week's rain, and that's surely a good reason for not leaving the house, but in a city with nearly 13,000 people, it's hard to imagine why there were only a couple dozen at the forum. It is political apathy? Or perhaps everyone's already made up their minds on whom they are going to vote for. For the first time in more than a decade, there is no incumbent in 21A; instead, there are two fresh faces vying for the seat, which makes it all the more important to keep up with these candidates and educate yourself before Nov. 2. How much do you know about either of these candidates? Is knowing to which party they belong enough for you to cast a concrete vote? Maybe by attending a forum you'll hear something a candidate says that might change the way you feel, might change your vote. You have one more chance before the general election to hear what they have to say at the legislative candidates debate at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, Oct. 19, at Southwest Minnesota State University, where audience members - you, the public, will be invited to submit questions to the candidates. That's what makes this debate unique - if you have a specific issue that you care deeply about, you can take these candidates to task on it. Who knows, it might change the way you vote in November.
Grow up, adults
THUMBS DOWN: We've all seen adults act like anything but adults before, but some pee-wee football coaches recently took it to a new low. During a game in Texas a couple of weeks ago, adult coaches - grown men who way too much pent-up frustration - got into a brawl right in front of the players - some without regard for the players. It all surfaced when a couple kids began to push each other after a play. One coach stepped in, then another, then before you know it, they're throwing punches. One coach punched another from behind. It was the kids who ended up trying to settle things down. Isn't it supposed to be the other way around? Nothing good will come out of this. When adults let things get out of the control -?or play a role in things getting out of the control - things get ugly. And these are coaches who are supposed to be mentors for these kids. One of the players was even quoted as saying, "That's a bad example for us." One coach was banned from the league for life and others were suspended for the rest of the season. But the kids will be the real losers - the league has banned both teams from the postseason. Maybe you've seen this; if you haven't, YouTube it. What happened on the field that day is both disturbing and disgusting.