THUMBS UP: Seatbelt data gathered as a result of seatbelt checks from Sept. 19-25 shows that baseline seatbelt useage in southwest Minnesota is 81.1 percent. The southwestern counties in the study include Big Stone, Chippewa, Kandiyohi, Lac qui Parle, Lincoln, Lyon, McLeod, Meeker, Murray, Pipestone, Redwood, Renville, Swift and Yellow Medicine. Southwest Minnesota scored better in seatbelt useage than the other area of the study, South central Minnesota, which came in at 73.2 percent.
Recession hits charitable giving
THUMBS DOWN: One side effect from the recession that hasn't received much attention was individual charitable giving, which in 2009, was down more than 11 percent from 2008-09, according to the Minnesota Council on Foundations. The majority of the state's charitable giving comes from individuals. Also, giving by individuals, foundations and corporate giving programs totaled $4.9 billion in 2009, a decrease of 9.3 percent from 2008. Numbers like these should make us appreciate even more all the groups and organizations out there that employ so many volunteers and work daily to help out those in need.
THUMBS UP: We think it's a good idea to have a system in place to determine section tournament rankings like the newly-adopted Quality Results Formula (QRF) does. It's probably the most fair system out there. But we hope coaches and players don't get too caught up in numbers and rankings, which is easy to do at this time of the year. We like what Dawson-Boyd football coach Cory Larson told the Independent in a story on the QRF ratings in Thursday's paper: "Wherever you end up, you end up. Whether you're going by a coaches' vote, the old point system or QRF ranking, you've still got to show up and play football." Well said. It appears to be a good system to determine playoff seedings and who gets home games, but the way teams like Marshall and Dawson-Boyd are dominating this year, it might not matter where they play come postseason.
THUMBS UP: The region didn't exactly experience a deluge this week and the rain that fell surely won't quell farmers' fears about soil conditions when the next planting season rolls around, but at least enough rain fell to prompt Lyon County to lift its burning ban. Much of the state has been experiencing a mini-drought - enough of a drought to lead to a red flag warning all over the state - and it led to numerous field fires, from Jackson to Luverne, Westbrook to the Garvin area, Marshall to Cottonwood. It wasn't much relief, but we'll take it. Now farmers can finish up this year's harvest without the constant fear of sparking yet another fire.
Library out with the old
THUMBS UP: Want to visit the "old library" one last time? Saturday is your last chance before it closes to move to its new location on C Street. Construction on the new library experienced some delays this summer because of the weather, but its grand opening is drawing near, which, for library regulars, means saying good-bye, not only to the library, but the horribly insufficient parking around it.