Good luck, swimmers
THUMBS?UP: Best of luck to McKenzie Vermeire, Abby Suprenaut, Kylie Vermeire, Ashley Dunn, Cassaundra Krogen and Laura Mitlyng - Marshall High School swimmers who will take part in the 2012 Minnesota State Swimming and Diving Meet. High School swimming doesn't get the attention that football and volleyball does in the fall, but these girls deserve recognition for all the hard work they put in the pool year in and year out. Also, congratulations to the Tiger volleyball team, which won its second straight Class AA state title Saturday and to the Minneota volleyball team for its third-place finish in Class A.
Serving minorities in schools
THUMBS UP: With an ever-growing minority population in Marshall, it's nice to see Marshall Schools have added a minority advocate position. Faduma Massoliah has joined Gustavo Estrada, a member of Marshall Community Services, in working with minority youth at the schools. With 24 different languages being spoken at schools in Marshall, it's vital to have these advocates on hand to be able to reach such a diverse population of kids and their parents throughout the school system in Marshall. No one wants any student to fall behind, and addressing the obvious language barriers is one way to prevent that. And hats off to the United Way of Southwest Minnesota for supporting the position with a $10,500 grant.
Dayton/Wilf honeymoon over?
THUMBS DOWN: It didn't take long for controversy to begin to swirl concerning the new Vikings stadium. Team owner Zygi Wilf and Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton, who worked well together in getting a deal done on the stadium, are feuding over the team's drive for personal seating licenses - which essentially means season ticket holders would have to pay thousands of dollars for the right to pay for their seats. It's a common practice in the NFL, and all teams look for ways to generate revenue, but we had hoped it wouldn't become an issue here in Minnesota. What a shame. Wilf is getting his $975 million subsidized stadium built (the Vikings are paying a little more than half the cost for the stadium) and now wants the fans to cough up more dough to attend a game - already a pretty pricey way to spend a Sunday afternoon. If you look close enough, you can see dollar signs in Wilf's eyes, and for the Vikings to jump on the everyone-else-does-it bandwagon is an easy way out. Give Dayton credit for standing up to the billionaire owner and for looking out for fans of his team. He said Thursday the Vikings weren't upfront about their plans and is confident the stadium authority will deny Wilf from slamming fans with monstrous seat fees. While there is language in the stadium bill concerning the possibility of PSLs, Wilf would be wise to do nothing more than test the waters on this one or, at the least, put a cap on the fees and make them reasonable. The idea of PSLs reached the survey stage Tuesday night, and we have no reason to believe massive PSLs are imminent, but if the plan does come to fruition, a fan revolt is more likely to occur than sellouts at Wilf World in 2016.
Honoring our veterans
THUMBS UP: Trends and fads come and go, but one thing we are reminded of every November is how committed Americans are in honoring our veterans. Nearly every city or town has special events to recognize veterans - those we've lost, those from past wars and those serving today. We are also seeing more and more communities and schools get youth involved and making them part of Veterans Day, either with song, essay writing or giving a reading. We need to continue honoring our veterans - not just a few times a year during holidays that have become lost in a wave of store sales and specials, but also in our thoughts and prayers every day. Thanking a veteran on Nov. 11 or on July 4 is good, doing it every time you see one is even better.