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home : opinion : editorial May 29, 2016

12/5/2012 11:43:00 AM
Cheers and Jeers

Although the recent weather doesn't seem winter-like, the calendar has turned to December and with it come thoughts of things like snow, ice fishing, crackling fires and Christmas.
But again, it doesn't seem much like December when there's no trace of snow on our lawns. Many Minnesotans list December among their favorite months. But a lack of snow makes it seem more like a cold November.
As we dive headfirst into the hustle and bustle of the season, we pause to take a closer look at our top newsmakers of late:
Cheers go out to the Windom city council for its effort to invest in iPads and similar technology as they go paperless in 2012.
The proposal was expected to get final approval at last night's council meeting (which occurred after press time). It calls for each of the six council members to receive a $700 stipend every two years so they can purchase iPads or similar equipment.
On the surface, this may seem like an expensive move. However, City Administrator Steve Nasby estimates that by not printing and delivering council packets and budget books, the city will save about $5,438 per year. That savings outweighs the $4,200 to be paid out every two years.
Some residents have accurately noted that this payment is a "benefit" for council members. It's a little like having a company car that can be used for personal reasons. However, we have long contended that our council members are underpaid for their important service to the community.
Since technology costs tend to drop over time, we would encourage the council to revisit the $700 technology stipend in the future.
Jeers go out to the area residents who have resorted to name-calling and other ugly behavior in emphasizing their positions on the Mt. Lake school referendum.
In this week's Mt. Lake Observer/Advocate, Michael Stoesz, the Mt. Lake school board chair, said some residents who attended the series of public meetings regarding the school "have chosen to verbally attack, threaten and use foul language to advance their point."
Sadly, we see this as a problem that is all too common in society today. In any debate, it's important to respect another person's opinion, first and foremost.
Cheers go out to Sue Curley who was recently named Education Minnesota-Windom's Teacher of the Year.
Not only has Sue been a loyal and effective staff member for the past 32 years, she is obviously very humble about her new honor. In a story that appears in this week's Citizen, Sue said: "It's a team approach and we're all working together. So, as far as I'm concerned, they could all be Teacher of the Year."
Sue is the Title I lead teacher at Winfair Elementary. Talk with her a few minutes and you'll find she has a very positive attitude about education.
Our community is blessed with one of the most balanced and effective schools in the region. It's people like Sue Curley who make our school district a success.
Jeers go out to the people who continue to prey on children in Minnesota and around the world.
We are weary of reading the daily newspaper stories about child abduction and the surge of human trafficking nationwide. It's a problem that shows no signs of going away.
However, we were pleased to read in last week's Citizen that Cottonwood County Sheriff Jason Purrington is organizing the 51st annual child safety and crime prevention program geared toward youngsters age 4 through 18. He is doing so with the help of the National Child Safety Council.
Other topics covered in these school-based programs include: bullying prevention, drug, alcohol and tobacco awareness, farm safety, bike safety, child abuse prevention and domestic violence/ sexual assault prevention.
Cheers go out to outstanding annual efforts of the volunteers for the Christmas Cheer Box.
Cottonwood County's annual Christmas gift collection program is sponsored by Windom Women of Today and the Mt. Lake Police Department. For many years, these volunteers have collected things like toys, hats, clothing, books and other gifts for kids who otherwise may have not received much, or anything, for Christmas.
These volunteers not only organize the Cheer Box sites in Windom, Westbrook, Storden, Jeffers and Mt. Lake, they oversee the process of collecting applications and making sure the gifts get into the hands of families that need them most. Most often, the volunteers don't do this work for any type of recognition. Their satisfaction comes from knowing that a family will have a little better Christmas thanks to their work.
We also extend a big "thank you" to everyone who finds it in their heart to drop off a gift or cash donation for the Cheer Box.
Cheers go out to the volunteers at the State Theater in Windom for their efforts to not only keep the doors open, but make it an increasingly positive experience for local moviegoers.
After a few months of operation, organizers appear to be more upbeat than ever about the theater's future. This non-profit group has found a way to keep the overhead down while capitalizing on the most popular movie days: Friday, Saturday and Sunday. The theater is now helping local businesses by offering Merchant Matinees, which are free with coupons from participating businesses and are geared toward youngsters.
The theater still faces significant hurdles, such as its long term debt and more than $100,000 in costs related to the digital conversion and marquee repair. But you've got to admire the effort and determination of our local volunteers.
- Rahn Larson

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