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Editorial When disaster strikes, Minnesotans take action

Minnesotans, who most recently endured a devastating series of floods, know what it’s like to face natural disasters. Perhaps that’s one reason they’re lining up to assist victims of the tragic wildfires that raged out of control last week in southern California.

Only a matter of days after the scope of the damage and loss in California became known, local Red Cross units had volunteers on the way to help with cleanup, counseling and whatever other services are needed.

It’s easy to decry the seemingly unlimited sprawl of southern California’s subdivisions, which gobble up more and more open land and become dangerously exposed to wildfires in that semi-arid climate.

We don’t care to make those judgments, however, when people are in need — nor can we imagine withholding a helping hand based on such petty reasoning.

People around here recognize that all of us, whether we live in Rushford or California or wherever, might at some point require some kind of help. We’re grateful for that help when in need, and are equally anxious to provide it to others.

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Don’t call these teens ‘selfish’

The Cardboard Box City event held Oct. 19-20 in Rochester is yet another example of the many positive ways our city’s young people contribute to the community.

More than 250 volunteers took part in the event, many of them teenagers from a variety of church and other youth organizations.

They stayed overnight in cardboard boxes at Soldier’s Field Park to increase awareness of homelessness and raise money to help the estimated 15-40 people in Rochester who on any given night have no home to sleep in.

Money raised through "rent" paid by each camper will be used to help fund programs that serve the homeless, such as the Interfaith Hospitality Nework, the Salvation Army and the Dorothy Day House.

Cardboard Box City is one of many fundraising events involving young people in southeastern Minnesota that gives us reason to be optimistic about Generation Next.

Too many blowouts

Football scores of 68-0, 57-0, 54-0 and 35-0 wouldn’t seem to indicate the excitement usually associated with "playoff" games, yet these were among the results of last week’s opening-round action for high school teams in southeastern Minnesota. Similar scores were common statewide as undefeated, top-seeded teams got one more chance to administer some new lumps, bumps and bruises to winless opponents — often teams they’d already beaten badly earlier in the season.

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We understand the desire to give athletes a "second season," to let everyone have one final chance to start over and make a run at a state title, but in football this line of thinking too often forces outmanned teams to endure a meaningless physical and emotional pounding — on the road and in the middle of a school week, too.

Really, what did Cretin-Durham Hall prove by blasting winless Henry Sibley 58-0? Or Eden Prairie by destroying winless St. Louis Park 55-0? Even if winning coaches put in their second- and third-string players, the opportunity for injury is very real. That’s true in all football games, but these are games that don’t need to be played.

At the very least, high school teams should win one regular-season game (over a team within their own class) to qualify for post-season play. That would probably mean many undefeated teams would end up with a first-round bye — a worthy reward for a perfect season, and a welcome chance to rest and prepare for opponents that had earned the right to play them.

Players on winless teams, meanwhile, would get an early start on basketball or wrestling practice — or their homework.

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