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Our View: Volunteers, grants make Super Bowl a statewide event

Former NFL running back and Rochester native Darrell Thompson poses for selfies with students during the NFL PLAY 60 event last week at Friedell Middle School in Rochester. PLAY 60 is one of many outreach efforts to make Super Bowl LII, coming up Sunday at U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis, a truly statewide event.
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As promised for every Saturday on this page, here are some well-deserved Fist Bumps for local and area people who have gone the extra mile to help, contribute and accomplish.

The legacy of Super Bowl LII

Like many Minnesota Vikings fans, we could care less about who wins the Super Bowl on Sunday. Mainly, it would be nice to see it go off without a hitch, reflecting well on Minnesota, and if the Patriots lose, so much the better.

This is actually Super Bowl II -- the second one in Minnesota, the first being at the Metrodome in January 1992 -- and this one promises to have a charitable and wellness legacy that lasts far longer than the memory of who wins or loses Sunday night. The Super Bowl Host Committee Legacy Fund is one of the best ideas to come out of all the years of planning, and Mayo Clinic played a key role in launching the Host Committee's "52 Weeks of Giving" initiative, to promote health and wellness for young people statewide.

Among the communities that have benefited from the Legacy Fund largess are Red Wing, where the school district received a total of $76,000 for school breakfast programs; Goodhue County, which received $50,000 for playground equipment and a sports field; the Prairie Island Indian Community, which received $100,000 for a recreation and community gathering space in Welch; and Rochester, where Willow Creek Middle School received $10,000 for student breakfast programming.


The city, Olmsted County and other agencies also received $52,000 for an imaginative mobile playground initiative.

Among the many Rochester area people who have contributed to making Minnesota's Super Bowl a success are Mayor Ardell Bredeand Mayo Clinic's Chris Gade, who serve on the Host Committee Advisory Board . Former Gophers and NFL running back Darrell Thompsonis a star whenever he comes to town, as he did last week for a Super Bowl event at Friedell Middle School.

To them and all the people who have volunteered to help in myriad ways in and around U.S. Bank Stadium this week, thank you and skol!

Making more out of less

A lot of people talk about affordable housing, but Andyand Kari Friederichsare doing something about it.

They're business people, they're making money at it -- they're not running a charitable operation -- but they're nonetheless helping to fill a desperate need for apartments that are affordable for lower-income families. The Friederichs, who turned the former Civic Inn into the Parker apartments , are hoping to do the same thing with an apartment building at 431 Third Ave. SE.

The city Planning and Zoning Commission last week approved their plan to convert the 15-unit building into 25 efficiency apartments. The project, called Clinic Suites, required some flexibility from the city regarding occupancy and limited parking, but so far, so good, and with frustration about Rochester's lack of affordable housing going through the roof, hopefully the project can keep moving ahead.

The newly organized Coalition for Rochester Area Housing , among other organizations working on this issue, likely will aim for bigger fish, but there's plenty of room in the market for entrepreneurs such as the Friederichs to have an impact.


Speaking up

Without going into details, we appreciate the people who spoke up and complained not only to Sun Country Airlines officials but to law enforcement and reporters after grossly inappropriate behavior by two area residents on a flight from Las Vegas to Minneapolis last weekend.

Enough said about that, but it takes courage to speak up and be heard.

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A Rochester couple hopes to expand the number of units in the Clinic Suites apartments at 431 Third Ave SE, which would add more affordable housing units.

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