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APPLAUSE to everyone who took part in this year’s East Otter Tail County Relay for Life, held July 12 in Perham. This important and touching annual event brings people together in a fight against a common enemy that has impacted many of us personally -- cancer. The local relay has a history of success, and this year was no exception. The event raised $70,000 for the cause.

APPLAUSE to Jeff and Kay Morris for being awarded the Minnesota State Cross Country Coach and Assistant Coach of the Year for a second time. The same week that award was announced, Jeff was also named the National Cross Country Coach of the Year.

A PAUSE to the situation with Turtle Fest. Leading organizers announced in July that they’re looking for new blood to take over the festival. The community hasn’t been financially supporting Turtle Fest to the extent required, they said, and the tasks of planning events and bookkeeping are too much for just a few people to handle. The future of Turtle Fest is now up in the air, and will remain so until or unless a new group of people comes forward to take it over, or the community rallies around it to form a new and sustainable plan for its future. To everyone who’s enjoyed Turtle Fest over the years, it should be worth taking a moment to pause and ask, is it worth saving? And if so, what do we need to do to save it?

APPLAUSE to the Perham-Dent School District for strides made toward reducing the deficit. A preliminary budget released in June first predicted that the district’s deficit would be reduced by nearly $800,000 over the next two years. More good news came in July, with the announcement that the district will save an additional $200,000. The savings are mostly due to reductions in administrative costs and bus routes, as well as changes in state funding.

APPLAUSE to Gabriele Anderson, who recently completed a very successful European leg of her summer running schedule. Anderson set personal bests this summer in the 800m, 1,500m and 3,000m runs, and earned her first Diamond League points. DL points are accrued during an annual series of track and field meetings of the International Association of Athletics Federation’s Diamond League. Anderson’s runner-up finish in the 3,000m in London earned her two DL points.

APPLAUSE to the Dreams for Kids motorcycle ride, which proved once again to be a great fundraiser for kids in need. This year’s ride, the eighth annual, was held July 20, and raised enough money to grant the wishes of four local children with life-threatening illnesses.