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This is a monthly feature of our Columns & Commentary page, in which we either applaud a person, group or event for something positive that we feel is worthy of a little credit (Applause), and/or address something that gives us pause; something that we feel deserves to be addressed in a public forum like the newspaper (A Pause). We welcome rebuttals and feedback. Applause / A Pause expresses the collective opinions of the Perham Focus editorial staff. It is published in the first issue of every month.

APPLAUSE to the Perham boys cross country team, of course! The team has been named Division II National Champions for the second straight season. News of the title broke on Tuesday, following the team’s fifth state championship (see the story in today’s sports section for more info). Keeghan Hurley won the individual state championship by 14 seconds. The girls team also deserves applause, having its best finish at state since 2009, placing third.

APPLAUSE also to Perham and New York Mills volleyball teams for making it to the Subsection finals. Perham finished the year with a record of 26-3. The Eagles finished 20-6. Both teams lost to playoff teams that qualified for the state tournament.

A PAUSE to industrial sprawl into residential parts of Perham. Everyone who lives here knows how good our industries and businesses are for the town. That almost goes without saying. But let’s be honest, industrial areas are never touted for their beauty, and not many people would be excited to have big factories or truck lots in their backyards. This issue came up just last month, when a handful of Perham residents submitted a petition against a new semi truck parking lot being constructed in their neighborhood. As Perham’s impressive growth continues, as we all hope it will, this issue will continue to arise. Our thought is that extra attention should always be paid to where new factory additions, as well as future housing developments, are allowed to be built. There’s room in Perham for much more of both industry and housing, but in the interest of safety, property values and ‘best practices’ community and economic development, they should be kept as separate as possible.

APPLAUSE to Richville man Joe Werner for growing a record-setting giant pumpkin. Werner set a new state record with his 1,779.5-pound pumpkin, weighed at the Stillwater Harvest Fest Oct. 12. Only three years into the hobby, Werner appears to have a knack for it.

APPLAUSE to everyone who donated blood at the fourth annual Perham Rotary blood drive last month. A total of 139 units of blood were donated, breaking the goal of 81 units and also setting a new club record for most blood donated. Every two seconds, someone in the U.S. is in need of blood. Here’s to all who rolled up their sleeves and selflessly helped meet that need.