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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 Science Research Team for taking three of the top four places at a regional science fair held March 1. It was the first time Perham swept the top three spots. Those students who advanced to the state fair were still competing there at press time Tuesday; we wish them luck and look forward to hearing more about that experience.

APPLAUSE to Perham Living for earning a five-star rating  from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, the federal agency that sets the standard for nursing homes. The rating paved the way for a Best Nursing Home in Minnesota ranking by U.S. News & World Report. In addition, recent resident satisfaction surveys have come in with higher-than-average scores. Perham Living’s leaders credit these honors to the dedicated staff and patient-centered model of care, which gives the nursing home the feeling of a true home. At a time when nursing homes often make headlines for the wrong reasons, it’s great to see that, here in our community, quality care is given – and appreciated.

APPLAUSE to every person or group who made a donation to the Perham Area Food Shelf during its March campaign, when those donations stretch further thanks to matches from certain charitable organizations. The food shelf’s Director, John Leikness, has repeatedly noted the generosity of the Perham community, which continues to meet the need even as that need continues to rise. It’s easy to assume that hunger is only a problem in other countries or big cities, but it happens in rural areas, too. And it happens here, in our own communities. To everyone who answers that call to action, appreciation is due.

APPLAUSE to tax cuts! They’re so easy to love. A little more than a week ago, a $443 million tax cut bill was enacted that reduces income taxes for many Minnesotans and eliminates some sales taxes businesses pay. At press time, a second tax bill was being considered by the Minnesota House. This one focuses on ways to make further reductions in property taxes for homeowners, renters and farmers, to the tune of $45 million. The breaks are welcome, coming just 10 months after legislators raised taxes more than $2 billion.