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APPLAUSE in advance to everyone who goes out and exercises their right to vote on Tuesday. Voting is not only a meaningful way of expressing an opinion, it's also a great responsibility that we as citizens of this country are fortunate to have.

A PAUSE to the Perham-Dent School Board for waiting for a second emergency to happen before reviewing and updating the school district's after-school emergency plan. That plan could and should have been written long ago - right after the collapse of Zach Gabbard. Instead, it lingered on a back burner until a second collapse - this time of a Wadena fan at a volleyball game - brought the issue back to the forefront.

APPLAUSE to the members of the Perham Police Reserves for their years of dedicated service. This group of civilian volunteers give a lot of time and energy to the Reserves, providing a much-needed service to the community and, in the process, saving the city a significant amount of money.

A PAUSE to the continued spread of Aquatic Invasive Species, despite the genuine efforts of many to get a lid on the problem.

Just this last week, it was announced that an experimental treatment of copper sulfate failed to eradicate zebra mussels from Rose and Irene lakes. Around the same time, the Minnesota DNR confirmed the presence of zebra mussels in a new lake, Lake Miltona, just downstream from Irene.

Even closer to home, four lakes near Perham have just been designated by the DNR as infested waters after zebra mussel veligers were found in water samples taken in August. Veligers were found in Kerbs, Paul and Rusch lakes; Little McDonald, which connects with these three lakes, received the designation as a precautionary measure.

It will be interesting to see how this might impact a proposed water outlet project involving those lakes. The project plan calls for the outlet, which has not been built yet, to close if any aquatic invasive species are found.

APPLAUSE to the Perham cross country teams for repeating as conference champs, section champs, and for making their usual trip to the state meet.

The Perham football team is also worthy of applause, for making it to the section final for the second year in a row.

The sports teams here in Perham continue to reflect the truth behind our "School of Champions" motto, and give us more reason to relish our "Perham Pride."