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APPLAUSE to the growing partnership between Perham Living and the Perham Area Boys and Girls Club. By bringing kids and seniors together to play games, sing songs and socialize, the different generations are getting regular opportunities to have fun together and learn new things from each other. Sure, the close proximity of the club to the nursing home makes it pretty easy for this kind of collaboration to occur, but it took interest, initiative and planning to get the ball rolling, and it takes continued work to keep it going - and that's a unique and noteworthy effort.

A PAUSE to the verbal abuse directed at referees and officials of area sporting events, and the antics of adults getting all worked up while watching a game played by kids. This kind of behavior, which has been seen and heard at recent events throughout the region, does no one any good. It only serves as an ugly interruption of a game in progress, sets a bad example for the kids, and annoys everyone else in the stands.

APPLAUSE to the city of Perham for publicly supporting the In Their Own Words Veterans Museum's quest to find a new director, expand its focus and raise enough money to keep its doors open. In mid-January, city councilors officially agreed to work with museum leaders as they try to find solutions to ITOW's financial problems - a public backing that may help boost donor confidence and inspire more private pledges. The city also agreed to contribute about $21,000 to the cause - a sum large enough to make a dent in the museum's debt, without angering taxpayers by going overboard with public spending.

A PAUSE to accidents at uncontrolled intersections in town. In the last couple weeks, we've reported on two crashes involving multiple victims, and other accidents have occurred, as well. Fortunately, no one has been seriously injured in any of these incidents. But unless Perham drivers start slowing down and looking both ways before crossing uncontrolled intersections - especially when the roads are icy - it'll only be a matter of time before something tragic happens. Please be careful, watchful, and drive appropriately for conditions.

APPLAUSE to every local mentor who is making a meaningful difference in the life of a child. January was National Mentoring Month, an opportunity to raise awareness of the need for mentors and to celebrate the successful mentor/mentee partnerships that are already out there. Through our four-part series of articles on local mentors, we learned directly from the people who do it what it takes to be a positive role model, and how that can change a child's life. It's a level of dedication and commitment that not everyone is willing or able to make, and while it shows selflessness, the payoff ends up being big for both parties. Applause, too, to the Perham Kinship program, which makes it all possible.

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.