Do you remember the last time you stopped at a stop sign?

I mean a come-to-a-complete-stop stop, like a police officer was in the intersection and had his eye on you?

Did you make that perfect complete stop, even when no one was watching?

We all know that coming to a complete stop is the right thing to do. It is the safest thing for the driver, the passengers, and other vehicles and pedestrians It only takes maybe an extra beat out of our day.

And it is illegal to do anything else. Technically.

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I have been thinking about this as I tried to wrap my mind around the reopening last weekend of Fargo’s West Acres mall.

Our sister-TV station, WDAY, reported:

“(H)undreds of customers came throughout the day. Dozens came by within the first hour, and while some shoppers wore a face mask, others chose not to while keeping their distance from others. ...

“Employees in all stores and on the sales floor were required to wear masks, while shoppers were encouraged to do the same.”

Shoppers were encouraged to wear masks, but others “chose not to.” Folks kept their social distance from others, though the television report showed folks with and without masks, in stores and walking the corridor, not always with a perfect six-foot separation.

So when do we get to the stop sign?

Well, as we can all agree: It is safer for everyone if we make a complete stop at the stop sign, and it really isn’t too big of a burden at all (I mean, we are already pressing the brake pedal, right?).

But a whole lot of the time, we just pause, and roll on through.

Even though it is the law to stop fully.

I would think “against the law” is a stronger encouragement than just being “encouraged to.”

But when left to our own devices, humans do what humans do: Some take their driver’s ed lessons to heart and obey every traffic rule for life; a handful do whatever they want to do.

Most of the rest of us are somewhere in the middle.

But it doesn’t matter if most everyone stops at that intersection, because it only takes one person to roll through, distracted or careless, to cause an accident.

And during this pandemic, it only takes one person to put many others at risk.

We know it really doesn’t take much effort to only go out for essentials, to keep your distance, to always wear a mask in public and to wash your hands thoroughly and often.

When we all choose to do those simple things, I will be much more encouraged to go to the mall.

No Contact

Because of a slowdown in advertising support due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the free Contact shopper has gone on hiatus. The last edition for a while came out Sunday, May 10. It is one of several shopper publications that are being paused around the region.

The suspension will last 120 days, at which time we will revisit the viability of those publications.

Million-dollar commitment

We know that the local businesses in our markets are hurting because of the pandemic (see the note about advertising above). In response, our parent company, Forum Communications, launched on May 1 a matching grant program aimed at helping businesses and nonprofits better market to and reach customers.

During May, June and July, the $1 Million Community Commitment Grant will allow businesses and nonprofits to leverage their advertising dollars with a matching commitment from Forum Communications.

Dollar-for-dollar matching grants can be for a minimum of $250 or a maximum of $10,000 each of those three months, according to information provided by the company. The matching funds can be used toward print or digital advertising in more than 40 local Forum Communications newspapers or websites.

For more information or to apply for a grant, visit

Share your greetings

During this time of social distancing and self-quarantining, folks may be looking for new and creative ways to reach out and connect.

To help, we have launched COVID Greetings and Graduation Greetings. These are relatively inexpensive messages that can be sent using the Perham Focus and

It is built on the same platform as our new arrivals, wedding and engagement announcements, or retirements and anniversaries.

If you want to send a message of encouragement to a friend you can’t visit, or say congrats to a graduating member of the Class of 2020, visit and click on “Place a Milestone” to get started.

Contact Editor J.J. Perry at 218-844-1466, by email at, or follow @jjperry on Twitter.