I want to send out my condolences to the Arneson family of Decorah on their loss of Avery and Aiden. The sisters were killed Monday morning in a car accident on their way to school at Mabel-Canton. The family, the school community and everyone is suffering a horrific pain, a pain that no one should ever have to endure. Our thoughts and prayers will be with the family forever.

In addition to your prayers, a GoFundMe account has been set up to help raise money that will offset funeral and medical expenses. If interested in donating, go to the website and type in Arneson Family Fund to help. The healing process is a long one, and the pain never goes away. The family and community needs your help and prayers.

On another sad note, this past Monday, our family lost a dear Kasson friend, Mary Hegna passed away. When we moved to Kasson for my first teaching job, the Hegnas were one of the first families who took us in and made us feel welcome. Mary and Wesley were our in-town grandma and grandpa to our first three children, and the oldest daughter, Kathy, was our first babysitter. Wesley died a few years ago. Mary will be missed dearly.

I do have some good news. The Brainerd Kixters Dance Team got second place in both the Jazz and High Kick at the 4AAA Section Tournament last Saturday, and are heading to the state contest this coming weekend, Feb. 16 and 17. Granddaughter Jada is an eighth grader and is also making her second straight trip to the big dance. I had them picked to go to the state in the High Kick competition, but the Jazz routine really got me by surprise. My wife couldn’t believe I was so skeptical. She said it was great, right from the start. That’s why she was the coach and I was the spectator.

Super Bowl LII (52) is done and gone, and everyone is still raving about the great job the Minneapolis/Minnesota people did in organizing the event and all of the peripheral activities. This was the first Super Bowl championship for the Eagles, and their first championship (NFL champions) since Dec. 26, 1960. You probably already know this, but the last time they won their championship (1960) Dwight Eisenhower was president, there were only 13 teams in the league, the Patriots were in their first year of the AFL and Bill Belichick was eight years old. And, you could buy a ticket for the 1960 championship game for 10 bucks ($10).

How about the halftime show? Did you like it? I like Justin Timberlake, so I gave him two thumps up. I just think he’s one of the best all-around entertainers in the business right now. And I thought his tribute to Prince was very special.

Have you had a chance to listen to the post-game interview with Jason Kelce, center for the Philadelphia Eagles? If you haven’t heard it, go find it and listen. It’s all about perseverance and following your dream. And the Eagles quarterback, Nick Foles, has some great words of wisdom about not being afraid to fail. It’s kinda like “It doesn’t matter how many times you fall down. What matters is how many times you get up.” Some great life lessons came out of this Super Bowl game, especially for the underdogs, who are now the top dogs.

Kirsten Keefe, St. Mary’s (Winona), and former Chatfield athlete, scored a career high 14 points for the Lady Cardinals this past Wednesday in their 49-44 win over Concordia, St. Paul. The gals from St. Mary’s are fifth in the MIAC with an 8-7 record. They are 13-9 overall. St. Thomas leads the MIAC women’s basketball standings with a 15-0 record, 20-2, overall.

The guys from St. Mary’s are at the bottom of the standings, at 0-17, and 1-21. St. John’s leads the men’s standings at 16-1 (20-2, overall). Nick Powell (Fillmore Central), and the Hamline men’s team are at 7-11 (eighth), and 11-12, overall.

Most everybody knows that I write the sports for Chatfield, Fillmore Central and Kingsland. I want to take a few words and thank Sam Clemens, Christine Vreeman and Deb Finseth for all they do with the pictures for all the teams. While they zero in on Chatfield, Kingsland and Fillmore Central, respectively, they also cross-over to other papers within the Phillips Publishing family. You may even see their work in the Rushford and Spring Grove papers. Thanks gals, and to the other photographers who are shooting for Lanesboro and Mabel-Canton, Heather Kleiboer and Kristi Ruen. You really make the different sports pages look great!

While I’m thanking people, I also want to send a shout-out to Lee Epps. Lee gets me the Southeast Conference standings each week, and sometimes some comments, as you’ll see this week. His value to the SEC is not measurable, and I hope the conference knows that and rewards him accordingly.

Ice cream shop

Have you heard about that new ice cream shop (The Chocolate Twist) that opened up in Rochester? “This ice cream store is like no other,” said Colleen Arey Timimi, from the Seen and Heard column, in the Rochester Post Bulletin. It is the first business venture for the Boys and Girls Club, with profits from the store going into the club’s operations budget.

And who will work there? The teens of the club. The young people working at the store will do more than scoop ice cream, said Claudia Tabini. Teens that work at The Chocolate Twist will have to go through several different curriculum-based learning programs related to money management and finances; they will also be working directly with the store manager, learning the ropes of keeping inventory, placing orders, customer service and management related activities.”

Tabini is on the Boys and Girls Club board of directors, and along with Traci Downs and John Pacchetti (other board members) has worked tirelessly to bring this dream to fruition. What a fantastic idea. More of this kind of education is needed for our young people and this will definitely be, or should be, a model for other communities.

Rothsay, Minn., had something like this, a grocery store and a hardware store, that was a cooperative venture with the city and the school. I think the hardware store is still in operation out there.

I’ve had a similar dream for years, related to the sports/activities world. A website with stats, stories on activities, pictures, videos, etc. You could incorporate the English and journalism departments, math and statistics departments, technology department and have many of the area schools involved, not just one school. You could even contribute information and articles to the local papers and radio and television stations.

Three Rivers Conference

In basketball, the west division plays 18 games and the east division plays 17 games. No over-all champion is determined.

In the girls’ east division, Caledonia has a two-game lead in the loss column. Caledonia still has to play Cotter, Dover-Eyota, Wabasha-Kellogg and Lewiston-Altura. Cotter has games with Caledonia (last Thursday), Wabasha-Kellogg and Fillmore Central. If Caledonia stubs its toe and loses to Cotter, it could be a tie. Caledonia is in the drivers seat.

In the west girls, Plainview-Elgin-Millville is going to need some help. PEM still has W-K, Kingsland, St. Charles and Southland. D-E has St. Charles, Caledonia and Southland. St. Charles is still in the mix. If St. Charles wins-out and D-E loses to the Warriors, it could be a three-way tie.

For the guys, I like Caledonia’s chances in the East. They should win-out and have at least a three-game lead at the end. La Crescent, just one game behind right now, still has to play Rushford-Peterson and Caledonia. Rushford-Peterson gave Caledonia their second loss last week, but already has five losses and I don’t think they can overcome Caledonia. They could move even with La Crescent if the Lancers only lose to R-P and Caledonia.

St. Charles is in charge of their own destiny in the west. They do play PEM yet, but that appears to be the only challenge left in the conference.

Southeast Conference

From Lee Epps on the girls in the SEC. “Houston has clinched its first-ever girls basketball conference championship with the 2017-18 east division title. And, with a 90th consecutive SEC victory, the Lyle/Pacelli girls have clinched a sixth consecutive west division crown. It is the Athletics’ seventh girls SEC title, also having won the west in 2002. Before the establishment of the shared program with Pacelli, Lyle and Southland were co-champs in the west in 1994.”

The SEC boys’ current division leaders, Spring Grove (east) and Randolph (west) met this past Thursday in Spring Grove. The Spring Grove boys have won 55 straight conference games, dating back three seasons.

In TRC wrestling, Chatfield and Plainview-Elgin-Millville met this past Saturday for the west championship. Both teams were 3-0 going into the Saturday night dual. LARP was the leader in the east, also 3-0. The way it looks to me, Caledonia/Houston won the east with a 4-0 record.

That is going to do it for me. Thanks to Melissa and all of the sponsors. Happy Valentine’s Day to my wife, Carol. Hey to the Great 8 and my wife, you are the greatest. Today is a gift, that’s why they call it the present. Hasta luego. Have a great week, one day at a time. On Feb. 7 we celebrated our 12,419th “one day.” Thanks. Syiags. WEB