On Chamber successes, staying healthy, Joe Webb, NHL lockout and the Aurora theater shooter...

Celebrate, and stay on toes
The Crookston Chamber on Wednesday will hold its annual dinner, and it’s a time of celebration. The two organizations under the Chamber umbrella, the United Way and Convention and Visitors Bureau are celebrating, respectively, a record-breaking fundraising campaign and record-setting lodging tax revenue. As for the Chamber, there are reasons to be happy as well, with a new hotel on the way, another hotel expanding, Christian Motors buying Salem Motors, a bar and grill under construction, a new bank on the horizon, and a coffee and tea shop. But this is Crookston, so there are always going to be challenges. There are always tough questions to address, like, why can’t a business like the recently closed Country Market succeed here? So, celebrate the good times on Wednesday, but remain on your toes, because many challenges remain.

Get vaccinated, but if you get sick, be smart about it
Nobody likes to be sick. When sick, you don't feel like doing much of anything. If you do, you then want to sleep. It's infuriating sometimes but resting can end up being a lifesaver. Such is the case when dealing with influenza. Minnesota, as well as the rest of the country, is seeing a huge uprising in the amount of flu hospitalizations, even death. Do we even know how to keep ourselves healthy? In a busy world like this, people tend to think they don't have time to rest or go to the doctor, even if they know they're sick. Listen up, folks. If you have time for fun activities, then you have time to stay in bed or go to the doctor. Better yet, invest in a flu vaccination. Washing hands, sterilizing what you touch or any of it. Don't allow yourself to expose others and do whatever you can to stay healthy. It is worth your life. Amanda Wagner, Times intern

End the Webb worship?
It’s understandandable that when a starting quarterback struggles, his backup might be the most popular player on the roster. But when the Vikings’ Christian Ponder struggled at mid-season, the team’s brass didn’t turn to backup Joe Webb. Fans figured out why during the playoff loss to the Packers. Offensive Coordinator Bill Musgrave didn’t help Webb’s cause by failing to devise an offensive game plan that better fit Webb’s athletic talents, but, still, he was worse than you’d even expect a quarterback thrown into that trial-by-fire situation to be. Webb needs to be on the field in some fashion, because he’s strong, shifty and fast. But Ponder will get at least another season to develop as the team’s quarterback of the present and future, and it would appear that the team needs to sign a veteran backup who can come in with little or no notice and give the Vikings a realistic chance to succeed. They didn’t have that on Saturday.

Let’s play hockey
The National Hockey League lockout has ended, and the 30 teams can now get back to entertaining the masses with their expert skills. And they only lost a few dozen games, allowing the season to be salvaged relatively easily. So did the players or owners learn anything this time around? Check back in eight years when the next contract might come up, but given their track record of four lockouts and strikes in the last two decades, one of the worst in professional sports, probably not. The last lockout less than 10 years ago one wiped out an entire season of professional hockey. This was devastating financially for businesses that depend on revenue from those games, directly and indirectly. The NHL also lost a few fans in the process. So let's hope that everyone got what they wanted with this contract and that they can quickly come to terms on the next one.

No rush to judgment on the mentally ill, like Holmes
James Holmes will return to court on Monday where he will face new, strong evidence against him. The attorneys of the accused Aurora, Colorado movie theatre gunman will most likely go for an insanity defense if it is ruled that their client is capable of staying on trial. Does Holmes deserve life in prison or is therapy what this man really needs? Ultimately, a jury will make that final decision, but will throwing this man in prison really give him the help he needs? Many people would say that when Holmes allegedly killed 12 people and wounded 70 he gave up his right to getting help, which may be true. From another perspective, locking up mentally ill citizens of our country hasn't paid off in the past. If Holmes had been treated earlier in his life would there have been hope for him? Maybe 12 innocent people wouldn't have been murdered and another man may not have been thrown away in prison for the rest of his life. Hopefully in the near future, our country will be able to give more assistance to the mentally ill in order to help stop things such as the Aurora, Colorado movie theatre shooting or the Sandy Hook Elementary massacre from happening. Katie Davidson, student staff writer