On prom and Blast to Bede, Pirate spring sports, Earth Day, the NFL Draft, and fear...

A safe, fun prom and party
Crookston High School’s 2013 prom is this Saturday, followed by the traditional after-prom party known as Blast to Bede. It’s been quite a successful run for Blast to Bede, with the event growing in scope almost every year, thanks to a team of dedicated parents and an impressive group of individual and business contributors from the community. It adds up to a lot of fun and a lot of great prizes to be won by students who attend the after-prom party. This year’s theme is technology-related, so you can bet the prizes will be cooler than ever. Blast to Bede’s most important success, however, has been the continued run of proms and after prom parties in which no local kids have been involved in any types of accidents as they’ve headed to the lake or somewhere else after the big dance. It certainly seems cold and snowy enough this spring to give students one more reason to stay in town after prom and attend Blast to Bede. Have a great weekend, everyone.

Let’s finally get going, Pirates
Coaching teenaged kids is challenging on its own. But mix in the worst spring in years and it makes it harder than anyone can imagine. A few Crookston teams like tennis and track have been able to compete a few times this spring but the golf teams, baseball and softball have been stuck practicing indoors. You may not realize it with the chilly temperatures but the snow is slowly fading. The forecast is calling for us to break the 50 degree mark on Friday for the first time this year. And after a sunny weekend in the 60s it looks like it will be in the 50s all next week. Spring may finally be arriving and Pirate teams may have a spring season after all. We know the coaches and Activities Director Don Donarski will do everything they can to cram as many events in the month of May as they can. Good luck, Pirates.

Do more than just observe Earth Day
April 22 is Earth Day. This year is the 43rd anniversary of officially recognizing things the human race can do to keep our planet clean and safe for future generations. Although it may not feel as though spring has sprung, there are still activities individuals and families can participate in to make our world a better place to live. With a majority of the snow having receded, today would be a great day to pick up litter in your neighborhood. After a thorough washing, use your "found objects" to create a work of art and talk with your family about the importance of up-cycling and recycling. After all, one man's trash is another man's treasure.

Vikings shouldn’t overthink it in the draft
The NFL Draft starts this Thursday evening and continues into the weekend. That means every football fan who thinks he’s an expert on which team should draft which player is crawling out of the woodwork, and the real draft experts like ESPN’s Mel Kiper haven’t slept in a month. One thing just about everyone agrees on is that this is a balanced draft that’s deep at many positions, with no obvious top pick, much less an obvious order of top 10 picks. Which means the Vikings, owners of the 23rd and 25th picks in the first round, should shy away from any trades that result in the team losing one of those picks, stay put, and get two quality players, likely a middle linebacker, a receiver, or maybe a defensive lineman or receiver. The Vikings have 11 picks in the draft so, certainly, they could package a couple picks to move up higher in the first round if they wish. But they shouldn’t mortgage the future to move up a few spots to get someone who’s far from a sure thing.

Don’t be controlled by fear
Fear. Everybody has it, and we'd be kidding ourselves if we say we don't. It could be something small or it could be a fully blown case of some kind of phobia. We often tend to ignore it and over time it will fester until it stops us from functioning normally in our daily routines. There's nothing wrong with a little anxiety, but constant anxiety is dangerous for our health, because it affects us physically. Studies have been done that link anxiety to shorter lives. That's definitely not good. What can we do to minimize our fears? It's all about taking little steps. Write down your fears and why you have them. Take deep breaths whenever you feel the anxiety is getting to you. Talk to friends and family about your concerns. You don't necessarily have to seek professional help right away. Hopefully one day we'll start doing these small things in the hope that we can control our fears and anxiety. Life is too short to let fear control us. Amanda Wagner, Times intern