The newsroom weighs in on this week's top five things they'd like to see happen locally or around the world.

Fun fall planting!

    Once the Summer Solstice has passed and the days are getting shorter, it's time to start thinking about fall planting. Fall planting can be very rewarding, especially for newer home owners who don't have a lot of color or greenery around their house. It can also mean tough work. Daffodils, lilies and tulips are the most popular choice for fall planting, but you can really plant whatever you'd like because it will just extend the growing season. When you figure out what you want to plant and where, getting down in the dirt is the next step. If it rained the day before, be thankful that you will at least have some moist ground to work with.  Once you have your plants situated, the surrounding landscaping is the last step. This can also be the hardest step, especially if you are a "do-it-yourself" kind of person who doesn't want to spend a lot of money on materials. Sure, there are home improvement pages you can look up on the internet and pictures galore, but how do you make it look as nice? Sometimes you need to step back, accept that you did your best and hope your plants grow wild in the Spring so your odd landscaping gets covered.

Support United Way event

    People are predictably saying all the things they’d typically say this time of the morning. “Oh, I can’t believe it’s only 7:30 and it’s already dark.” Or, “I can’t believe it’s so dark when we wake up.” Or, “It’s so cold and it’s only October!” All could be taken in a depressing manner, until you hear the one spoken in the Times office last week: “I can’t believe the United Way cookoff is next week!” That particular sentence was spoken in excited fashion, and not with dread, with good reason. The United Way of Crookston’s Soup & Chili Cookoff and Chocolate Extravaganza is Tuesday evening in the Crookston High School commons. It’s a huge fundraiser for the agency that is on a roll in Crookston, thanks to a swell in community support. So take the night off from cooking in the kitchen, grab the family and come on out. There’s something for everyone and the cookoff, and if the United Way is successful again, there will be something for just about anyone who needs a little assistance.

Time to enhance your knowledge of college

    Did you know that October is College Knowledge Month? Schools around the nation are helping high school seniors to become acquainted with their quickly-approaching future, the financial options for attending college and the process for filling out lengthy, often times confusing forms. Crookston High School is helping prospective seniors do just that. With advisors from UMC and employees from CHS, students will be able to fill out applications to any college they choose; during College Knowledge Month, any and all application fees are waived. The stressful burden of not only knowing what you want to do or where to go but how to get there is lightened a little by this opportune month. With November following as National Scholarship Month, it is important to jump on the college bandwagon to expand your chances for college acceptance and scholarships. Prospective graduates-- it's time to take advantage of every resource, tool and time allotment you have. The future is quickly approaching with a tidal wave of paperwork, bank loans and information, and the amount of work you put in now will only pay off in the end. Work hard so that you may be successful later-- you'll thank yourself later. Parents-- help your children in whatever they need to do in this crazy application season. We're all busy with different schedules and things, but it's important to take time to carefully fill out forms and help in whatever way possible to ensure a bright future for parents and children alike.                                                     -Torrie Greer

Something needs to be done with Ed Widseth Field

    The video, shot by Times Sports Editor Derek Martin, is triumphant in nature. It shows the closing seconds of the UMC Golden Eagles football Homecoming victory Saturday over Bemidji State University at Ed Widseth Field…or what’s left of it. A couple soaked, muddy Golden Eagles take off their helmets and sprint into the mud, where they fall on their stomachs and butts, and slide like they’re kids playing on the neighbor’s slip and slide on a 90 degree summer afternoon. But these players were sliding on a field that, yet again, is basically ruined near the end of a football season that has it shared by both Golden Eagle and Crookston Pirate football. The night before UMC Homecoming, at Pirate Homecoming, an intense, hard-hitting game was played in a misty rain, and everyone could tell that a field in nasty shape would be waiting UMC the next day. Twice in recent years, the Pirates have had to sacrifice a home playoff game to play at a neutral site because the field has been in such rough shape. The Pirates likely won’t host a home playoff game this year, but both teams do have home games left, and their field is a mess. UMC is trying to raise money to have an artificial surface installed that would hold up better to the elements and, specifically, when hard-fought football games are played in those elements. Maybe it’s time UMC ramps up its fund-raising effort with a big publicity push.

Some hope with Freeman?

    Since 2005 fans of the Minnesota Vikings have been waiting impatiently for the next franchise quarterback to come along. Since Daunte Culpepper's last start in a Purple uniform the Vikings have gone through ten different starting quarterbacks. Josh Freeman will soon be added to that list as he signed with the Vikings Sunday after being released by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. At 25 years old, Freeman has the chance to lead the Vikings to the promised land. Or, he has the chance to join the ranks of Tarvaris Jackson and Christian Ponder. Since entering the league in 2009, Freeman has thrown 66 interceptions, second most in the NFL. He does have 80 touchdowns to his name, though, which is respectable. Time will tell if Freeman is successful in a Vikings uniform but not too much time. The clock is ticking on the careers of Adrian Peterson, Jared Allen and other key Vikings players.