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

Volunteer during holidays

    This season brings decorations, specialty foods, family togetherness and the holiday spirit. Those who work look forward to vacation time and kids getting a long break from school. What about those who don't get to enjoy the holidays as much as the rest of us? There are the elderly in retirement homes who might not have a lot of visitors, the homeless at a shelter who need to get back on their feet and animals unadopted at the Humane Society. They don't get a vacation.  It's up to us to remember those who are unfortunate and donate our time to volunteer. Some families might even make it a holiday tradition to give back to the community. There are boxes to be filled at the food bank, animals to be walked at the Humane Society, meals to be served at the homeless shelter and the elderly who just want some company at the retirement homes. It doesn't take much, just your time. When the holiday season comes around, don't forget about all the wonderful opportunities for volunteering there are.

Good luck, Golden Eagle volleyball in the playoffs

    The University of Minnesota Crookston volleyball team qualified for the NSIC Tournament for the first time since the current format started where eight teams advance. The Golden Eagles went into the two-weekend matches knowing they needed to win both to ensure their spot in the postseason. The Golden Eagles swept Winona State Friday and took down Upper Iowa 3-1 Saturday to finished tied for seventh in the standings. A tiebreaker, though, gave them the No. 8 seed and UMC will be facing, not only the top team in the NSIC, the top ranked team in the nation in Concordia-St. Paul. The Golden Bears enter the tournament with a loss after Minnesota Duluth snapped their 25-match win streak in the final regular season match. UMC and C-SP will meet Wednesday in St. Paul, Minn. with the first serve set for 7 p.m. We, at the Times, would like to wish Lee Anderson's squad the best of luck in the postseason.

Be aware of premature births

    Sunday, Nov. 17 was Prematurity Awareness Day. Organizations, such as the March of Dimes, use this day to join with similar organizations and charities in efforts to raise awareness about premature births as well as knowledge on how to prevent them. Prematurity Awareness Day spans not only across the nation but across the world, where annually 15 million babies will be born too soon; one baby dies from premature birth every thirty seconds. Factors, both controllable and uncontrollable, come into play in the survival from premature birth. Only ten percent of babies will die from prematurity in a high income country, while a skyrocketing ninety percent of babies will die from prematurity in a low income country; in retrospect, that means only ten percent, the number that will die in high-income countries, will live in low-income countries. A sheer seventy five percent of deaths can be prevented even without intensive care through nutrition, hygiene and breathing methods and shots. However, none of these options can be used unless there is widespread awareness and, in turn, funding. Whether you know someone who has been through the scary reality of premature birth or simply would like to help in some way, donations, funds and the spread of awareness could and will be a life-changing procedure for women and babies alike.                                       – Torrie Greer, student staff writer

Will you help the Chamber celebrate this Friday?

    It might come as a surprise to some people, but the Crookston Chamber of Commerce conducts only one major fundraiser per year in order to boost its revenue ledger, and it’s the November tradition that’s been known as Crookston’s birthday party, of sorts. It’s been tweaked and it’s morphed over the years and been held at different venues, as this year’s Community Celebration with a “Rockin 50s” theme will be held Friday, Nov. 22 at the Crookston Inn & Convention Center. There is food and drink, silent auctions and live ones and, hopefully, a fair amount of people getting into the spirit enough to don their 1950s regalia. You can still get a ticket to support your Chamber at this event. What else do you have to do on a Friday night in November?

Time to draft another QB very high

    So, now maybe Christian Ponder will no longer play quarterback for the Minnesota Vikings? And that’s not just for the rest of this season, but, ever, right? Sure, the chances of the Vikings beating the mighty Seahawks in Seattle on Sunday were  slim, but one thing an underdog can do to stay in a game it’s not supposed to win is take extra special care of the football. That’s not part of Ponder’s repertoire, however, as he threw two costly picks, one of which was returned for a touchdown. He fumbled earlier in the game as well. His ball security is simply not at the level it needs to be, so teams he quarterbacks don’t win many football games. It’s exciting yet kind of sad to know there are supposedly several promising young quarterbacks in the 2014 NFL Draft. Exciting because a couple of them seem pretty amazing. Sad because we have to use a super high draft pick to draft one of them, because drafting Ponder where the Vikings did, #12 in the first round, was such a colossal mistake.