Finally Vikings fans get some validation to their suspicions that someone or something was conspiring behind the scenes to make sure they never get to or win a Superbowl. This week NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell suspended, without pay, Saints Head Coach Sean Payton for one year, and their defensive coordinator indefinately, for allowing a system of bounties on opposing quarterbacks and covering up evidence of a bounty system. Players were offered bonuses if they injured and knocked opposing players out of a game. Of course the most infamous victim was Viking's Quarterback Brett Favre, who was seriously injured late in the 2010 NFC Championship Game on a dirty hit by two Saints players. Ironically, Favre returned to the game with an injured ankle but threw a critical interception to lose the game and the shot at the Superbowl for the Vikings. Favre was so injured he was totally ineffective the next season and eventually had to be replaced. I would also like the Saints' Jonathan Vilma, who offered a $10,000 bounty on Favre, punished. The punishment of the Saints doesn't change the winner of the 2010 Superbowl from the Saints to the Vikings, but at least it gives some small measure of justice to the purple faithful. Now if Goodell could only penalize the Republicans in the Minnesota Legislature for playing politics and holding-up a Vikings stadium bill this session.
I've lived in a lot of towns, and Willmar is the doggiest. Everyone has a dog in Willmar...even the dogs have dogs. I am a dog lover, and I am going to try and start the ball rolling on creating a dog park in this town. Many cities and towns have dog parks, even Litchfield. It's a place where you can go and let your dog off-the-leash and run free for a little while, exploring, sniffing pee and visiting with four-legged friends. It's a quality of life issue for a town looking for such amenities. I know there was an initiative a few years ago to put a park at the old wastewater treatment site, but that fizzled. I will be meeting with the Willmar Community Ed and Rec Board next Friday to talk about potential sites, and some of the other needs like fencing and supervision.
The Islamic Society of Willmar is looking at Lafayette Elementary as a site for a mosque and community center. Lafayette was sold by the Willmar School District to First Step Child Care 7 years ago, but First Step closed last fall and the building has been sitting empty. I live a block from there, and would like to see the building being used again, and I think it would make a good place of worship and education. A conditional use permit hearing comes up next week, and I'll let you know how it goes. I plan to testify in favor, but only if there is no outside speakers blaring out a "call to prayer" five times a day. Officials with the Islamic Society will not return my calls and are impossible to get ahold of, so I will have a chance next week to speak to them.
And it's a go...I will be riding my Rans Force 5 recumbant bicycle 500 miles this summer to raise money for Habitat for Humanity. If you'd like to contribute, please send me an email at email@example.com or call me at 214-6627. I need to raise a minimum of $900. Thanks.