- Associated Press - Tuesday, August 11, 2020

Madison Daily Leader, Aug. 5

It doesn’t get more basic than good food

When it comes to human needs, it doesn’t get any more important than good food. And we’re glad to see Lake County organizations focusing intently on that basic need.

Recent editions of the Daily Leader had stories about the conclusion of Madison Central School District’s summer sack-lunch program, Lake County Food Pantry and the United Methodist Church’s Gathering meal.

We applaud all those who support these organizations as volunteers or contributors.

The school district’s summer lunch program, new this year as a response to the COVID-19 outbreak, needed volunteers to help with the distribution. The food pantry is managed by a volunteer board, accepts donations of food and money to operate, and uses a portion of the Presbyterian Church as its food storage facility. The Gathering is sponsored by the Methodist Church, which provides the space and volunteers, and is further supported by hundreds of volunteers from dozens of organizations to serve each week.

We see only good things happening with all of these programs: nutrition, satisfaction, fellowship and support. While many people have never been in a position of needing donated meals to survive, we know that many people need exactly what these programs are providing. And they need it every day, week or month.

We recognize that there are other programs sponsored by governments, like SNAP and WIC, that help people. But there is something extra about neighbors helping neighbors that benefits the recipients, volunteers and donors. The person-to-person element, combined with food, makes the connection so valuable.

We’re glad to see these organizations succeed in their efforts and thank them for the work they’ll do in the future.


Yankton Daily Press & Dakotan, Aug. 10

College football and a deeper impact

Unfortunately, it feels a little like mid-March again when COVID-19 began scrambling our lives. That included the national sports events we enjoy watching, which fell like dominoes back then: the NBA, the NHL, baseball, the NCAA basketball tournaments …

Five months later, we’re starting to see this again with colleges, which are gradually pushing back their fall seasons by several weeks or postponing them altogether to spring.

College football, the billion-dollar elephant in this room, is also facing the reality of COVID America.

Last Friday, the Missouri Valley Football Conference - of which both the University of South Dakota and South Dakota State University are members - announced the postponement of its fall campaign to next spring. The league joined an increasing number of FCS (Football Championship Subdivision) schools, as well as NCAA Division II and others, to announce such a move. As USD athletic director David Herbster said in a social media video, the NCAA declared that postseason competition could happen this fall for the FCS only if at least 50% of the schools agreed to it, but it was clear that was not going to happen.

Technically, there could still be a truncated fall season comprised of a few non-conference games. That’s being left up to the schools.

As of this writing, rumors are swirling that the biggest colleges may follow suit. The Big 10 - one of the so-called Power 5 conferences (along with the Big 12, the SEC, the ACC and the Pac-12) at the heart of college football - is reportedly leaning toward postponement. If enough of those FBS (Football Bowl Subdivision) schools go, college football this fall is effectively done.

Yes, the loss of fall football games may seem a minor hindrance compared to other COVID-related pains, but such a move would mean a lot more than un-played games.

It would certainly mean a lot for the student-athletes involved, who had already commenced drills for the fall season. Their work and their careers may be put on hold with no clear path forward.

It would also mean a lot to the colleges and communities that rely on football as an economic driver. College football is a cash cow that generates copious amounts of revenue. The loss of these games means the loss of fans coming to town to buy tickets, to eat at local restaurants or to stay at local hotels/motels. For towns like Vermillion and Brookings, this could be a major hit to their bottom lines. (It could also impact Yankton, which gets some spillover business from Vermillion during the college football season.) And it would also hurt the vendors and others that bank on these games as part of their business.

Should the FBS leagues postpone, imagine what the postponement of a season of University of Nebraska football (a Big 10 member) would do to the bottom lines in Lincoln and Omaha (as well as the state). Imagine the impact it would have on workers at businesses that rely on that fan money each autumn.

It feels like March, to be sure, when so much changed as COVID-19 began strangling the nation. The cost of our inability to contain the novel coronavirus is being felt in many places and on many levels. College football is just one victim, but the economic pain would be felt by many, many people.

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