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December 1, 2012
The Journal

Season for helping

THUMBS UP: This Christmas season is more than a time for decorating and shopping in anticipation of holiday celebrations. It is also a time, as Scrooge's nephew Fred said in "A Christmas Carol," "...when men and women seem by one consent to open their shut-up hearts freely, and to think of people below them as if they really were fellow-passengers to the grave, and not another race of creatures bound on other journeys."

There are many opportunities for people to give and help others at this time of year -? donating to the New Ulm Food Shelf; the Kiwanis Coats for Kids program; the Sertoma Club's Santa's Closet; the Jaycees Christmas Baskets program. There are youth groups caroling and visiting senior citizens, church groups finding ways to help the less fortunate, people ringing bells for the Salvation Army... the opportunities are endless.

So, we offer a big thumbs up to all those who are looking beyond themselves and their families to find a way to spread Christmas joy.

Coach's ordeal

THUMBS UP: A Blue Earth County judge dismissed charges of child pornography against Minnesota State University-Mankato football coach Todd Hoffner on Friday. Hoffner has been fighting the charges since questionable videos of his children were found on his university-provided cell phone in August.

Hoffner has maintained that the brief videos, made in June after his had taken a bath, were innocent, playful recordings of his kids goofing around. Prosecutors said the videos went beyond innocent and playful.

Judge Krista Jass ruled that the videos did not rise to the level of a sexual performance or pornographic work.

We tend to agree. From the descriptions, it sounds as if the videos were immodest and inappropriate, perhaps. They were red flags worthy of a followup investigation, but by themselves were not close to what most people think of when they hear the awful phrase "child pornography."

Hoffner now faces the hard prospect of putting this behind him and getting on with his life. It will be hard, if not impossible, to erase the damage done. He may harbor feelings about overzealous prosecutors, but it is hard to fault authorities for erring on the side of protecting children.

Middle school sale

THUMBS UP: School District 88 is moving closer to selling the former Middle School building that now serves as the District Administrative Center. The District 88 School Board will be meeting Dec. 6 in a closed session to consider the purchase agreement with Eagle Development, LLC.

It will be good for the district to get the sale completed, and the planned development for the site will provide some much needed senior housing in the city.



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