I wish I could have been there last weekend.

After a brief conversation in the local school parking lot Feb. 26 my desire to make a trip to the cities increased dramatically. I wanted to be there when history was made.

That conversation was with Redwood Valley senior Kaleb Haase the day before he would travel to compete in his third state wrestling tournament.

I have had a lot of conversations with Kaleb over the years and have always appreciated the chance to just talk with him. Kaleb is a good kid.

I recall him as a middle-school student – smart and overachieving.

Then I started hearing about his athletic prowess, whether it was on the football field or the wrestling mat.

So, when I had that brief encounter with him in the parking lot I wished him good luck.

After two fifth-place finishes at state, for some reason I knew this was going to be his year.

So, I told him that.

While I worked that Friday (Feb. 28), I have to admit my heart was not in it. I was distracted just wanting to know how he was doing. I think from 9 a.m. until I left the office to go to the school a little after 1:30 p.m. I visited the Minnesota State High School League Web site 100 times.

Saturday was no different, although I did not have ready access to the Internet. So I relied on others.

I did not find out he had won until my Amos told me when he and my Anna got home from playing pep band at the boys basketball game. He told me they set up the match on the scoreboard in the gym after the boys game, and if you watched the video on the school’s Web site you know a good crowd of people stayed to watch.

Although it was hours after he had won, I watched it and got a little choked up when I saw just how excited Kaleb, and everyone else, had been in that moment.

Congratulations, Kaleb, all of those hours in the wrestling room paid off.

Hopefully I’ll be able to watch you compete at the next level.

I have to say I was very impressed with the turnout at the recent human trafficking information meeting held at the American Legion here in town. When I arrived there for the 7 a.m. presentation I was not sure what to expect.

In fact, I was pretty sure attendance would be low.

So, when I walked in and saw local community leaders representing everything from education and faith to business I was pleasantly surprised.

What I know is that this is a serious issue that even more people need to learn about in our community, because it is happening here. I have heard the horror stories of local families who have experienced the harsh reality of human trafficking. Most of them are completely oblivious.

I am hoping that we as a community can move forward with more awareness opportunities to continue to spread the word and to send the message that we care enough to do something. 

Talk to your kids. Find out what they are doing. Look for the warning signs. Get involved.

When the 2020-21 school year begins next September students will be starting eight days into the month. Yes, Sept. 8 is the first day schools that have not adopted a flexible schedule are allowed to start school.

I am willing to admit I was more than a little disappointed that schools had not been given the chance to start earlier in the month - even just a few days.

Had the state legislature approved a bill allowing for an exception, schools could have started this year the week prior to Labor Day, although that start date would still have been in September.

As you all know I was a huge fan of the flexible learning schedule, not for me, but because of what I observed in the lives of my kids.

I continue to be hopeful that one day the state legislature will do the right thing for students by allowing schools to start the year when they believe is the right time for them.