We’re going to use a different approach for this Saturday’s editorial. There isn’t one overwhelming issue we want to address today, but there are some points worth making that don’t demand a big space. So we’re giving you a couple bite-sized editorials today to clear them out.

As always, thanks for reading.

Thank you volunteers

Spring is one of the most beautiful times of the year in southeast Iowa. And, after a winter like the one we had this time, it’s a genuine pleasure to just look outside and see the green grass, leaves filling in, and flowers beginning to bloom.

Spring is also, though, when the trash that accumulated over the winter becomes more obvious. It’s not (usually) intentional. But when that wrapper or bag gets away from you in a 25 mph wind that puts the wind chill at -15, it’s hard to get up the enthusiasm to chase it down. So it sits wherever it gets caught until the spring rolls around.

Make Ottumwa Shine has made a difference each spring for years. The familiar purple trash bags are a visible commentary on the desire of out community’s residents to pitch in and do the necessary work. The effort involves as wide a range of people as you could ask for. Organized groups and solo volunteers all help collect the winter’s debris and make the spring that much more pleasant.

While Make Ottumwa Shine officially wraps up today, we hope people understand the thought behind it doesn’t have to end. There’s no time limit on making a difference, on taking just a few moments to pick up that bit of trash and making sure it’s not cluttering up our landscape.

And if you’re looking for a way to get involved, they could use a hand at the library beginning at 9 a.m. If the rain proves too much to work through, they’ll be back next Saturday.

Take me out to the ballgame

With spring sports well underway, we’re happy to see the Little League players finally have the chance to get out on their fields.

For many people the games of their youth still stand as treasured memories. Very few of us wind up playing sports professionally, so those one or two moments in the spotlight as a child may be as close as we ever got.

There’s tremendous value for youth sports when the participants have the right coaches. They can learn teamwork, how to handle tough moments and take constructive criticism, and what it takes to be gracious in victory and defeat.

We hope spectators remember that it’s a game, though. Youth sports face a crisis with fewer referees and umpires signing up or returning to their sports. And much of the blame is falling on fan behavior. The trend is showing up at higher levels as well.

You’re not going to have a game if you don’t have officials. So use some decorum. We’re not suggesting fans sit on their hands silently. But there’s a big difference between groaning at a pitch called a strike when it was two inches off the dirt and continually berating officials. They’re doing their best, just like the players.

Go out, cheer and have fun. But let’s not let the moment get the better of ourselves.

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