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Thumbs Up/Down - July 19, 2013

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POWER CREWS ROCK

Thumbs Up: A line from a 1980s power rock ballad, "don't know what you got 'til it's gone," comes to mind in the aftermath of the bad storm that ripped through the area on June 21, leaving thousands of people without power. The outage impacted more than half of Runestone Electric Association's customers, noted CEO Rick Banke in the cooperative's July newsletter. He doesn't recall such a widespread outage at one time in his 37-year career. Fortunately, electrical crews from throughout the area worked together to restore power as quickly as they could. It was a slow but steady process. In some areas, all they had to deal with was a single tree or branch that knocked down a line, Banke said. Other areas took hours just to clear the line so it could be spliced and raised. The storm broke more than 40 power poles. Finally, in just under three days, power was completely restored. Those hard-working crews deserve a big thumbs up for their heroic efforts. Working in 12 to 16 hour shifts, they got the job done. As Banke noted, "These guys simply don't quit until we tell them they need to get some sleep as safety is always our major concern." He also thanked REA members for their patience. "It's not easy being without power," he said. "We rely on it so much today that its absence really is a hardship. We understand that and it's that understanding that drives us to work as hard as we can to restore power as quickly as possible."

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BASEBALL PARKING ERRORS

Thumbs Down: A Millerville woman sends a "thumbs down" to those who aren't watching where they are parking when they go to watch baseball games. She said that cars are blocking driveways and mailboxes. During one recent game, she had important mail to retrieve but was unable to get to her mailbox because of a vehicle that was parked in front of it.

CREATIVE MOTIVATION

Thumbs Up: The local United Communities Advocating Non-Violence (UCAN) recently e-mailed information about creativity that is worth sharing. It started with a quote from Charles Mingus: "Making the simple complicated is commonplace; making the complicated simple, awesomely simple, that's creativity." Also listed were these 10 life lessons from Albert Einstein: 1. Follow your curiosity. 2. Perseverance is priceless. 3. Focus on the present. 4. The imagination is powerful. 5. Make mistakes. 6. Live in the moment. 7. Create value. 8. Don't expect different results. 9. Knowledge comes from experience. 10. Learn the rules and play better.

SPEEDING GRAVEL TRUCKS

Thumbs Down: An Evansville resident is concerned about gravel truck accidents in the area. Just the other day, she saw a gravel truck sideswipe a large crop sprayer next to Lake Moses on County Road 16 near Lakes Road. "Gravel truck drivers are going too fast, down the middle of roads and are not paying attention," she said.

CARELESS SPRAYING

Thumbs Down: An Alexandria reader appreciated our June 28 editorial that urged people to use care when applying lawn care products. He wishes, however, that his neighbor would have heeded the advice. He said the neighbor used a power sprayer to apply pesticide during windy conditions. The spray drifted over onto his property and he's convinced it caused his sunflowers to quit growing. "They're all hanging limp like a rag," he said. "They're not blossoming like they should." The lesson: Before applying any chemicals on your property, be careful. Think about your neighbors.

HISTORICAL HELP

Thumbs Up: Three members of the Hanson-Russell family in the Twin Cities visited the Douglas County Historical Society on July 15 to research the homesteads of their Swedish great- and great-great-grandparents, Erick Hanson and Peter E. Hanson. They were assisted by Vern Weiss, a volunteer who located each property, the cemeteries where they are buried and their plot locations. He printed off photographs and information from their files, and gave the family a directional map to aid them in their quest to find this piece of their history. "It is with deep appreciation that we were able to locate each of these homesteads, meet the current owners and operators of one of the farms, and visit the cemetery where they were buried," said the family. "It was a delightful day and we would like to thank your community, all of the people past and present who have painstakingly and carefully recorded volumes of history and preserved it at the Historical Society. All of the staff and volunteers were so gracious, friendly and accommodating, which made for an overwhelmingly pleasant and interesting day."

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