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Thumbs Up/Thumbs Down: Views by the Echo Press

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CRIME/LAW ENFORCEMENT

Thumbs Down/Up: It’s been a bad, tragic week for crime in Douglas County. A deputy shot and two suspects found dead. An armed robbery at a Subway restaurant. A high-speed chase involving a stolen truck that ended in a rollover. A burglary at the Douglas County Animal Hospital. This is, of course, on top of the full slate of incidents that local law enforcement responds to on a daily basis – car crashes, domestic situations, juvenile trouble, thefts, alcohol-related crimes, neighbor disputes, medical calls, trespassing complaints, warrant serving and more. Nine TV cameras were trained on Douglas County Sheriff Troy Wolbersen when he spoke at a news conference about the shooting Tuesday afternoon. Yes, the big crimes grab attention, as they should. But in the wash of the media spotlight, it’s easy to overlook the day-to-day assignments our deputies and officers carry out, often putting themselves in harm’s way. In the past week, the sheriff’s office and police department responded to 545 incidents. We should remember, too, all the others in our local law enforcement branch, the dispatchers, the jailers and support staff. They work together to keep us all safe.

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COUNCIL GETS IT RIGHT

Thumbs Up: Alexandria City Council members should be commended for not bowing to pressure from the League of Minnesota Cities (LMC) that was seeking support for a resolution that would ultimately remove public notices from newspapers. If passed by the Legislature, cities would be allowed to publish notices on their websites “instead of, or in addition to, in an official newspaper.” The Douglas County Board supported a similar resolution, pushed by the Association of Minnesota Counties, on a 3-2 vote last week. A few readers have given a “thumbs down” to that decision. One reader noted, “Not everyone is so computer literate that they will search the Web for this information.” At Monday’s council meeting, Mayor Sara Carlson pointed out that the city already has the ability to put public notices on its website in addition to the Echo Press and didn’t need this resolution. Council member Virgil Batesole noted that he’s heard from many constituents, including those without computer access, who want to continue to see the notices in the newspaper. Batesole said he would even support a measure that would ensure the notices remain in newspapers in order to inform the most amount of citizens. The council took no action on LMC’s request and moved on. The Legislature should do the same.

WHY NOT USE THE BUS?

Thumbs Down: Here’s a thumbs we’d like some feedback on. A resident is frustrated why so many parents feel the need to personally drive their children to school every morning and pick them up in the afternoon when schools provide buses. “Yeah, I know there are times when kids need to be picked up for a dental appointment or something but this is clearly not the case anymore,” he said. “Schools are absolutely clogged with parents’ SUVs picking up their kids every day! Are we that numb to climate change and/or the efficient use of school systems?” Does he have a point? Parents, let us know what you think. Send an e-mail to aedenloff@echopress.com.

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