Thumbs Up and Down – Views by the Echo Press December 30A reader sends a thumbs up for the Jefferson High School Christmas Concert. “It was also so nice to see that it can still be called a Christmas concert in this area and feature traditional music as well as some fun songs and a very unique song that had African roots,” the reader said.
Sidewalk safety decision
Thumbs Up: A plan to make the streets and sidewalks safer near Lincoln Elementary School earned a $268,432 grant from the state. Active Living Douglas County prepared the application and the Alexandria City Council voted to proceed with the project at its meeting Monday night, despite opposition from some of those living in the neighborhood who believe the sidewalks are unnecessary and the project would wreck landscaping in their yards. They’re also not happy about having to maintain the sidewalks by keeping them clear of snow. If you look at the big picture, this is a worthwhile project for the city to pursue. Besides sidewalks, it will provide additional crosswalks, stop signs and better street lighting around the school – all at no charge to the city and without any assessments to the residents. In addition to making the neighborhood safer, the improvements will make it easier for more students to walk or bike to school, encouraging physical fitness along the way. The city council made the right call in seizing this opportunity.
Exploited at repair shop
Thumbs Down: A reader sent us an e-mail with a strong message: If you take your vehicle in for repairs, get an estimate and don’t let the business stick you for paying too much for parts you don’t need. She took her van in to replace an alternator and was told that she also needed a new serpentine belt tensioner, which hiked her bill to nearly $600. She paid it but decided to check other repair shops in town. Based on an average of six estimates, she said she was overcharged $162.59. The original repair shop later acknowledged that she had been overcharged for labor but only by $60. “Bottom line, if I was provided an estimate upon request, I would have hired someone else,” she said. “To top it all off, I brought my old tensioner to a couple of businesses in town and was informed that the tensioner was perfectly fine…I felt exploited…Be sure to get an estimate or decline the service, even by a supposedly trustworthy local business.”
Ice storm helpers
Thumbs Up: A Miltona woman encountered some Good Samaritans during a recent rain/ice storm, which caused her car to slide into a ditch. Within a couple of minutes, three young men in a pickup stopped and, equipped with a long tow rope, pulled the car out without any damage. The woman thanked them and offered to pay them for their help but they refused. One later commented that they were just being Good Samaritans. “And that they were!” said the woman.
Carolers touched lives
Thumbs Up: Tam Bukowski said the community is blessed to have a group of young adults with integrity and professionalism – the Jefferson Carolers, under the direction of Steve Dietz. They recently performed for Aktion Club, a service organization for adults with disabilities in Alexandria. The club looks forward to their performance every year, Bukowski said. Usually the Alexandria Technical and Community College Auditorium is filled with 40 to 50 club members. However, due to poor weather conditions and safety travel concerns, only 14 members were allowed to attend. “This didn’t matter to the Jefferson Carolers; they performed a rollercoaster of melodious holiday songs as though they were singing to a packed house,” Bukowski said. “They made each Aktion Clubber feel special by honoring them with their amazing musical gifts…You touched our lives. We thank you from the bottom of our hearts and we cherished your music and your humor.”
Noteworthy Christmas concert
Thumbs Up: And on the topic of Christmas caroling, a reader sends a thumbs up for the Jefferson High School Christmas Concert. “It was also so nice to see that it can still be called a Christmas concert in this area and feature traditional music as well as some fun songs and a very unique song that had African roots,” the reader said. “All in all, a wonderful 80 minutes under the direction of Mr. Lambrecht and Mr. Dietz, and so much talent on display by these young people – they really do not sound like high school musicians.”
Making Christmas merrier
Thumbs Up: The First Congregational United Church of Christ Christmas Dinner Committee thanks all those who helped make the dinner a success last week. “We served 330 meals,” said members in an e-mail. “We especially appreciate donations from Hormel, Cass Clay, Douglas County Dairy Association, Roers Family Bakery, Pete's County Market, Elden's Foods, the Church of St. Mary and First Lutheran Church. On Christmas Day alone, there were more than 80 community and church volunteers working to make Christmas merrier for so many.”
Icy walk tip
Thumbs Up: Here’s a tip a reader passed along: “After slipping on the ice while checking my mail, it occurred to me if I was seriously hurt, I might have been unable to get up. If one carries their car alarm control with them, they could set it off and get some attention from a neighbor or passerby.” He added that taking your keys with you when you walk away from your car is also a good idea in case the door locks behind you.