Thumbs Up and Down – Views by the Echo Press January 27Thumbs Up: Too often, news is dominated by tragic stories of crime, violence, scandals and disasters. It’s bad enough to make people give up trying to find the goodness in others or stop lending a helping hand to others for fear they’ll have their fingers bitten off. Let’s turn things around.
Thumbs Up: We give an advance “thumbs up” to all those who know that February 7 isn’t just another Tuesday. They have it already circled on their calendars as caucus night. The 2012 caucuses will take place across the state. They’re organized by the political parties to select local people to run the upcoming elections, draft resolutions, discuss candidates running for state and federal offices and elect delegates to represent the precinct and other conventions. This time around, those attending the Republican caucuses will conduct a presidential ballot or straw poll, which promises to be interesting considering how hotly contested the race is at the moment. The Douglas County Republicans will meet at Jefferson High School cafeteria in Alexandria starting at 7 p.m., and local DFLers will gather at the Alexandria Technical College, Room 743 starting with sign-in at 6:30 p.m. Plan to attend and contribute to the process.
Thumbs Down: Now that winter is really here, it’s maddening to see some people are still driving as if it’s summer. They’re going way too fast, tail-gating way too closely, forgetting to turn on their headlights at dusk, and not giving themselves enough time where they need to go. There have been several crashes and incidents of vehicles sliding off the roadway in the past couple of weeks. None have resulted in serious injuries. Yet.
Alcohol compliance checks
Thumbs Up/Down: It was good to hear that 16 bars in Alexandria refused to serve alcohol to an underage person when the Douglas County Sheriff’s Office conducted a state-required compliance check last month. It shows they take their responsibility seriously. But on the other hand, it was disappointing that nine local businesses flunked the check. Anyone who takes a job at a place that sells alcohol should know that their top priority is to verify the age of those who order a drink. It varies from case to case where the blame should be placed – with the employee or management – but having only 64 percent of the bars pass the compliance check shows plenty of room for improvement. It’s good to know that the businesses that failed will have to go through mandatory training. Let’s hope 100 percent pass the checks the next time around.
B/E academic pairing
Thumbs Up: We give a “thumbs up” to the school boards in Brandon and Evansville for looking into the possibilities of improving their academic pairings. The goals are good – giving students more elective options and better access to school staff; reducing the movement of students and staff between buildings; and improving the efficiencies of the districts. No decisions have been made yet about which buildings will house which grades but school leaders plan to put elementary and middle school students in one building and elementary school and high school into another. Public meetings will take place Tuesday, February 7 in the Evansville gym and on Wednesday, February 8 in the Brandon gym. Both meetings will start at 7 p.m. Residents in those districts should attend and give their feedback.
Coaxing a little kindness
Thumbs Up: Too often, news is dominated by tragic stories of crime, violence, scandals and disasters. It’s bad enough to make people give up trying to find the goodness in others or stop lending a helping hand to others for fear they’ll have their fingers bitten off. Let’s turn things around. We should always be thinking about how we can help make someone else’s day go better – even if it takes just a little extra effort. February 12-18 has been proclaimed “Random Acts of Kindness Week” in Alexandria. According to the proclamation, put together by the Alexandria Kiwanis, residents are encouraged to “participate in spreading kindness and practicing respect, generosity, patience and consideration of others at all times in order to create a better, kinder, safer and more peaceful city.” Of course, it’d be ideal if residents would practice this sort of behavior year-round but a week’s worth of kindness is a good start.