Thumbs Up and Down – Views by the Echo Press May 18, 2012Thumbs Up: It’s refreshing to see young people getting involved in politics. The Pope County Tribune recently profiled such an instance: 17-year-old Connor Doebbert was one of 13 high school students from across the state who participated in the Minnesota House of Representatives High School Page Program.
Thumbs Up: Another study underscores the vital role newspapers play in today’s ever-changing digital era. Conducted for the National Newspaper Association by Frank N. Magid Associates Inc., the study showed that 75 percent of all Internet users rely on newspaper media – digital as well as print – as key sources of news and information, and that they are engaging with their favorite newspaper sources across multiple platforms. Major findings of the survey show that among the large base of Internet users who engage with newspaper media, 54 percent are using more than one platform to access newspaper content, with 80 percent including print in their personal mix. In fact, 67 percent use one of three common digital platforms – desktop computer, smart phone or tablet.
Putting people to work
Thumbs Up: Helping people find jobs without wasting taxpayers’ dollars. Now that’s an accomplishment. Rural Minnesota CEP, Inc. (RMCEP) did it. It was named the State of Minnesota Provider of the Year, based on its commitment to quality customer service and responsibility with taxpayer investments. It was also based on the agency’s ability to generate strong and consistent results in a large area of the state that includes challenging economic and demographic trends. RMCEP is a private non-profit WorkForce Center partner that is located in eight WorkForce Centers in Northwest Minnesota, including here in Alexandria. Each has information on job openings and offers a variety of workshops on job search techniques, resume writing and interviewing. There are computers with Internet access, telephones, printers, copiers and fax machines for customers use. RMCEP can also help employers by posting their job openings and hosting job fairs where employers can access large numbers of job seekers at once.
Thumbs Up: It’s reassuring to know that the concept of making friends in the “real world” – not just behind a computer screen – is still alive and well. Leona Schneider of Alexandria relayed her experience: As she and her husband were leaving a local restaurant on a Sunday morning, she stopped at a nearby table, touched a woman on her shoulder and complimented her on her beautiful hair. The woman thanked her, took her hand and said that she and her husband had just moved here from Jamestown, North Dakota. After visiting some more, the couples found out they lived only a few blocks apart. As it turned out, they liked playing cards and they shared stories about different games. “After exchanging a few more pleasantries, she told about her husband playing accordion and guitar, and he then joined in the conversation, telling us he had some CDs in the car he would give us,” Schneider said. “That let to exchanging phone numbers and making plans to get together again soon. Interesting how when you extend a hand in friendship, you can become instant friends.”
Postal pothole problem
Thumbs Down: The potholes in the parking lot at the Alexandria Post Office have been the subject of a thumbs down in the past and it’s back again. A reader sent us a note saying, “Driving through that parking lot just to mail a letter is like driving through a mine field.” Repairs should be made soon.
Crossing the line
Thumbs Down: We hope this is one of those isolated incidents or maybe just a case of someone having a bad day, but one of our reporters came across some very rude behavior while out on the trail last week. She stopped to take a photo and was yelled at by a young man using foul language who demanded to know why she was taking a photo – even though it was not of him and it was on a public trail. There would have been nothing wrong with politely asking what she was photographing but the swearing and rudeness crossed the line. What happened to Minnesota Nice?
Young people in politics
Thumbs Up: It’s refreshing to see young people getting involved in politics. The Pope County Tribune recently profiled such an instance: 17-year-old Connor Doebbert was one of 13 high school students from across the state who participated in the Minnesota House of Representatives High School Page Program. The experience gave him hands-on access to state government in action and a chance to assist legislators on the House floor. He told the Pope County Tribune that the partisan split between the parties seems much wider on camera than in person. “When someone is on camera, it seems like they act a lot more partisan,” said Connor. “When they’re off camera, you’ll see two people kind of getting into an argument on the House floor and then as soon as the debate is over, one of them will send a message to the other one or even walk over to their desk…It’s much more human.” Connor’s interest in politics runs in the family: His father, Belvin, was a full-time page back in 1979 and his mother, JoEllen, also worked at the Capitol. In fact, they met each other there. For more information on the page program, go to the website, www.house.leg.state.mn.us.