Thumbs Up/Down - June 15, 2012Thumbs Up: Alexandria School District 206 said good-bye to a very special teacher: Kim Walsh is retiring after 23 years in special education.
A park’s legacy
Thumbs Up: Residents living near Douglas County’s Chippewa Park deserve a thumbs up for taking the initiative years ago to ensure that the scenic and historic property will be enjoyed for generations to come. Yesterday, June 14 marked the park’s 25th anniversary. During that time, it’s been offering residents and visitors a place to relax, have a picnic and soak in the sights and sounds of the beautiful outdoors.
Thumbs Down: A reader sent us a reminder about how to properly display the American flag. For Memorial Day, the flag should be posted at half mast until noon and then raised to the top of the flag pole for the balance of the day. Some places in Alexandria kept the flags at half-mast until well into the evening and likely didn’t change it until the next morning, the reader noted. “Let’s all try harder to follow the rules that create respect for the flag,” said the reader.
A teacher’s inspiration
Thumbs Up: Alexandria School District 206 said good-bye to a very special teacher: Kim Walsh is retiring after 23 years in special education. Her daughter-in-law, Becky said that Walsh has been a source of encouragement and inspiration for her and others. “Through many trials and tribulations she has endured with strength and composure. And even after the devastating passing of her precious daughter, Courtney in 2006, she persevered and chose to continue on her teaching journey,” Becky said. Walsh is always going out of her way to show her loving and kind spirit, Becky said. “I am positive that her students, their parents, and other staff are grateful for her faithful service,” she said. “I cannot imagine the number of lives she has encouraged and touched over the years.”
Thrivent’s community commitment
Thumbs Up: On May 31, Brad Hewitt, president and CEO of Thrivent Financial, a Fortune 300 company, came to Alexandria for the dedication of the Thrivent Financial Healing Gardens at Grand Arbor. Thrivent generously donated $100,000 to the Grand Arbor project. Hewitt was also here to dedicate the eighth home in Alexandria that Thrivent has built with Habitat for Humanity. “As a not for profit membership organization, Thrivent members create the funds donated for charities like these by getting their financial services through Thrivent representatives,” said a proud Thrivent member. “What a win, win for Alexandria!”
Noonan Park’s serenity/trashy behavior
Thumbs Up/Down: Alexandria is fortunate to have such a beautiful gem as Noonan Park. A resident noted that the park has been a sanctuary for his family — somewhere to visit nature amid a chaotic day. “Recently, however, our visit didn’t bring that sense of serenity; it brought more of a heavy heart, even for our two young children,” the resident said. “The flower garden was still well maintained, the fountain still beautiful and the grass still manicured. However, when it came to the water itself, it seemed so neglected. Weeds, slime and muck spread a good couple feet from shore into the water, amongst which floated trash, soda cans, and even a dead duck swarming with flies.” We know there’s not a lot that can be done about the mucky water and weed growth. It’s impossible to keep the water sparkling clean. But park visitors should not be adding to the problem by throwing their trash in the pond. That’s just plain lazy and selfish behavior.
Voyager pick-up problems
Thumbs Down: We received this too late to get in before school ended but it’s something to keep in mind next fall. A student at Voyager Elementary School is concerned about parents who pick up their children at the end of the school day. They’ve been driving over the grass in front of the school and being disrespectful. Safety is also a concern. “Many kids walk to their parents’ cars across the parking lot and parents come barreling through,” the student said. “It’s an accident waiting to happen.” Also, people are leaving their cars unattended while picking up their children and are blocking the pick-up lane. “It’s ridiculous!” the student said. “Kids’ lives are at risk in that parking lot…I hope a change happens soon and this issue won’t happen again next year.”
Health care heroes
Thumbs Up: Here’s a special salute to two lines of work that don’t get the recognition and appreciation they deserve. March 28 was Health Care Volunteer Day in Minnesota. The Health Care Auxiliary of Minnesota (HCAM) requested the special day and had an event at the state Capitol that drew more than 80 health care volunteers from across the state. HCAM represents more than 23,000 volunteers who serve more than 100 hospitals and aging services care centers. They put in more than 1.5 million hours of service, valued at more than $32 million. HCAM volunteers also raised more than $5.4 million to fund projects that improve the quality of health care. Well done! Also, June 14 was National Nursing Assistants Day. The Ecumen Bethany Community has career nursing assistants who have been caring for residents for years. “They do not do this work for the pay; they do this work for personal satisfaction,” noted Randee Hall, director of resident services. “This type of work takes a person with a special heart.”