Thumbs Up/Down - October 5, 2012Thumbs Up: A group of women and merchants came up with a fun way to help Habitat for Humanity by organizing a bridge-brunch event.
Thumbs Down: Candidate forums and debates are an excellent way for office seekers to introduce themselves to voters, state their views on key issues and to demonstrate why they are the most qualified person for the job. The Alexandria Area League of Women Voters has scheduled such an opportunity for Douglas County commissioner candidates on October 23 and for Alexandria City Council and School Board races on October 30. Unfortunately, one or two candidates have indicated that they don’t plan on attending the forum. Under the rules, if they don’t show up, it also squelches their opponent’s chance to speak at the event. We urge any candidates who are thinking about avoiding the event, to reconsider. Voters deserve to know as much about the candidates as possible. Those seeking public office should not be afraid to state their views, speak their mind or confront their opponents.
Limiting free speech
Thumbs Down: An item in the last thumbs editorial drew negative reaction from readers. The thumb, which was submitted by an Alexandria resident, complained about seasonal residents who allow candidates to place political signs in their yards during the campaign seasons when they no longer live here. The resident said it was disrespectful for the seasonal residents to get involved in local political matters. We put the thumb out there to ask readers what they thought. Several readers contacted us to say the seasonal residents have every right to display as many signs as they pleased, saying it was their right of free speech. “The non-residents pay taxes here, too,” noted one reader. “They may not have a vote but they can have a voice. Thumbs up to our freedom of speech.”
Lake Cowdry lessons
Thumbs Up: A possible boating accident on Lake Cowdry was averted this summer, thanks to the quick-thinking actions of Rodney Morton of Miltona. His grandfather, Gary Morton, explained that Rodney gained a reputation as “king of the tube” for the daring rides he requested behind the boat. Other grandkids were soon asking for “Rodney rides” as well and at the end of Olivia and Nick’s turn, a breeze moved the tube toward the back of the boat. “In a flash, Rodney jumped into the water and pushed the children out of harm’s way of the outboard motor,” said Gary. “Even though the motor was in neutral, it’s not a safe place to be. A lesson for grandpa was shut the motor off.”
Bridging the housing gap
Thumbs Up: A group of women and merchants came up with a fun way to help Habitat for Humanity by organizing a bridge-brunch event. Local businesses donated prizes to the 84 people who played bridge. Volunteers helped in the kitchen at First Congregational Church. Arlene Johnson, Priscilla Schultz, Ginny Renslow and Carol Domke, assisted by Dorothy Shinn and Dick Johnson, raised $901.42 for the housing program. “Habitat home recipient Anna Holloway told of her joy at being able to own a home due to help from Habitat for Humanity,” noted Arlene Johnson. “It’s making a big difference in the lives of Anna and her children.”
School bus drivers
Thumbs Up: National School Bus Safety Week is October 15-19. It’s a good time to salute all the bus drivers who do such a commendable job transporting our most precious cargo to and from school five days a week. Studies have shown that taking the school bus decreases truancy and increases the likelihood of children doing well in school, noted U.S. Representative Collin Peterson, who introduced the bill designating the special week. “If half the battle is showing up, then school buses are helping us win that battle,” he said. School buses provide an estimated 10 billion student trips every year, and every school day, more than 480,000 school buses transport 25 million children to and from schools and school-related activities, Peterson added. According to the National Highway Safety Administration, students are nearly eight times safer riding in a school bus than with their own parents and guardians in cars. Others involved in the school transportation system also deserve a thumbs up, including dispatchers, managers, trainers, mechanics and monitors.