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Editorial - Thumbs Up/Thumbs Down

'I voted' wearers

Thumbs Up: We give a "thumbs up" to the 21,012 Douglas County citizens who took the time to vote Tuesday. All those who helped out with the election - election judges, the county auditor's office, the people who had a hand in getting the precincts ready for voters - also deserve a shout out. Even with a big turnout, voting still went smoothly in Douglas County. That says something for the process, the election officials and the volunteers. Now that they've had their say at the ballot box, voters can't just unplug from the process, however. They've got to stay connected, work with their elected officials and keep the input flowing until the next election rolls around.

Golf course beauty

Thumbs Up: Although we're getting into the winter season, an Alexandria woman sent us an e-mail saying that it's not too late to give a "thumbs up" to the Alexandria Golf Club and its groundskeepers for such beautiful gardens. "I do not frequent the club, but do enjoy the flowers every day when I drive by," said the e-mailer from Maple Circle.

De-stressing wedding

Thumbs Up: Planning a wedding can be stressful, especially if you're from out of town. But a Perham woman was so impressed with how her daughter's wedding went in Alexandria that she sent us an e-mail brimming with compliments. "From the beautiful facilities to the wonderful service, it was a joy from beginning to end," said Mara Hauer-Priebe. She gave a "thumbs up" to Gina and staff at the Broadway Ballroom; Mindy, Jorden, Krystal and the staff at Hampton Inn and Suites; Lyn's Lasting Memories for decorations; Jodi at Broadway Floral; and Pastor Grant Aaseng at Shalom Lutheran Church. "And finally, thumbs up to all we met along the way; the workers in the fast-food restaurants, malls, gas stations, and discount stores," she said. "You are good people in Alexandria." It's memorable experiences like this that bring out-of-town visitors back for more.

Coming through in the clutch

Thumbs Up: And speaking of above-and-beyond customer service, a Fargo, North Dakota couple is grateful for the rescue they received while traveling through Alexandria. After their car broke down, Matt from Alex/Viking Towing arranged to tow it to Juettner Motors where Rob Wiener came through. "He was very calming, kind and had a good sense of humor," the couple wrote in a letter to the newspaper. Eventually, Matt from Hertz Rental Car delivered a car the couple could use to travel to a conference in Bloomington. "We want to thank these three outstanding employees for their genuine concern, help and professionalism," the couple noted, "and hope that if we experience any vehicle problems in the Alexandria area we can call on these three men again."

Geese explosion

Thumbs Down: Are the geese taking over Noonan Park? One fed-up resident thinks so. He's tired of the mess they leave behind and how dirty the pond has become. "Is the city park for geese or for people?" he asked.

Wayward drivers

Thumbs Down: Drivers should be doing a better job keeping their vehicles on the road instead of bashing into things. A reader said he's noticed the bricks on 3rd and Nokomis by Elden's Food Fair have been struck and damaged, as well as the new landscaping by Caribou Coffee and Taco Bell. Hopefully, repairs will be made soon.

New driver rules/unsafe motorcycling

Thumbs Up/Thumbs Down: A local resident appreciates the new law that limits cell phone use among teen drivers. "It's already shown results to the good," she said. She added that legislators should now get busy on passing laws targeting older motorcycle drivers. Within a one-week period, she saw two unsafe situations. First, she came across an older motorcycle driver on County Road 34 who wasn't wearing a helmet despite the rain and wind. Worse yet, he had only one hand on the handlebars; the other hand was covering his face. "He was weaving all over his lane with little control," she said. The second incident happened on 5th Avenue and Nokomis. An older motorcyclist came to the stop sign too fast and almost flew over his handlebars. He, too, had no helmet and could barely touch his feet to the ground. "Just because they can drive around a parking lot with no problems doesn't mean they are safe drivers," she said. Her suggestion: No motorcycling after age 65. Although we know the woman's statements will be "fightin' words" for some, she does make a valid point that motorcyclists, no matter what their age, should do all they can to avoid becoming a road hazard.

A newspaper's right

Thumbs Up: A couple of readers wrote us anonymous notes saying it was inappropriate or "biased" for the newspaper to endorse candidates. We disagree. At the top of this page, is an important word, "Opinion." An endorsement is just that - an opinion. This newspaper takes a stand on controversial topics and important community issues all the time - how county tax dollars are being spent, where a jail should be located, the need for a sewer project, whether or not a government entity is being open with the public, and on and on. It doesn't make any sense for the newspaper to suddenly fall silent as to which local candidates we believe deserve support at election time.