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Editorial - Thumbs Up/Down

Christian love in action

Thumbs Up: Churches in Alexandria, as well as others in the community, came together after the sudden death of Pastor Sherry Billberg at her home on March 3. Although she served as a Lutheran pastor, her funeral was held in the spacious sanctuary of St. Mary's Catholic Church to allow more seating for her First Lutheran Church congregation, church officials and members of other congregations where she had formerly served. "We were all together in one place," noted Lillian Schuneman of Carlos. "Also, the ladies from the Calvary Lutheran Church served a delicious lunch at St. Mary's so our ladies did not need to be concerned about hospitality. We truly appreciate these gifts in a time of grieving. We are thankful for all the prayers and concern. This was truly Christian love in action."

Drivers not seeing red

Thumbs Down: Recent glitches at stoplights in Alexandria, such as the one at County Roads 82 and 22, have tested drivers' knowledge of what to do when approaching a malfunctioning light that's blinking red. Too many have flunked the test by sailing right through the intersection without stopping. Remember, if a light is blinking red, treat it as a four-way stop sign.

Treated like royalty

Thumbs Up: Ralph and Pamela Young of Edmonds, Washington recently visited Alexandria for a Unity Foundation speaking engagement. They were impressed with how they were treated. "Although our visit only lasted five days, we came away with wonderful memories that will last a lifetime!" the Youngs said in an e-mail to the newspaper. "We were treated 'like royalty' and as special guests everywhere we went - from your restaurants to your stores and merchants; from your grocery stores and bakery to your churches; from our motel to the local coffee shops. We even asked a city worker to take our photo with Big Ole. What a friendly place! You have a wonderful town and surrounding area. The people make the place and we are grateful to have been with you."

A heartwarming P.S. to duck story

Thumbs Up: Our March 9 story, "Faithful following," that highlighted Shorty Olson of Alexandria who cares for the ducks at Lake Winona on a daily basis has a heart-warming post-script. Olson came into our office the other day and asked how he can show his appreciation to the community for the support he's received since the story was printed. "It's been amazing how much feedback I've gotten," he said. "One guy gave me two 50-pound bags of corn. Lots of people have given me money to buy corn for the ducks. I've gotten lots of phone calls. It's been endless. I appreciate it so much." So do the ducks.

An efficient driving program

Thumbs Up: The Alexandria Senior Center received a much-deserved pat on the back recently. The American Association of Retired Persons (AARP) in Washington, D.C. informed the center that it is one of the top 10 sites in Minnesota for the excellent way it manages its AARP defensive driving program. The center has been hosting the classes since 2005. There are currently six instructors and many are retired schoolteachers - a natural fit. The others come from a background that lends itself to public speaking. Meticulous record keeping keeps the program on track. The center maintains schedules of students, class dates, registration dates, cancellations, rescheduled classes, and since there are 10 different volunteers at the center's front desk each week, they all have to be consistent about it. The proof of the program's success can be gauged by the participation. The national average number of students in the defensive driving class is 19. At the Alexandria Senior Center, there are between 26 and 32. For more information about the defensive driving classes, call (320) 762-2087.

Memorable quote

Thumbs Up: Here's a noteworthy quote, included in a recent e-mail to the newspaper. Motivational speaker Karen Kaiser Clark came up with it: Life is change. Growth is optional. Choose wisely.