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Thumbs Up/Down - August 16, 2013


Thumbs Up/Down: Here's a thumbs item we'd like to have readers debate: Are the efforts against smoking going too far? Should those who smoke be turned down a job because of it? The person who contacted us about the issue is a healthcare professional who is a smoker. He was turned down a professional opportunity because of his choice to smoke during a break he had while training. "This was in no way discrimination by my employer as the decision was made directly by the consumer," he said. "However, it was still a slap in the face. Rather than being evaluated for my performance and skills, I was labeled as a scum-of-the-earth-smoker and automatically disregarded as a prospect for the job...As a healthcare worker, I am very well aware of the harmful effects of smoking, but it's a personal choice that has nothing to do with my character or professionalism." The person said although smoking is a poor and unhealthy choice, it's not illegal, "so why are we treated as if we've committed a crime every time we light-up? If you don't like it, that's fine, but turn your judgments on yourselves for every bad choice you've ever made." We'd like readers to weigh in on this one for a follow-up thumbs item.


Thumbs Up: Partnerships are essential for a healthy community, which was demonstrated once again at Alexandria's Community Night Out at City Park on August 6. On behalf of the men and women of the Alexandria Police Department and the city of Alexandria, Chief Rick Wyffels gives a "thumbs up" to key contributors of the event, including WalMart, Eagles Lodge, Target, Viking Coca Cola, Henry's Foods, Culvers, Paul's Small Engine, Pete's County Market, Bernick's Pepsi, KXRA AM/FM and Z99. The event drew more than 500 residents who enjoyed a picnic type environment with family, friends, and fun, and also learned about city government, police enforcement and what kind of services are available to them. The chief also thanked the mayor, city council, city departments and the organizations that partner with the city for making the event a great success. "It takes work to put on an event like this, but I assure you that it is worth every ounce because of the partnerships that are created along the way and the commitment that many people give to help make this a success."


Thumbs Up: Mary Anderson, president of the local Blue Star Mothers, gives a "thumbs up" to the four National Guard members who helped replace some of the worn and tattered yellow ribbons along Broadway. "Thank you to National Guards: Horlocker, Keiger, Lynch and Ostlund," she said. "It was a great service to the Blue Star Mothers."


Thumbs Up: Sometimes, it's the little things that matter. Like watermelon seeds. Edith Waller of Alexandria sent a "thumbs up" to Pete's County Market for providing whole watermelons with seeds this summer. "I think the seeded melons are much sweeter and juicer than the seedless melons," she said. "And kids these days are being deprived of a great sport: the Watermelon Seed Spitting Contest of which I have many fond memories from when I was growing up."