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Thumbs Up/Thumbs Down

By the Echo Press Editorial Board

Romance scammers

Thumbs Down: Romance is in the air this week, but don't throw caution to the wind. The Better Business Bureau is warning about romance scams. Here are five tips: 1. Know your enemy. Before you even set up an online dating profile, be aware that not everyone using online dating sites is looking for love. Fraudsters often create bogus online profiles using photos of others. 2. Keep your guard up. Never send money to people you have yet to meet in person. 3. Be cautious if someone claims to be local but is "currently out of the country." These individuals could be fraudsters operating from overseas, making it more difficult for authorities to track them down. 4. Stay grounded. Fraudsters often claim to be head over heels in love from the word "go." Other times they lead their victims on until they feel that the time is right to ask for money. 5. If you think you've gotten into a bad situation, tell someone. Sometimes people are afraid to let other people know they've been deceived — especially if they've sent money away to a supposed love interest.

Help after a fall

Thumbs Up: The icy weather has resulted in several bad slips and falls in the area. And it's also brought out the best in some people. Linda Gaugert of Alexandria sends a big thumbs up for one of those good Samaritans. "After falling on the ice last week, I had to yell for help because I could not move," she said in an email. "Rick Zwieg of Carlos was driving slowly by, doing a job for the post office. Thank heavens he heard me and helped me get up. I feel very fortunate that there was a caring citizen, but a first responder besides! Thank you so much."

Protecting seniors

Thumbs Up: U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minnesota, deserves credit for tackling a tough problem: elder abuse. She and Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, drafted bipartisan legislation to protect seniors from neglect and financial exploitation and it recently passed the Senate Judiciary Committee, paving the way for a vote in the full Senate. The Court-Appointed Guardian Accountability and Senior Protection Act would help crack down on elder abuse by strengthening oversight and accountability for guardians and conservators. "While most court-appointed guardians and conservators are undoubtedly professional, caring, and law-abiding, we must do all that we can to protect seniors from exploitation. Our critical bipartisan bill strengthens oversight and accountability for those who are entrusted with acting in the best interests of seniors," Klobuchar said.

Hesitant drivers by RCC

Thumbs Down: Drivers coming out of the Runestone Community Center and onto County Road 82 are not getting it. When the stop light turns green, they don't seem to understand that they can turn right to proceed into town or continue straight ahead. Instead, they stay stopped, hesitating or not believing that they have the right of way over the left-turning vehicles from County Road 22. It really mucks up the traffic flow as vehicles from County Road 22 back up while waiting for the drivers coming from the RCC to make their move. The road from the RCC isn't a driveway and the lights are there for a reason.

Quick action on flag

Thumbs Up: An Alexandria resident noticed that an American flag at the Alexandria Fire Station was looking tattered after it was whipped around in the wind. He fired off an email to Fire Chief Jeff Karrow and within hours, the flag was replaced. "His responsiveness in replacing the flag was phenomenal," said the resident. "Others could learn from his example."

School bus drivers

Thumbs Up: Have you thanked a school bus driver lately? Next Wednesday, Feb. 22, is a good opportunity to do so. It's Minnesota's first-ever School Bus Driver Appreciation Day. In all kinds of weather and road conditions, Minnesota school bus drivers safely transport more than 760,000 students to and from school each day. They deserve a special thumbs up for transporting our most precious cargo — children — day in and day out. Besides a thank you, here's another way to express your appreciation: Help bus drivers by stopping for their red flashing lights or stop arms and pay attention for children and buses in neighborhoods and school zones.