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Thumbs Up/Down - July 5, 2013


Thumbs Down: Why are some people who use the Central Lakes Trail so grumpy and unfriendly? We emphasize the word "some" because there are many, many people on the trail who are friendly, smiling, welcoming and enjoying the day. And then there are a select few who don't utter a word if you give them a friendly hello, never return a wave, don't even acknowledge that other trail users exist. We're not expecting these self-absorbed trail-goers to stop what they're doing and engage in a full-blown conversation. We're just asking for a quick smile, a nod of the head, a simple "hello." They are, after all, on a beautiful public trail enjoying the outdoors, receiving the gift of a great summer day. One would think they could at least acknowledge the presence of other human beings.


Thumbs Up: Family members of Betty and Neal Ostlund of Alexandria came here from California for a visit and encountered some community kindness that helped them through a calamity. They were staying in apartments above a garage on Bay Lane when lightning sparked a fire that engulfed the building on June 27. They got out OK but lost clothes and other personal belongings in the blaze. While the family was shopping for new clothes, Maurices told them it would take 20 percent off their purchases or up to $200 off of clearance items. "They [Maurices' employees] were fantastic," said Betty. "They treated them so well." Trumm Drug in Alexandria also came through by contacting the family's pharmacy in California to replace the medications that were lost in the fire. The family members were impressed with the response. "They kept saying Alexandria is great," Betty said.


Thumbs Down: An Alexandria woman is upset with the bad driving along 3rd Avenue East, especially at the intersection with Maple Street by Wells Fargo. "The other day a young man pulled out too far at the stop sign so he was halfway in the outside east lane and almost backed up into me until I blasted my horn," she said. "Something needs to be done to slow down traffic on 3rd Avenue. People come from the north at a high speed and will not stop for someone trying to walk across the road unless a police car happens to be around. The only safe time to walk across is 6 a.m. With summer traffic and the grocery store and the bank in that area, a bad accident is going to happen." The day after the newspaper received this "thumbs down," a two-vehicle crash happened at the very intersection the woman was worried about. A passenger in one of the vehicles was taken to the hospital. Fortunately, he was treated and released. Drivers traveling on 3rd need to slow down, be on the alert for pedestrians and be aware of what other drivers are doing.


Thumbs Down: If you've traveled on Highway 29 North recently, especially the stretch between Alexandria and Parkers Prairie, your car's shock absorbers got a workout. The road is a bumpy, patched-over mess. There's more filler in the cracks than there is road. Caroline Miller of Alexandria put it this way: "All the highways I have been on have never been as bad as Highway 29 North. Even chuck holes are not being taken care of." The road desperately needs resurfacing. The Minnesota Department of Transportation should make it a priority.