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Thumbs Up/Thumbs Down: Views by the Echo Press


Thumbs Up: When celebrities die, people mourn the loss by remembering their movies, their awards, or the headlines they made. Their other contributions can be forgotten. Consider Shirley Temple Black, who died Monday at age 85. She’s remembered, of course, as a child movie star, who later returned to the public’s eye as an accomplished diplomat. But Black was also a cancer survivor who helped make it more acceptable for people to talk about cancer at a time when it was shrouded in secrecy and fear. When she had a cancerous left breast removed in 1972, she held a news conference in her hospital room to make people more aware of cancer treatment and early prevention. She encouraged women who discovered breast lumps not to “sit home and be afraid.” Although her moments on the big screen may fade, her contributions to cancer awareness still shine.


Thumbs Up: Volumes of books have been published about how to cope with stress and anger. We received an e-mail last week from the local United Communities Advocating Non-Violence (UCAN) that eloquently boiled the advice down to four steps: 1. Release the belief that you are responsible for everyone and everything. 2. Let go of perfectionism. 3. Ask for and accept help from others. 4. Focus upon what’s important and the rest will take care of itself. UCAN also quoted Roman politician Marcus Antonius: “Consider how much more you often suffer from your anger and grief than from those very things for which you are angry and grieved.” If you know someone who is constantly battling stress, send them this thumb. It could turn their life around.


Thumbs Down: Are you annoyed with rebates, wondering why stores can’t just offer the discount upfront instead of making customers go through so many steps to get their money back? Have you ever taken the time to apply for a rebate but never received it or it took so long that you forgot about it? You’re not alone. A reader from Villard vented his frustration: “I am very unhappy with local retailers that advertise rebates and make the customer jump through the hoops and still delay paying it,” he said. “I purchased a set of four tires with the promise of a $75 Visa card rebate. They acknowledged that they had approved it on November 17. To date, I still have not received it. I bought the tires on November 11. That makes it 11 weeks. That’s not operating in good faith.”


Thumbs Up: Infrastructure. It’s a boring word, yet vital to the welfare of residents in towns large and small. It means sewer and water lines, electricity, roads, bridges, telephone land lines, computer networks and other needs that keep a community running. In small towns, with limited resources, planning future infrastructure needs can be especially challenging. Fortunately, there is help. West Central Initiative (WCI) has a Capital Improvement Plan (CIP) grant program that provides money for cities with populations less than 5,000 to help them with infrastructure planning. Grants are available in Douglas, Becker, Clay, Grant, Otter Tail, Pope, Stevens, Traverse and Wilkin counties. The 2014 CIP grant round is now open until March 3. For more information and an application, visit or contact Greg Wagner at 1-800-735-2239, WCI deserves a “thumbs up” for offering these important planning grants.