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Thumbs Up/Thumbs Down: Views by the Echo Press


Thumbs Up: A “job well done” goes to the Jefferson High School students and teachers who organized the “Empty Bowls” effort to spread awareness of the hunger problem globally and locally. Tuesday’s event – a soup supper, entertainment, silent auction, a sale of hand-crafted bowls and more – raised nearly $6,500. It will go to the food shelf to help people in Douglas County who are living in poverty and can’t afford to eat three meals a day. Displays on tables provided “food for thought” about the hunger issue: 40 percent of the food that is thrown out in the U.S. each year could feed 25 million Americans; Minnesota has the fifth highest poverty rate in the nation among African American children (47 percent); and 9.6 percent of the people in Douglas County are living in poverty.


Thumbs Up: Here’s a day-brightener. On March 16, John Martinson of Marshall stopped at the Cenex station in Alexandria at 1705 Broadway to have a propane tank refilled but he left his wallet on the counter. About 15 minutes later, he received a phone call from one of the two women who were working there and she told him that he had left his wallet behind. “I do not know the names of the two ladies but you need to know that you have some very honest employees working for you,” said Martinson. “Congratulations to those two ladies for being so honest and providing a means for me to recover my wallet.”


Thumbs Down/Up: A woman called to express her frustrations over not knowing where to properly dispose of her medications. One person she talked to wrongly told her it would be OK to flush the meds down the toilet. That’s not the thing to do, as it would get into the water treatment system and eventually into our lakes. After making a few phone calls, the woman found out that the Alexandria Police Department has a drop-off site in its lobby for collecting expired or unwanted medications. It’s a safe, effective way to get rid of these potentially harmful products. We’ve printed a few stories about the drop box but the word sometimes takes awhile to get around. Now you know.


Thumbs Up: It can pay to shop around. A resident who had a frozen waterline this winter needed the problem taken care of quickly so he almost gave the job to the first company he called even though their rate was $300 an hour. He made other calls and found one local company that did the job for $100 an hour, saving him a chunk of cash.


Thumbs Up: Mary Anderson of Alexandria sends a thumbs up to the community for supporting Blue Star Mothers, which will be sending out Easter supply boxes to troops deployed overseas on March 31. “We very much appreciate all the donated items,” she said, adding that a donation box will be at the Alexandria VFW through March 28.


Thumbs Down: Do we really need another wolf hunt in Minnesota? The group, Howling For Wolves, makes a reasonable case for dropping the hunt. It points out that there is no scientific evidence that hunting wolves decreases wolf predations on livestock. According to information from the United States Department of Agriculture, wolves accounted for just 0.2 percent of unintended cattle losses, fewer than those that are lost to theft, dogs or vultures. Instead of a hunt, the Department of Natural Resources should focus on a management plan that establishes a database for wolf-related information, including all sources of deaths and illnesses; implementing best management practices to reduce wolf/livestock conflicts, including non-lethal methods to deter wolves; assessing the public’s knowledge and attitudes toward wolves; and have a clearer understanding of the factors that influence a wolf population, including an annual census.