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Thumbs Up/Thumbs Down: Views by the Echo Press


Thumbs Down: Here’s a question every parent should ask themselves: “Am I encouraging my children to be respectful of others?” It’s not happening enough on school buses. A school bus driver recently brought the topic up to Sergeant Jesse Grabow for his “Ask a Trooper” column. The bus driver, who transports 50 students, ages 4 to 18, deals with a wide range of personalities and bad behavior. He said he’s had an assault occur along his bus route, school bus seats cut up and damaged and a first grade student that writes sayings on school bus property that might be heard at a construction site. He asked Grabow how he could keep such distractions to a minimum. Grabow noted that it’s best to focus on what the driver could control. If something needed to be tended to immediately, he advised the bus driver to find a safe place to pull over and park completely off the road, as to not create a hazard. He also told the driver to activate the warning or emergency lights as needed and provide the attention, as required. Grabow also had good words of advice to parents: “Parents, talk to your children about school bus safety for both on and off the bus. Kids need reminders, too. When on the bus: stay seated, listen to the driver and use quiet voices.”


Thumbs Up: Here’s above and beyond customer service: Dale Flemming of Alexandria said he was in the Elden’s Fresh Foods parking lot on Sunday, April 6 and noticed a woman who had just pushed her shopping cart away from her vehicle and was leaving the parking lot. The young man who was collecting the shopping carts noticed the woman had forgotten what looked to be a small purse in the cart. “The young man quickly took the forgotten purse and ran after the lady driving away,” Flemming said. “He was finally able to attract her attention while she waited at the traffic light, then he waited for her to return and gave her the forgotten purse. Elden’s should be proud of their employees.”


Thumbs Up: Julie Zuehlke of Alexandria sends a thumbs up to the power companies for providing a service that is taken for granted, until it’s suddenly not there. One chilly Sunday morning in April, she heard what sounded like a small explosion near her home and the electric hum of everything immediately stopped. “The quiet is eerie and you know a transformer on the utility pole at the end of your driveway has gone dead,” she said. “A few quick phone calls to neighbors confirmed that we were the only property along the road without electric power, so I could report all this to the 24-hour emergency dispatcher.” Within 30 minutes of her call, a big red utility truck was beeping its way to the utility pole and a worker was lifted to the top in the cherry-picker bucket. “I watched from the door, about 100 feet away, as the worker on the ground picked up a small carcass by its tail and walked it across the road to its final resting place in the woods,” Zuehlke said. “That squirrel got its first and last lesson in Electricity 101. And we got our electric power back in less than an hour.”


Thumbs Down: If you call 911, make sure it’s for an actual emergency. There was another blotter item in the newspaper on Wednesday about a caller who told his neighbor to call 911 because his phone was not working. His emergency: His phone wasn’t working and he wanted the police to fix it. There have been other 911 calls from kids playing on the phone, frivolous calls and multiple hang-ups. It’s been estimated that nationwide, about 35 percent of the 911 calls are illegitimate. Don’t tie up local emergency response personnel with these types of calls. We need them for actual emergencies.