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Thumbs Up/Thumbs Down: Views by the Echo Press


Thumbs Down: The four-way stop at County Roads 82 and 45 (near the YMCA) is busier than ever, serving as a detour route for road construction, but rude drivers are making it worse. We’ve heard from several readers that some drivers are just not waiting their turn. They’ll barely come to a stop before proceeding through the intersection or will follow the car ahead of them, ignoring the other drivers who have been patiently waiting for their turn. The intersection can also get confusing with lanes dedicated for right and left turns. At one time, the county planned to put traffic lights out there but pulled the project off the table because of budget concerns. Public safety is at stake here; the intersection needs lights. The county should act to get them installed. But until then, drivers must show some courtesy and wait their turn at the four-way.


Thumbs Up: You’ve got to give credit to Alexandria’s downtown businesses that are trying to make the best of a bad situation. With Broadway dug up right now between Third and Sixth Avenues, their patience is being tested but they’ve started a campaign, “Stop, Shop and Stroll!” that encourages people to come downtown and visit the stores. More than two dozen stores are remaining open until 7 p.m. on Thursday evenings. The extended hours coincide with a series of music performances on the Douglas County Courthouse Lawn provided by the Red Willow Arts Coalition. The free concerts begin at 7 p.m.


Thumbs Down: We received a thumbs down on June 10 from a woman who was frustrated with the construction project on Highway 29 North between Alexandria and Parkers Prairie. Between Lake L’Homme Dieu and the Hiview Mobile Home Park, construction crews limited traffic to one lane. “The problem was they had no one monitoring the one side, so traffic coming both ways were in the same lane,” said the woman. “It was a nightmare. I’m surprised there wasn’t a head-on collision. Drivers were confused and didn’t know what to do.” We’re hoping this was just a one-time oversight. If not, let the newspaper know. We’ll do a follow-up.


Thumbs Down: An item in the game and fish violations distributed by DNR conservation officers contained a disturbing item. A citizen observed an employee of a local golf course chase, run over, and kill three goose goslings with a lawnmower while mowing the fairway. The suspect was located, interviewed, and cited for the violation, according to the DNR. He was advised to co-exist with the geese as they are abundant on every course in the county and his actions, of course, were illegal.


Thumbs Up: Although there have been problems with the rollout of MNsure, there is good news to report: The number of Minnesotans without health insurance dropped by more than 40 percent in the seven months ending May 1, according to a report released on June 11. The drop corresponded with online health insurance enrollment offered under the Affordable Care Act. According to the study, conducted by the University of Minnesota’s State Access Health Data Assistance Center, the number of uninsured Minnesotans fell by nearly 180,500 – from 445,000 to 264,500 – between September 30 and May 1. That meant the percentage of uninsured Minnesotans fell from 8.2 percent to 4.9 percent.


Thumbs Up: Here’s a salute to a long-time former Echo Press employee, Marian Iverson. We were saddened to hear that Marian passed away Tuesday at age 87. She was the Lifestyles editor at the paper from 1982 until her retirement in 1993 and was the consummate professional, extremely dedicated and passionate about her job. She also had a rich sense of humor that made her a joy to work with. Oh, the stories she could tell, especially her adventures with her beloved husband, Harris, who also worked for the newspaper delivering papers after his retirement as an assessor. Harris passed away five years ago. Marian is in a better place now, no doubt swapping stories with Harris. She will be missed and always remembered, with a smile.