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Thumbs Up/Thumbs Down: Views by the Echo Press


Thumbs Down: With the boating season splashing into high gear, many people are still confused about what kind of life jackets they should be wearing, or worse yet, don’t make it a priority. They’re not only risking getting ticketed, they’re setting themselves up for danger. Kara Owens, DNR boat and water safety specialist, addressed the topic for the DNR’s “Question of the Week.” She noted that a readily accessible U.S. Coast Guard-approved life jacket is required for each person on all boats including canoes, kayaks and stand-up paddleboards. A Type IV throwable device is also required on boats longer than 16 feet. Children younger than 10 years old must wear a life jacket while a boat is under way unless the child is in an enclosed cabin, aboard a passenger vessel operated by a licensed captain, or on a boat that is anchored for the purpose of swimming or diving. The life jacket also must be the appropriate size for the wearer.


Thumbs Down: Judging by the number of squashed turtles around the area, some drivers must think it’s some sort of game to try to run them over. There’s no sense in it. As one reader told us, “It’s so sad and unnecessary. I saw two again today – one in the turning lane by the fire hall and another down the road by the police station. Grrrrr!” Some of the turtles that have been run over are big snappers that have been around 60 to 70 years. It’s not as if the turtles are moving so quickly that drivers can’t avoid them. It’s just dumb.


Thumbs Up: Friday, June 13 turned out to be a lucky day for Duane and Jane Heitz of Miltona. They were about to leave Perkins Family Restaurant that day when the waitress took their check and said that it had been paid already. When Duane asked who had paid, the waitress said that he wished to remain anonymous. “I told her to thank him for us,” Duane said. “And he didn’t even know that it was our 55th wedding anniversary. If he sees this, I would like to thank him. He confirmed my faith in humanity.”


Thumbs Up: A senior citizen named Suzie was in a panic. She had just finished shopping at Walmart and came back home when she realized she left her purse in a shopping cart. She drove back to where the carts were but didn’t see her purse, which contained her debit card, cash and other items. She went inside the store to check – “My heart was beating 90 miles an hour,” she said – and was relieved to see a man had found it and still had it in his hand. “I gave him the biggest hug I could ever give a stranger,” she said.


Thumbs Down: You may not think it’s that big of a deal to park in a handicapped parking space for a few minutes while you run into a store, but is a big deal to those who actually need the space. A reader told us she’s watched staff members of a local business routinely park at a handicapped spot while they pick up coffee orders. It’s selfish – and against the law.


Thumbs Up: It’s easy to take “fun” for granted. It’s as if we expect there should always be a long list of fun things to do, just waiting to happen every year. But a lot of time, energy and planning goes into those events. That’s why we offer a salute to all those who make fun things happen in our community. Last weekend, it was the organizers of Awake the Lakes, the Vikingland Band Festival, the Lakes Area Endurance races, the Vintage Car Club Show, the Osakis Festival and others as well. This weekend, other organizers will see their hard work pay off with Star Storm, the Evansville Fourth of July celebration, Villard Days, boat parades, fireworks displays and more.


Thumbs Down: The driver of a big red pickup truck must have thought it would be hilarious to pull up to someone running along County Road 22 and rev his engine so loud that it nearly caused the runner to drop to the ground. “I was shaking the rest of my run,” the runner said. “But I imagine the pickup driver had a big laugh over it since he’s never been startled before. His brain is too small to experience that.”