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Thumbs Up/Thumbs Down: Views from the Echo Press Editorial Board

Unregistered voters

Thumbs Down: Are you registered to vote? Now is as good a time as any. National Voter Registration Day was Tuesday. Secretary of State Steve Simon is encouraging all eligible Minnesotans who are not yet registered to vote to visit and register. Minnesotans who are already registered to vote should confirm that their voter registration information is up to date, and encourage their friends, family and co-workers to do the same. In 2016, more Minnesotans than ever before registered to vote before Election Day — a total of 3,270,734. While that's a high number, there are about 700,000 citizens who are eligible to vote but haven't taken the simple step to register. "The voter registration process in Minnesota is easier and more convenient than ever before," Simon said. "We must continue to work to make sure every eligible citizen is registered to vote and makes their voice heard at the ballot box."

Staying safe online

Thumbs Up: State Rep. Mary Franson, R-Alexandria, sent out a helpful news release this week reminding students and parents to take precautions while children are doing school work online this academic year. "Whether it's on a computer or a tablet, it's important that they know how to stay safe online and for you to know what data is/can be collected by some of these online educational programs," Franson said. Questions to ask: Will information be shared or sold and used to market my child? Will it be kept as a record of my child's academics and online activity? For what purposes will the device be used? Some student online programs gives the student periodic "quizzes" that ask them personal questions — will that be happening with my child? Will I have access to the data collected on my child? Who "owns" the data on my child? What are the "rules" my child must follow for the privilege of having access to the device? Will my child be required by the school to turn over passwords to social media they may access while using the school-issued device? Parents should talk with their children about the possible dangers of the Internet and consider taking precautions, such using web filters to limit or block certain application downloads.

A beautiful night of music

Thumbs Up: The Central Lakes Symphony Orchestra sends appreciation to all those who attended the third annual Belle Notte Gala on Sept. 22. "It was so gratifying to see so many people of different ages coming together to enjoy an evening of great music," noted Sandy Susag, board member and fundraising chair for the orchestra. Soderholm Insurance once again sponsored the event. Many individuals and merchants also contributed items to a silent auction. Mark Anthony served as the emcee. The event raises funds to help offset the orchestra's expenses that are used to raise the bar of excellence, not only in musical projects but also to challenge the skills of outstanding, volunteer musicians. The orchestra's 2017-2018 season will officially begin on Oct. 29 with its Chamber Concert at the Alexandria United Methodist Church.

Honor Guard training and tribute

Thumbs Up: The Douglas County Sheriff's Office Honor Guard joined other honor guards from around the nation at the 2017 Minnesota Law Enforcement Memorial Association's Honor Guard Training Camp at Camp Ripley last week. For four days, honor guard members honed the skills used during funerals that honor fallen peace officers who have been killed in the line of duty. The skills include colors posting, colors movement, casket movement, flag folding, firing party, and other funeral related details. The local honor guard also raised the American flag during a morning formation in honor of Douglas County Deputy Curtis Felt, who was shot and killed while transporting a prisoner on June 29, 1978.

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If you have a suggestion for a Thumbs Up/Thumbs Down, email it to or mail it to Echo Press, P.O. Box 549, Alexandria, MN 56308.