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The Alexandria Downtown Merchants Association is seeking donations for its flower basket effort that offers a colorful touch to Broadway. (Al Edenloff / Echo Press)

Beauty on Broadway

Thumbs Up: After this week's winter storm, spring may seem eons away, but the Alexandria Downtown Merchants Association is busy preparing for the change of seasons and the arrival of the flower baskets along Broadway. The flowers add beauty and charm to the historic downtown area and are appreciated by local residents and visitors. According to the association, every year, visitors share comments on the welcoming feel the flower baskets bring to the community. The association needs support from local businesses and residents to keep the tradition going. More than $5,000 is needed to purchase and maintain the flowers. Here's how to help: Sponsor a flower basket, or several, at a cost of $100 each. Checks may be made out to Alexandria Downtown Merchants Association and mailed to PO Box 344, Alexandria, MN 56308, or dropped off with Jackie Lybeck at Glenwood State Bank at 2221 S. Broadway St. in Alexandria or at the Alexandria Lakes Area Chamber of Commerce, 206 Broadway. Donations are needed by April 1. For more information, call Ron Moritz at Yesterdays, 320-762-8990.

Township elections

Thumbs Up: We give an advance thumbs up for those who plan to vote next Tuesday, March 13 in the township elections. Township government is a vital grassroots part of democracy. The leaders who are elected to represent township residents make important decisions about road and bridge projects, road maintenance, ditches, wastewater services and more. Eighteen of Douglas County's 20 will hold elections Tuesday. (Two townships, Brandon and Miltona, will hold their elections in the fall.) Most townships will elect two positions — clerk and supervisor. See a story in today's paper for polling places and time, and then take a few minutes to vote.

Snow-covered car windows

Thumbs Down: When we get a significant snowfall, it is not that hard to brush away the snow from all of your vehicle's windows and headlights. Too many drivers are too lazy to take that extra step and only bother to clear a tiny spot on the driver's side front window, ignoring the side and back windows. After a big snowfall on March 2, one Alexandria resident reported that two drivers cut him off, almost causing a crash, because their windows were so covered with snow that they didn't see him.

Kindness in the snow

Thumbs Up: On the topic of snowstorms, the wintry conditions can also bring out the best in people. We heard from many local residents who were pleasantly surprised to see their driveways cleared after the March 3 snowfall piled up more than 6 inches of snow. Those acts of kindness are day-brighteners!

Cigarette litterbugs

Thumbs Down: An Alexandria resident who was watching city crews work outside recently gives a thumbs down to those who carelessly threw cigarette butts in the streets, sidewalks and yards. "I think that is uncalled for in this day and age — and quite ridiculous," he said.

Fighting poverty

Thumbs Up: The Alexandria Evening Lions Club recently participated in the "Soles 4 Souls" program, collecting shoes that were distributed throughout the world to fight poverty. The Alexandria Area High School School Key Club took on a challenge to have a drop box in the school lobby and collected 125 pairs of shoes. "What a great job these students accomplished," noted Lions members Bob and Patti Dahlheimer in a note to the newspaper. The club was also impressed with the Alexandria Senior Center for furnishing a drop box and collecting 641 pairs of shoes. "We want to thank the community for helping with this worthy project," the Dalheimers said.

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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.