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Michael Right from KXRA Radio talks about one of the performers at this year's Fargo Blues Festival. (Celeste Edenloff / Echo Press)1 / 2
A steady stream of people walk along "Calorie Lane" at the Douglas County Fair Friday. (Lowell Anderson / Echo Press)2 / 2

Fair delivers — again

Thumbs Up: Another Douglas County Fair is in the history books and once again, the four-day event delivered on many fronts — a solid lineup of entertainment, a wide variety of tasty food, educational exhibits, fun new events like the laser tag adventure, carnival rides and more. We're fortunate to have such a well-run and well-organized fair, thanks to hardworking volunteers and the Douglas County Agricultural Association Board that pulls everything all together. What makes this one of the best fairs in the state is that the board is always looking for ways to improve the event. This year, for example, the board worked with the city to pave the roads at the fairgrounds. It added several new activities and amped up its speaker system, letting fairgoers know when pop-up events were occurring or a new band was taking the stage, which added a sense of excitement and cohesion to the fair. Fair board members will evaluate what worked and what didn't so that they can start planning for next year's fair. Public comments should be directed to the Douglas County Fair Facebook page or the fair's website at

class='subhead'>McDonald's workers to the rescue

Thumbs Up: An Alexandria resident sends a thumbs up to the young men who work at the north McDonald's. She and her husband were in the drive-up window line when a driver in a pickup pulling a trailer with a lawnmower got too close to the pole near the window and got wedged in. The McDonald's workers tried to guide him out but it didn't work. "All of a sudden, five or six nice young men in their McDonald's uniforms came running out of the restaurant and they and my husband lifted the trailer with the mower on it, pulled it sideways and freed it from the post," the resident said. "The man was so appreciative ... I just thought some parents should know and be very proud of their sons and McDonald's should be very proud of their workers."

Creepy drivers

Thumbs Down: Here's a driving habit that's especially annoying: Drivers at a stop sign who keep lurching forward, slowly, a foot or two at at time, even though there is still traffic coming from the other direction. Those few feet don't accomplish anything — other than alarming the drivers who have the right of way. They're rightfully worried because it appears the "creeping" driver is going to pull out in front of them at any second. Knock off the creeping! You can make up those few extra feet in one second when your lane is clear.

Beyond the Yellow Ribbon

Thumbs Up: The Alexandria/Douglas County Beyond the Yellow Ribbon program deserves a thumbs up for showing its support of local young people who are the nation's newest military members. During honors and scholarship nights, it presents students who are enlisting in the military with red, white and blue graduation tassels, a military style certificate of appreciation and a challenge coin from the Minnesota Beyond the Yellow Ribbon. The following students were recognized this year: Alexandria — Joe Brezina (Army National Guard); Krystyna LeBrun (Army National Guard); Raylinn Garrett (U.S. Navy); Joseph Nowacki (Army National Guard); Harold Wegner (Army National Guard); and Layne Meyers (U.S. Marines); Minnewaska — Hudson Kalina (Marine Reserve); Osakis — Gage Zieske (Army ROTC Program); and West Central Area — Mason Nibbe (Army National Guard). Another student, Dawson Hohler, was recognized for receiving his General Equivalency Diploma.

Sharing the stage with blues legends

Thumbs Up: It's always nice when residents from this area shine on a larger stage, whether it's taking on state or national leadership roles or accomplishing something noteworthy. KXRA Radio's Michael Right, for instance, has been serving as the "voice" of the Fargo Blues Festival, one of the biggest outdoor blues fests in the country, for 17 years. He announces each act — 12 of them took to the stage at this year's festival — and encourages the audience to show the bands their appreciation throughout the two-day event. It's cool to see an Alexandrian on stage with such blues legends as Delbert McClinton, The Fabulous Thunderbirds, Joe Bonamassa and Water Trout.

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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.