Bicyclists in the dark

Thumbs Down: If you’re riding bike at night, make sure other drivers will be able to see you. Put a light and reflectors on your bike, and wear light clothing or reflective materials. Otherwise, you’re an accident waiting to happen. An Alexandria resident shared her story: “Recently, we were returning home about 9:45 p.m. It was very dark. No visible moon, no street light where we were ready to turn down our street,” she said. “A nano-second before accelerating into our turn, I saw two very small reflectors that turned out to be from the pedals of a bicycle.” She hit the brakes as three young men, riding side by side — in dark clothes, no helmets, in dark bicycles with no lights — came into her headlights. “The very small reflectors on one of the bikes saved them,” said the driver.

Hardworking labor force

Thumbs Up: Minnesota’s hard-working labor force showed just how hard they work – perhaps even too hard, according to a recent report from the online personal-finance website, WalletHub. It did a study ranking the hardest working states after finding out that Americans work an average of almost 1,800 hours per year and the average worker uses only 54 percent of their available vacation time. Minnesota ranked as the 15th hardest working state. In order to determine where Americans work the hardest, WalletHub compared the 50 states across 10 key metrics. The data set ranges from average workweek hours to share of workers with multiple jobs to annual volunteer hours per resident. Here’s how Minnesota fared: employment rate – 8th, share of workers with multiple jobs – 5th, annual volunteer hours per resident – 18th and average leisure time spent per day – 13th.

Serum family donation

Thumbs Up: This item was included in our coverage of the Alexandria City Council’s Aug. 26 meeting and it’s worthy of being repeated here: Thanks to the generosity of the family of Dale Serum, Knute Nelson Memorial Park will soon have an electronic message board. Serum, who died last November, served as the city’s community recreation director before becoming activities director at Jefferson High School, and was a long-time supporter of baseball in Alexandria. In 1967, he led the effort to reconstruct the stadium. The new sign will bear his name and will serve as a fitting tribute to Serum’s dedication and commitment to the Alexandria sports scene.

Off-beat fun in Osakis

Thumbs Up: If you’re looking for some unique, off-beat fun, head to Osakis this Saturday, Sept. 7 for the community’s sixth annual “Moonshine Madness Day.” The event is another example of the fun, creative energy that goes into the small town celebrations that take place throughout Douglas County. The idea for Moonshine Madness was hatched when Char Petroske, gift shop/tours manager of Panther Distillery, made a call to Nick Prom, who is known for accurately portraying Al Capone, a Chicago gangster who gained fame during the Prohibition era. Petroske wanted Prom to make an appearance at Panther Distillery. When he came to town to meet with her, she invited community members, and soon, the town wanted to join in and plan its own activities for the occasion. Just some of this year’s highlights: a Moonshine Half-Mile Fun Run, street bowling, Dung for Dollars, Poker Walk, inflatables and children's games, food and craft vendors, bean bag tournament, live music in the afternoon, a street dance at night, trolley rides and more. There will also be tours, food, samplings and a bartender competition at the distillery.