Words from a fighter

Thumbs Up: This Christmas season, we should all pause and ponder the words that Carla Wheeler of Alexandria shared on her Facebook page over the weekend. Wheeler, who was diagnosed with stage 4 colon cancer, was featured in the Dec. 14 Echo Press story,"Little fighter battles cancer." She posted: "How can people be so negative all the time. It's ridiculous. If your life is so bad, do something about it. I'm sick of all the pity parties. It's Christmas. Your life is nowhere as bad as you think it is. Take a walk in my shoes. Just one day. I know you couldn't handle it. I have cancer and I'm more positive than you. Just something to think about."

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On thin ice

Thumbs Down:

Thanks to the recent cold snap, lakes are ice-covered but that doesn't mean they are 100 percent safe. They never are. Anglers and snowmobilers itching to venture out should be wary. Depending on the lake and conditions, some lakes may be several inches thick in one spot and dangerously thin just a few feet away. The risk is all too real. Ice-related deaths have averaged just under four per year in the last decade. Most of the deaths occur with someone operating a snowmobile or ATV. Guidelines from the Department of Natural Resources suggest a minimum of 4 inches of ice for ice fishing, 5 inches for a snowmobile or ATV, and 12 to 15 inches for a medium-sized pickup truck.

Driveway hero

Thumbs Up: Shirley Cromwell of Alexandria experienced a warm act of kindness on a chilly winter day. She was shoveling away ice chunks at the end of her driveway on Sixth Ave. East when a young man stopped by to help. "He shoveled all the ice chunks, cleared the end of the driveway," she said. "When I offered to pay him, he said no. He had seen I needed help and he helped. Thank you!"

Kind and gentle care

Thumbs Up: A local veterinarian, Marc Chromey, has continually gone above and beyond, even when the job is far from easy, according to one local family. "He is a very kind and gentle person who has helped us greatly in times of need or emergencies," said Erin Weatherwax. "He has even come to our home to end the suffering of our pets at a moment's notice, even on holidays. How many others would do that?"

Festive lights

Thumbs Up: A longtime Alexandria resident is impressed with something that is easily taken for granted: the Christmas light decorations on Broadway and Third Avenue. "I've traveled to many, many small towns and nobody has Christmas lights like Alexandria," he said. Although some decorations, like the reindeer, are looking a little dated, he said, the rest of downtown is stunning.

Quick action

Thumbs Up: More than a few readers let us know how much they appreciate the work of the snowplow crews this month. "There have been some heavy snows and it created such a mess, I thought it would take a long time to clear the roads," said an Alexandria resident. "But I was surprised that even the side streets were clear in a quick period of time."

The gift of a book

Thumbs Up: Organizers of Project Bookshelf are grateful for the community's support. "Thank you to everyone who contributed books or monetary donations to the American Association of University Women's Project Bookshelf," said Georgia Wahlberg of Alexandria. "All books donated or purchased were distributed to families in the Douglas County area through Jingle Bells. Your generosity ensured that many children and young adults in our community received the gift of a book this holiday season."