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Editorial - Thumbs up/down

Loan company tactics Thumbs Down: The documents an Alexandria woman received in the mail looked official and urgent. The return address came from the "Loan Acceptance Department" and the writing on the outside of the thick mail packet claimed the...

Loan company tactics

Thumbs Down: The documents an Alexandria woman received in the mail looked official and urgent. The return address came from the "Loan Acceptance Department" and the writing on the outside of the thick mail packet claimed the documents were "Bill Consolidation Loan Acceptance." Not sure exactly what it was, the woman called the 800 number listed inside (the mailing said a response was required by August 18, 2011) and was almost immediately asked to divulge her Social Security number. The woman did the right thing by hanging up because she had no idea whether she was being scammed or not. We did some checking on the company that sent out the mailing and found they were a legitimate business - a retail mortgage lender - accredited with the Better Business Bureau. Still, the company has received 163 complaints in the last three years, most of them concerning its advertising tactics and problems with service. We suggest it's a lot safer to work with local companies or lenders about restructuring your debt than deal with a company sending out deceptive mailings.

Diaper drive donations

Thumbs Up: Barb Wiener, the branch director for the Diaper Drive of Douglas County, sends a "thumbs up" to all the local residents who supported the non-profit effort. "Due to your kind and generous hearts, we have had the privilege of donating 34,000 diapers for local families in need since we launched the local branch in August of 2010," noted Wiener. "The need is great for diapers and continues to grow. Thank you, Douglas County, for helping us to ensure: 'No child wet behind!' A special thanks to Elden's Food Fair, Trumm Drug, Recover Health and the YMCA for their continued support by offering to have drop-off sites in their places of business. All opened or new packages of diapers are welcome." For more information, go to the website, www.thediaperdrive.org .

Falling for

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Internet claims

Thumbs Down: This one is worth putting in capital letters: DON'T BELIEVE THE OUTRAGEOUS POLITICAL CLAIMS YOU SEE ON THE INTERNET OR THOSE THAT ARE FORWARDED TO YOU. The newspaper is e-mailed all kinds of sensationalized hype from the Internet on an almost daily basis. These juicy

exposés, dressed up with official sounding sources, cross all political lines and ideologies but have one thing in common: They're bunk. The latest one, that's been circulating for some time, accuses President Obama of slamming the National Anthem and the American Flag. It even states that Obama wants to redesign the flag and change the National Anthem to I'd Like to Teach the World to Sing. The claims would be funny if they weren't forwarded on with such ominous warnings and serious urgings (in all capital letters), such as "Everyone in the United States of America needs to read this and keep it going! Save America before it's too late!" Their sole purpose is to work people up in such a dither that they can't resist forwarding them on to friends, which only spreads the lies further. Worse yet, some people swallow the information whole without even bothering to second-guess it or check it out for themselves. It's as if they want to believe it so badly it becomes their own version of the truth. If you get one of these e-mails, put it where it belongs - in your trash and tell whoever sent it to you that you're sick of seeing such claptrap filling up your inbox.

Center lane confusion

Thumbs Down: We see this happening all the time on Broadway but it's especially annoying when traffic is thick: Drivers not using the center turn lane correctly. It's almost as if they think it's a radioactive zone that they don't dare enter. An example: Earlier this week, an SUV on Broadway sort of turned into the center lane but the driver left half of his vehicle sticking out in the left lane of travel, forcing everyone behind him to either stop or quickly change lanes to get around him. It's called a turning lane for a reason. Enter the lane - fully - and wait until it's clear to make your turn. Don't use the lane as a passing lane and don't be afraid to move into the lane completely before you turn.

A Night Out to remember

Thumbs Up: Alexandria's Community Night Out on August 2 was a big hit. Alexandria Police Chief Rick Wyffels said many local contributors added to the success, including Walmart, Eagles, Target, Viking Coca Cola, Henry's Foods, Culvers, Paul's Small Engine, Frito Lay, Pete's County Market, Bernick's Pepsi and the Holiday Station Store on 3rd Ave East. The chief also thanked everyone who attended. "We had over 500 residents that came out and enjoyed a picnic type environment with family, friends, and fun, and also learned about city government, police enforcement and what kind of services are available to you in our community," he said. The mayor, city council and many different city departments partnered with the police department to make the event a success. "Partnerships take a commitment and I want to assure the community that our commitment to provide you the best police service possible to keep our community safe without fear and repercussions is our every day goal," Wyffels said. "These are essential to allow our community to grow, have healthy families, and prosper in a modern society."

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The following is an opinion column written by an Echo Press editorial staff member. It does not necessarily reflect the views of the Echo Press.
This week in history in Douglas County.