Celebrating a postal worker

Thumbs Up: A funeral procession took place on May 13 from Anderson Funeral Home in honor of Belinda Wink of Alexandria and included many mail trucks for city and rural routes. Wink started working for the Postal Service as a rural carrier in 1996. It was a fitting tribute. As one onlooker said, “It was amazing to see all of the rural postal carriers celebrating the life of their colleague, Belinda. All those white trucks and other vehicles brought tears.”

Fighting another kind of epidemic

Thumbs Up: The Minnesota Legislature and Gov. Walz just completed a session that was hamstrung by the coronavirus but they did get some things done – including a law that raises the age to purchase tobacco products, including vaping and e-cigarette products, to 21. The measure will help address what health leaders describe as a “youth tobacco epidemic.” Horizon Public Health has been a strong advocate for Tobacco 21 for years and received support from two of the five counties it serves – Pope County (which enacted the measure in 2018) and Stevens (2019), along with the City of Alexandria just a few weeks ago. The action to make the law statewide was welcomed. As noted by Amy Reineke, community health specialist for Horizon, “By raising the smoking age from 18 to 21, we can stop these products from getting into the hands of young people in the first place and prevent an entire generation from forming costly and potentially deadly addiction.”

Wasting gas while idling

Thumbs Down: An Alexandria resident who was out walking this week in the southwest part of town came across an ALASD pickup that was idling in front of a basketball court. The truck wasn’t occupied, he said, and the driver was about a block and a half away painting lines on the street. He questioned why the vehicle was left running. It wasn’t that hot outside so the air-conditioning wouldn’t have been a reason. “I think it was environmentally inappropriate and a waste,” he said.

Bus drivers find kindness while delivering lunches

Thumbs Up: District 206 school bus drivers who have been delivering meals to students during the pandemic are winding down their schedule this month but they’ve created a lot of good memories that will last a long time. Elaine Hollis, a bus driver on Route 16, said she and fellow drivers, Dennis and Bumper, along with food services worker, Missy, have been getting many gestures of gratitude from students and their parents, including drawings and gift cards. “Every day from one family we get a new poster as a little thank you,” said Hollis. “We’re proud that the parents are happy and pleased that they’re receiving their lunches.” She added that it’s been a fun experience to see the children coming out to see them when the drivers stop by. The drivers also appreciate it when the children place their lunch boxes at the end of the driveway so they can drop off the meals and save on some steps.

Wisdom from a graduate

Thumbs Up: One of favorite Facebook posts of the week came from an Alexandria graduating senior who stepped above all the bickering over the Alexandria School Board’s decision to hold a virtual, live-streamed graduation ceremony. She offered this perspective: “As a senior graduating this year, I was so happy to hear this and was relieved to have this as our option. I still get to be recognized on a live stream, I still get to walk across stage and accept my diploma and take pictures with my teachers. Yes, this whole situation sucks and I wish things were different, but this is the least ‘stupid’ fix that we could have asked for given the current situation. Thank you to the school board for making a decision that will still benefit students while still trying to keep everyone safe.”

If you have a suggestion for a Thumbs Up/Thumbs Down, email it to aedenloff@echopress.com or mail it to Echo Press, P.O. Box 549, Alexandria, MN 56308.