Not giving turtles a brake

Thumbs Down: Drivers should be doing a better job watching for turtles on roads or as the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources puts it, “give turtles a brake.” The DNR is reminding people that turtles are now crossing roads moving to familiar nesting locations. Allowing turtles to cross the roads is vital to the preservation of regional populations. Roadway mortality is believed to be a major factor in turtle population declines throughout the U.S. The DNR provides a few tips for helping turtles cross safely and where injured turtles may be taken at mndnr.gov/reptiles_amphibians/helping-turtles-roads.

COVID-19 unemployment fraud

Thumbs Down: The Alexandria Police Department and Douglas County Sheriff’s Office have recently received multiple reports of unemployment related scams. Law enforcement said the scam may be new to the area but it has been operating in many different states, stealing millions of dollars from overwhelmed state unemployment departments since the pandemic. Authorities believed a Nigerian fraud ring is responsible for this complex and widespread theft scheme, using stolen identity data from citizens, including social security numbers, to file false claims on behalf of workers who may not even have lost their jobs. If you are a victim of this type of scam report it to your local law enforcement agency, also file reports with The Internet Crime Complaint Center and COVID-19 Fraud using the following sites: ic3.gov and covid19fraud@dhs.gov.

Making isolation more bearable

Thumbs Up: A local resident sends a “thumbs up” to KIKV radio for its uplifting broadcasts especially during these last months of stress. “Kris, Nik, Amy, Chelsie, and John have provided news, weather, information, humor and music to make the days of isolation much more bearable,” the resident said. “Segments of humor, such as Florida man, Facebook Q&As, unlimited news of people helping people, cheering on local businesses and encouraging people to buy gift cards to help them survive, prizes…I could go on and on. Even if you're not a country music fan, you'd enjoy listening to the light hearted banter. They are a great team!”

DNR tips for dealing with bears

Thumbs Up: Several bear sightings have been reported in the Douglas County area in the past couple of weeks, including near Osakis, along the Central Lake Trail and near Lake Geneva. The Department of Natural Resources provided helpful advice this week for keeping bears away from your property. It starts with your yard or campsite. Bears rely on small, scattered patches of natural foods: specific types of young green vegetation in spring, certain species of ants and ant pupae in June, berries in summer, and nuts in fall. “If bears can get concentrated, high-calorie, easily accessible foods around people’s homes and campsites, they are enticed away from their natural food sources,” the DNR said. “Don’t condition bears to associate your home or campsite with an easy meal by leaving out unsecured garbage, birdseed or pet food. Learn more about how to reduce property damage, and the chance of human-bear conflicts, on the DNR website.”

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.