Moving ceremony at Veterans Memorial Park

Thumbs Up: A reader appreciated all the effort that went into organizing a memorable Memorial Day ceremony at the Veterans Memorial Park in Alexandria. “The program was very moving and having it in the new Veterans Memorial Park was a fitting tribute to all the men and women that served their country,” the reader said. “Thank you to the young lady (Chelsea Lee) that led the singing of the National Anthem and God Bless America! I hope we see more of that patriotic spirit.”

Timely advice that could save lives

Thumbs Up: In its latest newsletter, the Runestone Electric Association provided advice that could save a life. With the swimming season here, people should never swim near a dock with electrical equipment or by boats plugged into an outlet on shore. “Please be aware of the potential of electric shock drowning,” the REA warned. “This can occur when electric current is present in freshwater and someone swims into that energized water. If the electrical current is strong enough, the electric shock can cause muscle paralysis, which leaves the affected individual unable to swim to safety.”

Free fire safety sessions, smoke alarms

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Thumbs Up: Here’s a thumbs up to Red Cross volunteers who are providing free virtual home fire safety sessions and free smoke alarms. Households in Minnesota, North Dakota and South Dakota can sign up for the sessions and to receive a smoke alarm installation visit when COVID restrictions allow it. The effort is part of the national “Sound the Alarm” campaign to educate people about home fire safety. To register, visit “Home fires remain the most frequent disaster during COVID-19, yet most of us don’t realize we have just two minutes to safely escape,” said Phil Hansen, regional executive director of the Red Cross Minnesota and Dakotas Region. “We’re grateful for the support of our volunteers and partners to help prevent needless fire tragedies.” The Red Cross noted that households can protect against home fires by taking two steps: Practice a two-minute escape drill and test your smoke alarms monthly.

Fresh food options

Thumbs Up: If you’re new to the area, or don’t know about the Alexandria Farmers Market, you should check it out. Local growers offer a variety of fresh fruits, vegetables, meat and other products on Saturday mornings, from 9 a.m. to noon, all the way through Oct. 30, at Big Ole Central Park (Broadway and Second Avenue). Starting on June 24, the market will also be open on Thursdays from 3 to 6 p.m. at the same location, and beginning on June 29, the market will be open on Tuesdays from 9 a.m. to noon. The vendors accept SNAP EBT, credit cards and debit cards.

Forgetting children in cars

Thumbs Down: Don’t let the heat dull your awareness of how dangerous those hot temperatures can be. More children are dying from heatstroke in cars, either because they were left or became trapped. In 2018 and 2019, a record 53 children died of vehicular heatstroke each year, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. In 2020, during the public health emergency, 24 children lost their lives in hot cars, and in 2021 one child died. Todd County Health and Human Service sent out a news release with information about the tragic deaths and how they happen: About 46% of the time when a child was forgotten in a car, the caregiver meant to drop the child off at a daycare or preschool. Thursdays and Fridays – the end of the workweek – have had the highest deaths. Nearly 75% of children who are forgotten and die are younger than 2 years old. Tips for keeping children safe: Parents and caregivers should get in the habit of always looking inside your car before locking the doors. After parking, remember to look and lock. Everyone should keep their car locked. The second leading cause of such deaths are children getting into unattended vehicles. Lastly, remember that the temperature inside a car can reach over 115 degrees when the outside temperature is just 70 degrees.

Respecting Old Glory

Thumbs Up: No one likes to see a neglected flag with rips or tears, flying on a flagpole. If your flag is looking tattered, it’s time to show your respect to the flag by taking it down and properly disposing of it. Bring it to the Alexandria VFW parking lot at 1 p.m. Monday, June 14. The ceremony is hosted by the American Legion Post 87, Elks Lodge 1685, VFW Post 936, VVA Chapter 235, and Marine Corps League Detachment 1409.

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