Decluttering Alexandria

Thumbs Up: The city of Alexandria is doing its part to make the city tidier with its annual Metal Pick-Up Day. Alex Rubbish and Recycling is also partnering in the effort. It will take place Tuesday, Sept. 28. In-town residents with metal objects they wish to dispose of may place the items on their boulevard and have them removed at no charge. (No furniture, mattresses, electronics or TVs will be accepted.) To participate, residents must fill out an agreement form, which is being printed in the Echo Press and Lakeland Shopping Guide, and mail it or drop it off at Alexandria City Hall, 704 Broadway. Forms will not be accepted after 4:30 p.m. on Monday, Sept. 27. (Commercial customers are not eligible.) This is a great opportunity for residents to declutter their backyards, basements and garages of metal junk that’s been an eyesore for years.

A hobby that helps the environment

Thumbs Up: Looking for a fun, new, challenging, rewarding hobby? Become a University of Minnesota Extension Master Gardener volunteer. These gardeners bring science-based horticulture knowledge and practices to Minnesota, promoting healthy landscapes and building communities through volunteer efforts. According to the U of M, many don’t realize that becoming a Master Gardener gives volunteers a chance to expand their interests in several different areas, including sustainability, local foods, pollinators and climate change. Master Gardeners also put their skills to work conserving green spaces, native plants and clean water. The university has trained thousands of Master Gardeners and each year, they contribute more than 140,000 hours of service in Minnesota communities. This year, the training will be all online and spread out over 14 weeks. To become a Master Gardener, individuals commit to complete online training and 50 hours of volunteering in the first year. After the first year, they commit 25 hours to annual volunteer work; many choose to devote more time to the program. “Now more than ever, people around the state are turning to gardening as a soothing, family-friendly endeavor and a way to serve neighborhoods and communities. Interest in growing food is high, as is commitment to addressing local issues such as water quality and preservation of native plants,” said Tim Kenny, statewide director, Extension Master Gardener Volunteer Program. Douglas County has an active and excellent master gardener program. Learn more about it on its website, or call 320-762-3890.

Putting children's lives at risk

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Thumbs Down: Without knowing it, many parents put their young children at risk by not using child car seats properly, or purchasing the wrong kind of seat. Todd County Health and Human Services pointed this out in a news release, noting that each year, thousands of young children are killed or injured in car crashes. “Proper use of car safety seats helps keep children safe. But, because so many different seats are on the market, many parents find this overwhelming,” the news release said. “If you are expectant parents, consider working with a certified passenger safety technician (CPST or CPS technician), before your baby is born, to ensure a safe ride home from the hospital.” The type of seat your child needs depends on several things, including your child’s age, size, and developmental needs. Visit the American Academy of Pediatrics – – for more information or go to and search for “car safety seats.”

A veteran's humble thank you

Thumbs Up: Retired pastor Dane Werley Compton, a veteran in Garfield who served in the Marines and was honorably discharged in 1962 with the rank of Corporal-E4, was recently honored for his service. He was spotlighted in a Sept. 1 advertisement through a joint effort between the Echo Press, Douglas County Veterans Services and Hedine Jewelers that salutes military members in the community. He also appeared on a billboard near the Alexandria Clinic, which also featured veterans Gabe Pipo and Daryl Tvrdik. Compton said he was thankful to Lind Family Funeral Homes for their personal, dignified and respectful services. Compton said he was humbled by the honor and grateful to veterans’ officer Jacob Turner and his staff for their kind, respectful and thankful cooperation in the effort. He also thanked the Echo Press, veterans services and Hedine Jewelry as well as other businesses and people for their respectful, appreciative support of military personnel, past and present. He offered a special thanks to KXRA Radio and Voice of Alexandria news director Joe Korkowski.

Striping on streets is fading away

Thumbs Down: The striping of streets, crosswalks, arrows for turn lanes on some streets in Alexandria appear to be overdue for a re-striping. "A particular case in point is downtown Broadway where the lane lines no longer exist," noted a reader. "We have seen very little to no striping done this past spring or summer. Perhaps early this fall is still a good time to give attention to this problem."

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.