Display helps local food shelf

Thumbs Up: If you’ve never ventured to “Paulzine’s Winter Wonderland,” you’re in for a treat. Blazing with holiday lights and decorations, the display is located at 2655 Deer Run NW near Garfield. Deb and Al Paulzine have more than 75,000 lights spread across three acres. And there’s more to the display than lights. Kindness also shines through. The Paulzines collect items for the local food shelf. Last year, those who visited the display dropped off more than 1,500 pounds of food and donated $4,300. More information about the display can be found on the Facebook page, “Paulzine’s Winter Wonderland.” Santa Claus is expected to drop by for a visit the two weekends before Christmas. Times and dates will be posted on Facebook.

United Way is fulfilling wish lists

Thumbs Up: Here’s a way to brighten the holidays for a child. The United Way of Douglas and Pope Counties has launched its “Holiday Gift Program,” formerly known as the Adopt a Family. The Holiday Gift Program connects families who need help purchasing gifts for their children with another person (or group) who would like to sponsor their children by checking items off their wish list. This program serves Douglas and Pope County children ages 0-18. Families are matched based on the number of children a sponsor would like to purchase for. A wish list for each child is then provided by email. The sponsor purchases items off of the wish list. New, unwrapped gifts can be dropped off at the United Way of Douglas & Pope Counties office on Friday, Dec. 10 from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. All parties are kept confidential. The form can be filled out at www.uwdp.org or by calling 320-834-7800 Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Registration closes Thursday, Dec. 9.

An elaborate scam is thwarted

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Thumbs Up/Down: A Florida consumer says the Better Business Bureau of Minnesota and North Dakota prevented her from losing thousands of dollars. “You saved me,” she told the bureau after its warning dissuaded her from wiring $34,000 to a con artist, posing as a legitimate Minnesota company trying to steal her money. The attempted scam began when the woman saw an RV online for a low price. When she contacted the seller, the seller told her they had to sell the vehicle now, and pressured her to make a payment quickly. The con was more elaborate than most – the scammers included a third-party shipping company where she was supposed to wire the money. This “shipping company” was an imposter of a legitimate, local shipping company in Burnsville, Minnesota. In this case, the consumers were not the only victims – the real shipping company had its identity stolen. The imposter stole their name and USDOT license to create a fake website, phone number, and address to deceive consumers into believing there was a warehouse storing the vehicles in Minneapolis. The bureau recommends these tips for large online purchases: 1) Never make a payment for a large-ticket item online without first seeing and inspecting the item in person. 2) If you cannot see the item in person, BBB recommends doing research to feel confident in your purchase, including speaking to the seller on the phone. 3) Avoid making unusual payment methods. You should never wire funds, send bank-to-bank transactions, or make payments with prepaid debit or gift cards to a stranger.

Give to Lakes Area Humane Society

Thumbs Up: You may not realize that the Lakes Area Humane Society has a Christmas Wish List. Pet lovers in the area can show their support and appreciation for all the good work the humane society does by donating these items on the wish list: postage stamps (both postcard and first class), dry kitten food (Purina), bleach, paper towels, copy paper, Post It notes, H3 laundry detergent, Lysol Fresh Scent floor cleaner, and break-away cat collars. The humane society is located at 3811 Nevada Street SW, Alexandria, MN 56308, 320-759-2260.

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.