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Thumbs Up/Thumbs Down, Aug. 12

Views by the Echo Press Editorial Board. Topics: A dedicated Bethany worker, Resorters Golf Tournament, school supplies tax break, frivolous police calls, blood donors

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Joan Moore, right, is shown with Melissa Braund, nurse manager of the Pelican Bay Memory Unit where Moore works.
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Forty years with Bethany

Thumbs Up: Here’s a thumbs up to Joan Moore, who is celebrating her 40th year of dedication and service to Bethany on the Lake in Alexandria. She was honored at an event on Saturday, Aug. 6 when Bethany on the Lake provided her with a $400 check to celebrate her 40th year of working at the skilled nursing facility's Pelican Bay Memory Unit.

More than par for the course

Thumbs Up: Another successful Resorters Golf Tournament – the 101st annual – wrapped up at the Alexandria Golf Club last weekend. It’s a well-run, eight-day tournament that provides fun and entertainment for not only the nearly 450 golfers who compete in 10 different divisions but also for the family and friends these golfers bring into town with them. The economic impact of this annual event is staggering when one considers all the money that these Reporters competitors and supporters spend in our community – shopping, dining out, buying gas, visiting our museums, catching a movie and more. The event also transcends hitting a white ball around the course. Friendships are formed, traditions are established, old friends share memories. The Resorters also showcases the Alexandria area and what it has to offer. It’s a safe bet that those who travel into town for the tournament have scheduled more than a few vacations here as well. It also takes a lot of effort to run such a large-scale event – about 125 volunteers help make it all happen.

Savings on school supplies

Thumbs Up: The Minnesota Department of Revenue reminds parents and caregivers to save receipts on school supply purchases to claim valuable K-12 tax benefits when filing their taxes next year. Two tax benefits can help Minnesota families pay expenses related to their child’s education: the refundable K-12 Education Credit (income limits apply) and the K-12 Education Subtraction (no income limits). Last year, more than 19,000 families received the K-12 Education Credit and saved an average of $261. Nearly 130,000 families received the K-12 Education Subtraction with an average subtraction of $1,207. These programs reduce the tax parents pay and could deliver a larger refund when filing a Minnesota income tax return. To qualify, the purchases must be for educational services or required materials. The child must be attending kindergarten through 12th grade at a public, private, or home school and meet other qualifications. Most expenses for educational instruction or materials qualify, including: paper, pens and notebooks, textbooks, rental or purchases of educational equipment such as musical instruments, computer hardware (hotspots, modems, and routers) and educational software (up to $200 for the subtraction and $200 for the credit), and after-school tutoring and educational summer camps taught by a qualified instructor. More families should be aware of these credits. They can make a difference for those on tight budgets. Keep those receipts!

Frivolous calls to police

Thumbs Down: Why do people call the police for dumb reasons? It’s in the blotter all the time. A parent will call to complain that their 8-year-old child won’t go to school, or someone will report that a man was walking in a park. Here’s some questionable calls to the police department and sheriff’s office in just the last couple of days – a complaint of a skunk in the area; a caller who reported their neighbors are “always noisy”; a brother and sister fighting over social media; loud music coming from a truck in a parking lot; a mailbox was hit with a bat, not destroyed; a cat was in a tree; and a person who put a dollar into a coin machine and it spit out a bunch of quarters, which he wanted the police to pick up. These kinds of calls can tie up resources and take up law enforcement time that would be better spent elsewhere. We’re not saying that people shouldn’t be vigilant. They should just think twice before calling authorities for trivial matters.

Blood donors doing more than their share

Thumbs Up: Did you know about 62% of the U.S. population is eligible to give blood? But only about 3% does? By making an appointment to help save lives with the American Red Cross in August, donors can pump up the blood supply and keep it from falling to shortage levels. As a thank you, all who come to give Aug. 1-31 will be automatically entered for a chance to win gas for a year, a $6,000 value, according to Red Cross leaders. There will be three lucky winners. Everyone who comes to give blood or platelets in August will also receive a $10 e-gift card to a merchant of choice. Donors can schedule an appointment to give using the Red Cross Blood Donor App, by visiting RedCrossBlood.org or by calling 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767).

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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.

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