Thumbs Up/Thumbs Down, Oct. 7

Views by the Echo Press Editorial Board. Topics: ATV safety, newspapers in classrooms, parking lot conditions, environmental learning, Pilgrim Point Park.

Trail Ambassadors, left to right, Sonya Anderson, Randy Dertinger and Earl Anderson stand with Lily Flanery and her new helmet, courtesy of the Runestone Off-Road ATV Riders or ROAR.
Contributed photo

Promoting safety, one kid at a time

Thumbs Up: The Runestone Off-Road ATV Riders, known as ROAR, had a fun outing on Saturday, Sept. 24 with the Miltona Lions for its ATV fundraiser ride. ROAR asked to be a part of the event and arrived with its safety equipped trailer. Some of the ROAR members, including Earl and Sonya Anderson, are Trail Ambassadors – TAs – for Minnesota and they set up the trailer before the ride. A 7-year-old girl, Lily Flanery, showed up without a helmet (state law requires children 18 and under to wear one). When Sonya asked if she had one, she said she just had a bike helmet at home. “I could tell her mom just wilted,” Sonya said. “She thought she might be getting a ticket or something. TAs don’t give tickets; they are out there to show a presence and promote safety.” Sonya took Lily to the ROAR trailer and she found a pink and purple one in her size. Sonya told her she could keep it. “I haven’t seen that much excitement since our grandkids were little like Lily,” Sonya said. “When she showed mom, she couldn’t believe it. No ticket and a helmet to keep.” Lily also received some ROAR stickers and a card with the club’s new logo on the back. “Someone called Lily ‘ROAR Girl’ and it stuck,” Sonya added. “She wanted to be called that the rest of the day!” ROAR is working with the county commissioners, sheriff’s office, Brad Bonk from the park department, and the Department of Natural Resources to make an ordinance for Class I, straddle machines and Class II SideXSides to travel the same roads.

Providing newspapers in classrooms

Thumbs Up: Everyone who supported the 22nd annual Echo Press Strike Out Illiteracy fundraiser at Garden Center Lanes on Sept. 20 deserves a bowler’s thumbs up.Thirty teams participated this year, along with 16 lane sponsors and three classroom sponsors. Proceeds go to the Newspapers In Education program, which makes it possible for the Echo Press to furnish schools throughout Douglas County with newspapers that teachers use as a teaching tool in their classrooms. We know this program is much appreciated by the teachers and the students. To learn more about the NIE program, contact Lynn Mounsdon at the Echo Press, 320-763-3133.

Not maintaining parking lots

Thumbs Down: An Alexandria reader sent a thumbs down to businesses that do not maintain their parking lots. “The parking lot at the Alexandria Clinic desperately needs to be resurfaced and restriped,” he said. “There’s no excuse for not having parking spaces clearly striped and a smooth driving surface. And not to just pick on them, there are other local businesses with none or very weathered parking stripes.” Many of these businesses are tenants, he said. “Come on landlords, that’s your responsibility to maintain tenant buildings and parking lots! How expensive can it be to paint stripes on a parking lot twice a year? We expect striping on our streets and highways. It’s time for business owners and shopping malls and strip malls to paint those parking lots!”

Learning about the environment

Thumbs Up: The Todd County EnviroFest was a big hit, drawing more than 300 sixth-grade students, including those from St. Agnes and Osakis Public Schools. It’s an all day, hands-on educational event on a farm setting, according to the Todd County Soil and Water Conservation District. This year’s event was held on Thursday, Sept. 22 at Dale and Marie Katterhagen’s farm, just outside of Browerville.

A jewel of a park/irresponsible dog owners

Thumbs Up/Thumbs Down: Pilgrim Point Park on Lake Ida is getting good use. According to the Ida Lake Association’s newsletter, boaters and swimmers are enjoying its calm, protected water and sandy beach. It serves as a great way to gather and socialize with other Lake Ida boaters. “What a jewel we have in the use of this land!” the newsletter said. But there is a problem: Some people are beaching their watercraft at the park and are allowing their dogs to run free. They’re also not picking up their dog’s waste. The association noted that the county’s park ordinance says pets brought to the park or beach area must be accompanied by their owner and restrained at all times by a leash. “Responsible pet owners should pick up their animal’s waste and dispose of it properly,” the newsletter said. “Let’s maintain a clean, safe park for all to enjoy.”


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.

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