Thumbs Up/Thumbs Down, Jan. 20

Views by the Echo Press Editorial Board. Topics: building surge; children getting sick from edibles; organ donors; barking dogs; roads and highways.

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Building surge continues

Thumbs Up: Even in the dead of winter, building plans and activity continues to take place in and around Alexandria. The city’s building department’s monthly report shows that projects valued at more than $846,000 received permits in December. The projects ranged from a $4,500 project of replacing windows to a $400,000 interior remodel at Taco John’s. It’s good to see construction flourishing in the area.

Kids getting sick from edibles

Thumbs Down: Here’s a wake up call for parents and their children. KSTP-TV recently reported that the number of kids who have accidentally eaten and gotten sick from marijuana edibles has spiked over the past five years. Some cases involved children younger than 6, KSTP reported. Nationwide, the number of cases increased from 207 in 2017 to 3,054 by 2021 – an increase of more than 1,375%. Minnesota’s numbers involving kids under the age of 6 also increased. According to the Minnesota Poison Control System, cases surged from 19 in 2020 to 94 cases in 2022. Parents who have legal edible cannabis products should make sure they’re not accessible for children.

Organ donations on the rise

Thumbs Up: Here’s some good news about people who have saved or improved the lives of others by donating their organs. According to LifeSource, a nonprofit specializing in donated tissue, eyes and organs, there was an 18% increase in organ donations in 2022, and a 21% increase in tissue donations. Combined, this resulted in a 31% increase in transplanted organs. There is a huge need for more donors. A new name is added to the transplant waiting list every nine minutes. There are more than 100,000 people in the U.S. waiting for a life-saving transplant. LifeSource points out that there are a few ways to become a donor, but only one is required to become a registered donor. The first way is to register through your local Minnesota DMV. The second, is to sign up using a donor registry site, such as

Barking dogs

Thumbs Down: A barking dog is one of the most common complaints in the police and sheriff blotters. Some may think that it’s no big deal, people should just get used to it and dogs are only doing what comes natural to them. But still, there are circumstances when it just goes too far. We’re talking about very loud, constant barking for hours at a time. The kind of barking that can wake you up at night or ruin an otherwise pleasant and relaxing time outside. Barking can be a violation of Alexandria’s noise ordinance if it lasts a long time and is loud enough. But this shouldn’t have to be a police issue. Officers have much more important things to do. The responsibility should rest with the dog owners. If a dog is constantly barking outside, the owner should bring their dog inside. If the dog is an outside dog only, owners should consider buying an anti-bark collar. Or they should try teaching their dog a new trick — keeping quiet. There are plenty of tips on how to do this online or in a book. Study up. The neighbors will thank you.

Good roads and highways

Thumbs Up: It’s easy to overlook the hard work and planning that goes into keeping our roads and highways in good shape so traffic flows smoothly in Minnesota. Here’s some well-deserved recognition: ConsumerAffairs researched which states are the best and worst to drive through. It analyzed data from the U.S. Department of Transportation, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, the Federal Highway Administration and its own data to rank the best and worst road conditions for travel by state, according to the following criteria: Federal Highway Administration road quality, motor crash fatalities, amount spent per mile of road and vehicle miles traveled. Minnesota ranked second best, just behind New Hampshire. Vermont, Alabama and Idaho rounded out the top five. Residents from these states remarked on the roads’ smooth pavement, funding for repairs and regular maintenance. What state has the worst roads? Hawaii has the worst roads, according to the study, followed by Rhode Island, Louisiana, California and Wisconsin. Residents of these states said their roads have potholes, poor patch jobs and regular heavy congestion.


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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By the Echo Press Editorial Board
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