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Thumbs Up/Thumbs Down, March 3

Views by the Echo Press Editorial Board. Topics: city parks, Sudoku, cyber attackers, snow plow drivers, trashy behavior.

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Nicole Mace, a member of the Alexandria City Council, and her son, Brandon, attending a parks open house at City Hall on Thursday, Feb. 9.
Celeste Edenloff / Alexandria Echo Press

Envisioning the future of city parks

Thumbs Up: The City of Alexandria continues to encourage residents to express their thoughts about the city’s park system and plans for the future. It held meetings and two open houses, which drew an impressive amount of attendees. It’s also conducted surveys and it’s been actively gathering information and ideas for months. This will ultimately lead to a Parks and Trails Master Plan. It’s the first time the city has done a full-blown comprehensive plan for all of its 22 parks. There’s still time for residents to chip in their two-cents. Go to the city’s website – alexandriamn.city – and click on “City of Alexandria Parks Concept Review.” This will take you to a map showing the parks, a place to leave feedback, study the city’s comprehensive plan, and view results of a parks and trails survey. Hats off to the city for making extra efforts to engage the public in guiding the future of city parks.

Sudoku puzzles will be bigger

Thumbs Up: Readers who enjoy solving the Sudoku puzzles in our print edition of the paper will like this news. After hearing from several readers that our puzzles were too small, our company will be replacing the Sudoku puzzle with a larger version from the Tribune Content agency starting next week. The Sudoku puzzle will soon span the whole two-column space and will be the size it was before. And here’s a reminder for Sudoku fans: There are seven different versions of Sudoku on our website, along with lots of crossword puzzles and other games. Just go to Sections on the front of our website and under Lifestyle click on “Puzzles and Games.”

Cyber attackers may be targeting you

Thumbs Down: If you use public Wi-Fi when you’re out and about, you may want to reconsider. You could be targeted in a cyberattack. Forbes Advisor recently came out with a report, The Risks of Public Wi-Fi in 2023. The company surveyed 2,000 Americans who regularly use public Wi-Fi to understand the risks they’ve experienced while using public networks, where they connect to public Wi-Fi the most, and what they do while on public networks. The key findings: 43% of people who use public Wi-Fi have had their security compromised; restaurants and airports are the most common places to experience a cyberattack on public Wi-Fi; but that doesn’t stop people from using public Wi-Fi – on average people connect to public Wi-Fi 5 times per month. The bottom line: Using public Wi-Fi for any kind of sensitive information is risky if you don't take the proper precautions. See the full report, including the methodology and infographics, here: https://www.forbes.com/advisor/business/public-wifi-risks/ .

Snow plow drivers

Thumbs Up: Although last week’s blizzard didn’t dump as much snow as expected in Douglas County, all the street and highway crews deserve a thumbs up for their quick work in making roads safe. Gov. Tim Walz thanked snowplow drivers, the State Patrol, the National Guard, and emergency responders across the state for their work. “I am proud of this coordinated effort to keep Minnesotans across the state safe,” Walz said in a news release. He added that thousands of state and local snow plow drivers worked day and night to clear snow and keep highways as safe as possible for emergency travel. In the three-day storm, the State Patrol responded to 3,182 calls to 911, and 100 percent of the calls were answered within 20 seconds. Minnesota State Troopers have also responded to dozens of crashes and spinouts.

Trashy, illegal behavior

Thumbs Down: A reader sends a “thumbs down” to people who are using private property dumpsters for personal trash. “There’s been an uptick of people using private dumpsters/recycling bins for their personal trash like rolls of old carpet and carpet pads, old lifejackets, yard waste, etc.” said the reader. “It is illegal to put trash into dumpsters on private property and could result in fines for the illegal dumper. For many businesses and organizations, someone else’s trash can add up to fees for extra pick-ups, fees for excess weight, or, if the items dumped are hazardous, fines. Please be respectful and take your trash to one of the many designated facilities in town for disposal.”

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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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