Thumbs Up/Thumbs Down, June 3

Views by the Echo Press Editorial Board. Topics: Weather spotters, weather gawkers, deputy's kind act, ditch cleaners, butcher shop help, DMS eight-graders.

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A submitted file photo of storm clouds taken Thursday, May 12, 2022, on Birch Avenue in Miltona.
Contributed photo

Weather spotters

Thumbs Up: Douglas County residents once again had to take shelter because of a tornado. It was the second touch-down in 18 days. Once again, we were fortunate that no serious injuries were reported. And once again, we should be very grateful to all those who respond in these horrific, emergency situations. In a previous “thumbs up,” we saluted a lot of people and agencies that help calm the chaos when severe weather hits, but there was one group we neglected to mention: The weather spotters. These are the trained firefighters and first responders who keep their eyes to the sky when bad weather threatens. They’re called out at all times of day and night. They have to drop what they are doing, go to areas where they’re needed and stay calm while reporting to the county dispatch center if they see hail, heavy rains, damaging winds, suspicious cloud formations or any other insights. Their observations help track the path of the storm and can give precious minutes for those who are at risk, giving them time to prepare for the danger ahead.

Storm gawkers

Thumbs Down: On the topic of tornadoes, here’s a thumbs down to the “lookie-loos” who drive around during or immediately after a bad storm, trying to catch a glimpse of the storm damage. They typically end up clogging roads that are already difficult for emergency responders to use because of fallen trees and powerlines. Law enforcement has to waste manpower by setting up detours to keep these snoops away. In our stories about the last tornado, we shared law enforcement’s pleas for people to steer clear of tornado-damaged sites. One Facebook commenter, who had to deal with the storm gawkers after the May 12 tornado, thanked the newspaper for telling people to stay away from the storm-hit areas. “Good Lord, nothing like a parade as you try to process what the hell just happened,” she said. “Prayers to all those affected.”

Deputy delivers kindness

Thumbs Up: A Forada couple came home to an unpleasant surprise on Memorial Day weekend. Someone damaged their mailbox. They called the Douglas County Sheriff’s Office and a deputy came out to see if he could help repair the mailbox. He ended up taking the mailbox with him and came back later with a new mailbox. The couple said he told them it was so badly damaged that he got them a new one. “He was the nicest young man,” the Forada woman said. “I feel so lucky to live in this community.”

Keeping ditches clean

Thumbs Up: Thousands of Adopt a Highway volunteers helped to keep Minnesota roadsides clean and free of litter in 2021 by picking up more than 29,500 bags of trash from highway ditches, according to the Minnesota Department of Transportation. Across Minnesota, over 1,500 Adopt a Highway groups volunteered their time for more than 70,000 hours collectively last year. With 830 roadway sections currently available for adoption statewide, MnDOT welcomes more groups to volunteer for this program. Groups who want to volunteer should visit MnDOT’s Adopt a Highway website to find their local program coordinator. Volunteers are asked to commit to the program for at least two years and pick up litter on both sides of their roadway section at least twice a year. The average length of an adopted roadway is two miles.

Lake Country Meats to the rescue

Thumbs Up: A Garfield couple gives a big thumbs up to Lake Country Meats in Alexandria. After the May 12 storm hit, they were without power but they found out Lake Country Meats was making freezer space available to anyone who had lost electric service. As a result, they were able to bring a whole buffalo that they had recently purchased for about $3,000 to the butcher shop. “They were so polite to us and so good,” the couple said. “We couldn’t have asked for anything better.”


Hard working eighth-graders

Thumbs Up: Ann Wolff of Alexandria sends a thumbs up to the eighth-graders from Discovery Middle School who volunteered to help several senior citizens with spring cleanup by tilling gardens, washing windows etc. The effort was part of National Caring Day and helped many local residents.

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A group of Discovery Middle School eighth-graders helped with spring clean-up and other chores as part of National Caring Day.
Contributed photo

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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