Thumbs Up/Thumbs Down, June 17

Views by the Echo Press Editorial Board. Topics: Festivals, disrespectful drivers, pizza for a cause, being nice to bees, putting dogs at risk

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At last year's Osakis Days Festival, parade-goers gather candy that was tossed on Sunday, June 20, 2021.
Echo Press file photo

Festivals and celebrations

Thumbs Up: It’s so good to see community festivals returning this spring and summer. They are part of the fabric that knits people together, creates proud traditions, and helps define what a community is all about. This week, Rune Stone Days in Kensington will take place June 16-19 with pageants, garage sales, bake sales, axe throwing, children’s games, music, fireworks, crafts and vendors, car show, tractor pull, a parade and much more. The following week, June 23-26 is Osakis’ time in the spotlight. The Osakis Days Festival will include downtown sidewalk sales, meat raffles, a medallion hunt, kids’ games in Park Osagi, bingo, a street dance, food truck, a BBQ party, water fights, and a parade. And you don’t want to miss the Vikingland Band Festival on Sunday, June 26 at 1:30 p.m., featuring 17 top-notch marching bands. There are also summer celebrations planned in Evansville (July 1-3), Miltona (July 15-17), Alexandria’s Art in the Park (July 30-31), Brandon (Aug. 3-7), Parkers Prairie (Aug. 5-7), Garfield (Aug. 12-13), the Douglas County Fair (Aug. 17-20) and more. If you’ve never experienced any of these gatherings before, take a short drive and check them out. They’re a whole lot of fun. Check our Lakeland Shopping Guide for more details on the festivals as the summer heats up.

Disrespectful drivers

Thumbs Down: An Alexandria resident said he’s noticed two troubling trends in the city. First, no one pays attention to the signs at local parking stalls that are designated for people with disabilities. “So many times you see young people, or individuals with no license plate marked for those slots or no sign in their window for using these stalls,” the resident said in an email. “One should feel ashamed for thinking you are so important that you can’t walk 25 yards more to get into a store.” His second thumbs down is for the lack of respect for stop signs. “That sign doesn’t mean just slow down somewhat; it means come to a complete stop,” the resident said. “The same when turning right on a red light. One must come to a stop and then proceed when safe. What example are we showing our children and young upcoming drivers, when we view driving laws with total disdain?”

Pizza for a good cause

Thumbs Up: Alexandria Community Wood Fired Pizza is again teaming with nonprofits in the community every Wednesday evening this summer from 4:30 to 7 p.m. at 2210 6th Ave. E (the United Methodist Church in Alexandria). Pizzas are available for takeout or can be enjoyed on the patio. All proceeds go to support a wide variety of nonprofit organizations. For more information, go to

Being nice to the bees

Thumbs Up: Now is a great time to help the bees – June is National Pollinators Month. You can create a pollinator-friendly landscape by following these tips from the University of Minnesota: Focus on a "healthy" environment, not a perfect landscape. Choose plants that provide food and habitat for pollinators. Plant a bee lawn. Replace lawn areas that are difficult to mow with shrubs and flowers. Adopt best practices in landscape maintenance to improve plant health and eliminate the need for pesticides. Some suggestions on what to plant: roses, lilacs, fruit-bearing shrubs 6 feet tall and under, trees such as apple, crabapple, pear, cherry and plum; vines and climbers. Here’s why it’s important: About one out of every three bites of food we eat exists because of pollinators. About 75% of the world’s flowering plants depend on pollinators to reproduce. More than 3,500 species of native bees help increase crop yields.

Giving dogs heat stroke

Thumbs Down: With temperatures expected to climb near 100 degrees this Sunday, some people will neglect their dogs, leaving them in a hot car or under a hot sun with no shade for hours. Such incidents come across the police scanner more often than one would expect. Off Leash K9 Training in Osakis recently posted information on how to recognize signs of heat stroke in dogs, from head to toe. Head – seizures, dizziness, and signs of confusion. Mouth – vomiting, heaving panting, excessive drooling, change in gum color. Body – lethargy, restlessness, high body temperature, diarrhea. Heart – a racing heart beat. Feet – collapsing or staggering. Dog owners who see such signs should move the dog into a cool area; apply cool water all over the dog’s body; apply cool towels to the dog’s head, neck and chest; give the dog small drinks of cool water; and if the signs don’t improve, immediately take your dog to the veterinarian.


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