Thumbs Up/Thumbs Down, July 15

Views by the Echo Press Editorial Board. Topics: Miltona tornado, election judges, selfish drivers, opioid addiction, imposter scams, a caring state.

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Miltona celebrates resiliency

Thumbs Up: Miltona continues to celebrate its resiliency. A tornado tore apart buildings in the heart of the town back on July 18, 1970, but the community came back strong — rebuilding the town to make it better than ever. They celebrate the recovery with an annual “Tornado Days” festival. It takes place this weekend, July 15-17, with a variety of fun events – food, medallion hunt, a farmers market, craft sale, children’s games, water fights, parade and more. More details are in today’s Life section. Residents throughout the region should make the short drive to Miltona and join the fun.

Judges help elections run smoothly

Thumbs Up: We give a thumbs up to election judges. They work long hours on a very important job – ensuring elections run smoothly and fairly – but they’re often overlooked. At Monday’s Alexandria City Council meeting, 72 election judges were appointed for the Aug. 9 primary election and the Nov. 8 general election. And those are just the judges in the city limits of Alexandria. Other cities and townships throughout the county also rely on election judges too. The judges are also required to complete two hours of training to prepare them for the elections.

Drivers hogging handicapped spaces

Thumbs Down: This is pretty simple: If you don’t have a disability parking certificate or a placard, don’t park in handicapped-reserved spaces. Those spaces are needed for those with actual disabilities. We see it all too often in Alexandria. People who are not supposed to be using those spaces park there, probably thinking that it will only be a minute or two. Don’t be selfish. Don’t be the person in this Alexandria police blotter item from July 8: “Parking Complaint, 604 44th Ave W. Alexandria – black chevy pickup with trailer parked in handicap spot also taking up four other parking spots.”

Addressing opioid addiction

Thumbs Up: The Alexandria Lakes Area Chamber of Commerce deserves credit for offering a one-hour, informal virtual “Listen and Learn” that will focus on a tough topic — opioid addiction. It will take place Wednesday, July 20 from noon to 1 p.m. Opioid addiction is one of those topics that people avoid talking about. But they should be aware of just how serious the problem is, how to get help, how others have recovered from it and the support that’s available. More than 100,000 opioid overdoses occurred in the U.S. last year. There’s also considerable stigma associated with Opioid Use Disorder or OUD. At the Listen and Learn, a family medicine physician from Alomere Health will lead the discussion, along with a speaker who will talk about his personal journey through recovery. For more information, call the Chamber at 320-763-3161 or email .

Imposter scam

Thumbs Down: Here’s a new crime to be wary of. CenterPoint Energy is alerting customers of reported increases in door-to-door, phone call and text message scams. Reports of individuals impersonating CenterPoint Energy have employed various tactics, including requests to check natural gas meters at customers’ homes and spoofing company phone numbers to threaten service disconnection. CenterPoint Energy will never call a customer and demand payment over the phone to avoid immediate disconnection. The company would never ask customers to make payments with a pre-paid debit card, gift card, any form of cryptocurrency or third-party digital payment mobile applications. Also, all CenterPoint Energy technicians and contractors will have a company badge to display when performing work. Depending on the particular scam, customers who believe they have been a victim can also take the following steps to report – file a report with the local police department; file a report with the FBI; file a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission.


Minnesota is a caring state

Thumbs Up: Here’s a bit of good news: Minnesota ranks as the second most “caring state” in the USA, according to a new report by . The report is based on seven different factors – homelessness, recycling rates, happiness, non-profit organizations per 100,000 people, animal rescue centers, percentage of workforce non-profits and charitable searches. Minnesota had a “caring score” of 7.11, just behind Connecticut with a score of 8.13.

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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