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Thumbs Up/Thumbs Down, July 29

Views by the Echo Press Editorial Board. Topics: baseball fields, power of newspapers, faded street markings, mail package scam, drivers blocking lanes.

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Improving baseball fields in Alexandria

Thumbs Up: The Alexandria Youth Baseball Association’s fundraising campaign is in its early stages but we hope it hits a homerun. The association is leading the charge to improve baseball fields at Knute Nelson Memorial Park, Dean Melton/Fillmore Park and 14 school district fields, including the Alexandria High School Softball Complex. Some of the much-needed upgrades for Knute Nelson Memorial Park include improved seating in the grandstand, a new concession stand and press box, new lights and security, enlarged and improved dugouts, a new scoreboard, improving the infield, improving bathrooms, enlarging and improving the dugouts, and adding an indoor batting and pitching facility with a clubhouse. These kinds of improvements can push the facilities to the next level and put Alexandria in the running for hosting more tournaments, concerts, movie nights and other events. That translates into a surge of economic activity in our area as visitors shop, gill up with gas, go to a restaurant or shop. There are plenty of ways to support this project – five giving levels ranging from $500 for a “single” to a “grand slam level” of $100,000 and above; having your name engraved on a brick for the baseball players’ paver Walk of Fame; buying an engraved brick that will be part of a display path known as Friends of Alexandria Baseball; and more. They’re also exploring the idea of having a half-cent sales tax. For more details on the campaign, see today’s Sports section.

The power of newspapers

Thumbs Up: How many Minnesotans actually read newspapers? More than you think. A full-page ad is being printed in most of Minnesota’s 270 newspapers this week, including the Echo Press (July 27 issue, page 14), that addressed the question, “How many Minnesotans read newspapers?” A new study conducted by Coda Research and released publicly this week finds 3.9 million – or 86% of Minnesota adults – read newspapers each month. Minnesota is known as the state with the highest voter turnout in the nation. Coda Research finds Minnesotans rely on newspapers as their primary source of news and information about schools, local government, high school sports, local entertainment, candidates/ballot issues, crime and safety. Coda finds 78% of Minnesota newspaper readers are under age 65, 68% own homes, 77% vote in local elections and 69% take action as a result of newspaper advertising. Minnesota newspaper readers could fill up U.S. Bank Stadium’s 73,000 seats 53 times. And, Minnesota newspaper readers nearly double the 2 million Minnesota State Fair goers. So the next time you hear someone say that “no one” reads newspapers anymore, remember these findings and set them straight.

Street markings are fading fast

Thumbs Down: The striping of many highways and streets in the Alexandria area have faded so much that drivers are having a hard time seeing the markings. “Many center stripes, lane markings, no passing areas (double stripes), turn arrows, yellow curb no parking areas and even crosswalks and school crossings are badly in need of repainting,” a resident told us. “Third Avenue and Nokomis Street, especially the intersection of Third and Nokomis are classic examples.” The resident added that the faded markings not only makes the area look bad, it also is dangerous.

Mail package scam

Thumbs Down: The lengths that some scammers go to is despicable. The latest scam misrepresents the U.S. Post Office. An Alexandria woman told us about it last week. She received a phone text that caught her attention because she was expecting two packages to be delivered that day. The text was supposedly from the Post Office saying that one package had the wrong address on it and the Post Office wanted the correct address. And, by the way, there would be a $3 delivery charge and she’d have to use her credit card number to pay for it. It was a scam – one that the woman did not fall for. She knew the Post Office never uses texts like that. But it was a sophisticated attempt. “All of the messaging appears like official USPS,” the woman said. The woman’s two packages were delivered and when she stopped at the Post Office the next day, a clerk told her this was the newest, hottest scam. “I can only imagine how some of my elderly friends would have reacted to this scenario,” she said.

Drivers blocking lanes

Thumbs Down: We received this email from a frustrated driver in Alexandria: “When pulling into a left turn lane, please do it COMPLETELY,” the email said. “Some are caught halfway into the turn lane and half of their vehicle is in the driving Lane. If turning left, GET TOTALLY IN THAT LANE. DO NOT BLOCK TWO LANES.”

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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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By the Echo Press Editorial Board
By the Echo Press Editorial Board