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An underpass tunnel containing graffiti (left) was recently repainted by employees with Widseth Smith Nolting and Associates. (Contributed)

WSN's painting projects

Thumbs Up: For Widseth Smith Nolting's "Edge" activities week, employees took advantage of the opportunity to give back to the community. On Thursday, Sept. 27, the company painted the underpass tunnel on Nokomis St. and Voyager Dr. that had previously been vandalized with graffiti. A few weeks before that, WSN painted the bridge on the Central Lakes Trail near First Ave. that had also been vandalized with graffiti. The painting projects are much appreciated by those using the tunnel and trail under the bridge.

Manufacturing muscle

Thumbs Up: Let's hear it for our small manufacturers! Without them, Alexandria and other areas throughout the state would not be the vibrant, dynamic and economic force they are. In recognition of the role manufacturing serves in Minnesota, Governor Mark Dayton proclaimed this week, Oct. 1-7, as "Minnesota Manufacturing Week." The event highlights the sector's many contributions to the state, and educates Minnesotans about the high-quality career and employment opportunities available in the industry. "Manufacturing plays a critical role in the growth of Minnesota's economy, providing access to high-quality, high-wages jobs," said Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development Commissioner Shawntera Hardy in a news release. "Our highly skilled workforce is a major reason why Minnesota is a leader in manufacturing," added Minnesota Department of Labor and Industry Commissioner Ken Peterson. Manufacturing contributed $49.2 billion to Minnesota's economy in 2017, is the second-largest industry in the state, and accounts for 16 percent of Minnesota's gross domestic product. In 2017, exports from the manufacturing field brought $19 billion to the state's economy. Of all of the state's business sectors, Minnesota's manufacturing workers brought home the second-highest amount of wages. On average, manufacturing positions paid workers a $65,728 salary in 2017 — nearly 16 percent higher than the state's overall average wage.

Irresponsible trappers

Thumbs Down: An Alexandria resident sends a plea to people who try to trap a cat on the loose in their neighborhood: Make sure it is not a mother cat with kittens being left behind. "This is simple to do by checking her stomach," she said. "If unsure, leave the traps and set out food for at least two weeks and monitor to see if the food is being eaten. I have heard more than once that someone has an aggressive cat in their neighborhood. The cat is almost always a female with kittens who is just protecting her young while striving to find food and shelter. There is so much more I would like to say about this matter, but I beg of you to be responsible and kind when trapping any animal. Please."

Loud garbage trucks

Thumbs Down: An Alexandria resident is weary of the loud rumbling noises from garbage haulers that stop to pick up the bins in his neighborhood every day. He said they rumble through at least four times a week. A better solution, he said, would be if the various haulers all came through on the same day. That way, there'd be just one loud day, not four. This, however, would require some coordination between the haulers or regulation from the city. We'd like to know what other residents think? Is this a problem? Is it too loud, too often? Would it be better to put up with the noise once a week instead of four? Email your thoughts to the newspaper at

Missing money website

Thumbs Up: A reader is impressed with the Minnesota Commerce Department website — — that lists missing/lost accounts at banks, insurance, business places and other sources. "I've run people's names through and several have recovered money — one of them got over $10,000," the reader noted. "I think the Echo Press would be doing a public service if they ran an ongoing ad promoting the site or at least occasionally. It is a nationwide

site and easy to use. Anyone can search anyone else. Recovery of funds is simple and quick after verification."

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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.