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Thumbs Up/Thumbs Down: Views from the Echo Press Editorial Board

A big crowd checks out the Douglas County Fair on Saturday, Aug. 19. Attendance was estimated at 45,000, up about 5,000 from last year's fair. (Al Edenloff | Echo Press)

A fun-filled fair

Thumbs Up: Another Douglas County Fair is in the history books — and it was a memorable, fun-filled one. The Douglas County Fair Board deserves a big thumbs up for keeping this proud tradition going strong year after year, generation after generation. The exhibits, the rides, the food, the entertainment, the vendor booths, the 4-H activities — there's so much for all ages to enjoy. One of the secrets to the fair's success is that it doesn't get stale. New events spice things up, such as this year's Lawnmower Demolition Derby, talent contest, pie eating contests and daily $250 cash giveaways. This year brought another very special attraction — the 9/11 Never Forget Traveling Exhibit, which delivered an emotional message about heroes and sacrifice. Improvements are added every year, using the revenue collected through the admission fees that some grumble about, but keep the fair looking good. It was great to see another "up" year for turnout, with 45,000 attending the four-day get-together. With the bar set so high, there's no way to please everyone, but the fair board does its best. A posting on its Facebook page summed it up: "So much work, so much preparation. Try to do our best but yet things fall through the cracks. Thanks for understanding our failures and enjoying our successes."

Contractor complaints

Thumbs Down: We've been getting complaints about contractors who are not practicing good customer service. One resident said he's contacted several local companies to do some work on his house but they didn't even have the courtesy of calling him back. He's left several messages but has been ignored. If the contractors are too busy to return a simple phone call, they may soon find themselves with plenty of time on their hands. Another reader warned us about a construction worker who has been advertising on craigslist that he's available to do side jobs, but after he gets the down payment, he skips town. Before you hire a contractor, it's always a good idea to make sure they are licensed, to check their references and get everything in writing.

Run for the Cops

Thumbs Up: The Douglas County Sheriff's Federation gives a thumbs up to everyone who braved the rainy weather last Saturday morning to "Run for the Cops" — an annual 5K fun run/walk. All of the proceeds from the event are donated right back to the community. "We

also appreciate the continued support of local businesses," said Ron Boyden from the federation. "We couldn't do what we do without support from the businesses and citizens of Douglas County."

Still waiting for title

Thumbs Down: How long should it take to get a vehicle title from the state? Maybe a month, two months? An Alexandria resident has been waiting for eight months. He just wants to transfer the lost title of his 2002 car to his son, who plans to sell it but he's been running into frustrating delays. After waiting for several months, he was told that in order to release the title he needed to provide information that showed the vehicle was covered by insurance, which he said he had already done previously. He filled out the paperwork anyway but he's still waiting. In the meantime, his son can't sell the car because of the title hold-up. Some delay is expected in this age of bureaucracy, but eight months? Thumbs down.

Broadway jaybirds

Thumbs Down: Like it or not, Alexandria, with a population of more than 13,500, is no longer a small town. It's a growing city, with a lot of traffic, especially during the summer months and busy times of day. Some people forget that while walking downtown. They'll stroll across Broadway, not at a crosswalk or at a signal light, but in the middle of the street, in the middle of the day, with traffic streaming along at a fast clip. Just this week, we saw a mother meandering across Broadway, between busy streets, with a 2-year-old perched on her shoulders, apparently expecting drivers to stop in their tracks. There are also cyclists out there who are ignoring the "walk your bike" signs on Broadway sidewalks. We've been lucky. There haven't been a lot of pedestrian or bike crashes on Broadway. But that could change quickly and the odds get higher every time a jaywalker or bicyclist breaks the law.

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