Cheers to a little calm, finally

Cheers for the wind seemingly settling down at last. Most of the time, there really is nothing wrong with wind. It can cool us off on a hot summer's day and it can provide energy (just imagine the excitement of the people running regional wind farms in the past week).

However, it has been quite dangerous around here lately, and all over Minnesota. Last week, strong winds helped to push banks of ice ashore on Lake Mille Lacs, damaging some homes in its path.
Then there is the fact that on Tuesday there were plenty of fields being blown around. We also can't forget the winds playing a part in the wildfires down in Menahga that have destroyed several homes and structures.With the winds calming on Wednesday, the firefighters have been able to get at the fire easier and start containing it. Thank goodness for that.

Like it's been said, there's nothing wrong with a little wind, but there better be some good rains before the next time nature decides to generate gale-force winds. It looks like this weekend will
bring those good rains.

– Amanda Wagner, Times’ intern

Jeers to bad phone manners

How many times have you answered the phone lately only to have a completely rude telemarketer/ salesperson on the other end?
Is our country forgetting how to have appropriate telephone manners or is it just people in this line of work?

It's not as though one expects "Captain Friendly" to be on the other end of the line when receiving a call from an unknown entity, but a little courtesy goes a long way. It is tough to remain "Minnesota Nice" when your barely identified caller starts off their spiel practically insulting your intelligence.

For example: Caller: "Is Jane available?" Phone abuse victim: "No, she is not available. May I take a message?" Caller: "I am so and so from whatever company. Now, repeat my name and title to make sure you have it right. Okay, now say it again. Now
spell it backwards while standing on one foot and hopping." Phone messages aren't that tricky, people.

Could this be a product of the way many people treat the hard-working sales force doomed to randomly call strangers and convince them to make a purchase? Maybe. Should this jeer be aimed at people who get upset when their dinner is interrupted by an opportunity to extend their vehicle warranty by ten
years for only $99.99 a month? Possibly. The fact is, someone has to do this rather unappealing job and they don't deserve to be harassed for working hard, but then again, the rest of us don't need to be verbally hassled when we answer the phone either. What a viscous cycle this is!

– Jaime Jensen