Published 12:00 am Saturday, January 6, 2007

UP &8212; To the Albert Lea Family Y.

The Albert Lea Family Y doesn&8217;t turn people away for inability to pay the membership dues. The organization focuses on the values of physical fitness, which is good for anyone. Now it has embarked on its 2007 capital campaign to upgrade locker rooms, address accessibility and general facility improvements. The goal is $275,000. We find the Family Y to be a valuable resource for young and old alike in Albert Lea. Let&8217;s all chip in a little because we get so much more in return.

DOWN &8212; To a warm winter.

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Call it global warming, climate change or simply an oddball occurrence several winters in row, it doesn&8217;t matter. It comes down to boring, dull winters. We can&8217;t walk across the lake. We can&8217;t fish in ice houses. We can&8217;t play outdoor hockey. We can&8217;t build snow forts. We can&8217;t throw snowballs. We can&8217;t ride snowmobiles. We can&8217;t walk in a winter wonderland. It stinks. If we are going to be in Minnesota in winter, we might as well enjoy a Minnesota winter, not a blah Oklahoma winter. We&8217;re still wishing for snow on the ground and thick ice across the lakes.

UP &8212; To decreasing gas prices.

Hey, hey. Here&8217;s something to get excited about. Gas prices are down to $2 a gallon. Why? It&8217;s that time of year when travel is at its low point. It&8217;s cold out. It&8217;s not the holiday season. There&8217;s less demand, reserves grow and so oil prices go down. When oil prices go down, gasoline prices drop. In fact, the price of oil hasn&8217;t been this low since May 2005. AAA says the average price of regular unleaded in Minnesota is $2.11 a gallon. According to, the lowest gas price spotted in the state Saturday was $1.89 in Buffalo, Red Wing and Welch. Freeborn County, it says, averages $2.04 a gallon.