Celeste Edenloff, a reporter for the Echo Press, has lived in the Alexandria Lakes Area since 1997. She worked for the Echo Press as a reporter from May of 1999 to February 2011, and is happy to be back and once again sharing the stories of the people in this community. Besides being a reporter, Celeste is a certified fitness instructor and enjoys teaching bootcamp classes through Snap Fitness. She also enjoys running and has participated in more than 170 races with her husband, Al, covering the 5K, 10K, 10-mile and half-marathon (13.1 mile) distances.
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Shae Ennis received specific instructions from Gus Dreher of everything he wants her to take pictures of while she is on a 15-day hiking trip to Mount Everest. First and foremost, Shae was instructed to take pictures of every stray dog she sees. In addition, 12-year-old Gus wants a picture of footprints left by a yeti. And Gus would like to see pictures of chickens and red pandas. "He gave me a whole list of what he wants me to take pictures of," said Shae, a 17-year-old high school senior from Garfield. "It was interesting that he knew so much about this place."
A preview of Douglas County's tax levy shows there will be an increase for 2018. However, how much of an increase remains to be see. The preliminary levy was approved at Tuesday's regular County Board meeting. The levy was set at $27 million, which is a 3.96 percent increase from 2017. Jim Stratton, chairman of the Douglas County Commissioners, stressed that the amount set was only preliminary. He noted that last year, the preliminary levy indicated more than a 4 percent increase when the actual, which was finalized in December, was only a 1.96 percent increase.
The messages from both the yes and no voters were loud and clear at the Brandon-Evansville School Board meeting Monday night. Those who voted against the proposed $38.75 million bond referendum, which would have put a brand new K-12 school in Brandon on donated land, want to keep a school in each of the communities — a K-6 school in Brandon and a 7-12 school in Evansville. Additionally, they want to work together with the school board and district to come to a more reasonable solution for aging buildings that doesn't have such a hefty price tag.
School is in session and enrollment numbers around Douglas County are both up and down. The Brandon-Evansville School District is up eight students from this time last year, according to Superintendent Dean Yocum. After the second day of school, the district's enrollment for K-12 was at 465 students; last year, it was 457.
A Glenwood teen is recovering at home after falling from the bumper of a moving sport-utility vehicle. Dylan Jergenson, 16, was getting ready to go hunting Sept. 3 with three friends when the accident occurred, according to his CaringBridge site, "Dylan Jergenson." The Stearns County Sheriff's Department reported that the boys were attempting to transport a portable goose blind on the roof of a 2000 GMC Yukon on County Road 27, about two miles northeast of Brooten.
For the 13th year in a row, the Alexandria Fire Department was presented with a Life Safety Achievement Award for its fire prevention accomplishments in 2016. The award was presented by the National Association of State Fire Marshals Fire Research and Education Foundation in partnership with Grinnell Mutual Reinsurance Company. "The heroic efforts of our local fire service aren't limited to rushing into burning buildings to save families," said Alan Clark, assistant vice president of Special Investigations for Grinnell Mutual.
One man was injured when the truck he was driving ran off a bridge on Interstate 94 and ended up on County Road 1 south of Evansville. The crash happened shortly before 10:30 a.m. Thursday, Sept. 14. The man was flown by LifeLink III to the St. Cloud Hospital, according to scanner traffic. Law enforcement officials were unsure how the man's vehicle landed on County Road 1, whether it flew or rolled. The Minnesota State Patrol was investigating the crash. The truck was pulling a trailer, which littered debris on County Road 1.
The Alexandria Area High School Homecoming Coronation king and queen were named during a ceremony Monday night at the school's Performing Arts Center. This year's queen is Ashlyn Jenc and the king is Jackson Grove. The queen was revealed when the four candidates — Jenc, McKenna Gibson, Josie Minnerath and Calley Richardson — opened boxes that were placed before them. When Jenc opened her box, a balloon came out signifying she was named as the 2017 Homecoming Queen.
Help has been heading from all directions across the country in the wake of not one, but two hurricanes; the first, Harvey, hitting Texas and the second, Irma, hitting Florida. And some of that help has come from people in Douglas County. To date, three people from the Alexandria team of the Central Minnesota Chapter of the Red Cross have been deployed, according to Bonnie Braun, preparedness educator with the Red Cross. Juanita Bolinger and Rich SolHeid of Alexandria went to Texas, while Kathy Johnson of Osakis was deployed to Florida.
Last year, 550 Douglas County residents received services through Someplace Safe for domestic violence-related issues. Of those 550, 113 were children. In Minnesota last year, at least 18 women were killed in cases where current or former partners were the suspected or convicted culprits. In addition, at least three friends, family members or bystanders were murdered. And at least 14 children were left motherless because of domestic violence murders last year in Minnesota.