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Music festival features Pure Country

Historic Solem Lutheran Church will feature Gary Gylsen and Pure Country during its annual Solem Music Festival at 2 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 9.

The music will be followed by desserts and beverages.

The church is run by the Solem Church Preservation Association, which formed in 2008 as a way to maintain the building after its congregation dwindled. The church began in 1876 and its early services were held in Norwegian.

Local child care receives boost

A Minneapolis-based nonprofit will be offering support for the tightening child care system in Douglas County.

First Children's Finance will analyze child care needs in Douglas County and provide models of successful child care programs. It's part of local efforts to solve local child-care challenges, said Connie Fields, coordinator of the Douglas County Early Childhood Initiative.

The organization focuses on solving child care shortages in rural communities, as there is in Douglas County, which lost about 600 child care slots from 2007-17, according to Minnesota Department of Human Services figures.

Douglas County has formed a team to work with First Children's Finance and will release further details as its work progresses, Fields said. For more information, contact her at 320-219-0349.

Volunteers sought

Two local organizations are seeking volunteers for its programs.

Life Connections, formerly Birthright, Alexandria's pregnancy and parenting resource center, is looking for individuals, couples or friends who would like to volunteer as little as two hours a month. The group offers free and confidential programs for pregnant women and families, as well as Spanish interpretation. At 1114 Broadway, Life Connections serves over 400 families a month. For more information, call 320-762-1224.

The Windmill Project is seeking help for its Young Athletes and Unified Juniors Program. It will meet at Woodland Elementary school in Alexandria on Wednesday nights this fall. This program, geared for children ages 2-12 with intellectual disabilities, provides an early introduction to sports and to the world of Special Olympics. For more information, call Becca Rogers at 320-760-3301.