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Senior center to start new year with new direction

The Alexandria Senior Center will begin the new year with a new board and a new direction, which does not include executive director Ann Esterberg.

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Ann Esterberg, laid offKathryn LeBrasseur, presidentTo address the center’s financial status, the board decided to lay off Esterberg, effective December 31, as well as discontinue some other services under contract.

These steps were taken with regret, but unanimously, in order for the center to survive financially and grow, according to Kathryn LeBrasseur, the center’s newly-elected president.

The current plans are to operate the center with the service of board members and volunteers.

The center’s newly elected board of directors held an organizational meeting on December 9. Officers were elected to serve for the coming year. They are LeBrasseur, Vice President Bob Hudspeth, Secretary Helen Glade and Treasurer Carol Strong.

Board members are hoping that by staffing the center personally, they will be able to survey the needs and ideas of those currently using the facility and those who visualize other offerings of interest, LeBrasseur said.

In addition to familiarizing themselves personally with the workings of the center, the board is working on two plans.

The first is to address the financial needs and to plan fundraisers and grant applications while justifying the assistance and donations from organizations that previously funded the center.

Board members said they appreciate two groups that spontaneously dedicated special events to raise money for the center. They are Calvary Lutheran Church, which had a concert in November, and the Terrific Kids program, sponsored by the Golden Kiwanis, which donated items from a recent bake sale.

A calendar of events is being developed, which already includes a dinner prepared and donated by Roy and Patty Wicken in January and a special Valentine event in February. Several special music and art events are in the works as well.

The board hopes that seniors will step forward and join the center for an annual fee of $12 to help defray operating costs, LeBrasseur said.

The second plan is to create an activity schedule that will meet the needs and desires of the 50-plus population of the area.

The goal, said board members, is for the center to be “a true home base of information and recreation for the entire area, not just the people of Alexandria.”

The board wants to meet with groups that are searching for a site to hold classes, provide referrals, or give direct services for the elderly. All of these activities will be implemented into a master plan.

LeBrasseur said the new board is committed to keep the center alive and bring it back to its status of years past by raising the necessary funds and building a program that benefits and entertains.

“It needs to serve not only the senior person, but the families who come looking for ways to enhance their parents’ lives and needs, and those who are not familiar with our community resources,” she said.

Al Edenloff
Al Edenloff is the news and opinion page editor for the Echo Press. He was born in Alexandria and lived most of his childhood in Parkers Prairie. He graduated with honors from Moorhead State University with a degree in mass communications, print journalism. He interned at the Echo Press in the summer of 1983 and was hired a year later as a sports reporter. He also worked as a news reporter/photographer. Al is a four-time winner of the Minnesota Newspaper Association's Herman Roe Award, which honors excellence in editorial writing.  
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