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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A 27-year-old man was injured when his car crashed into a light pole in Alexandria Tuesday morning. Justin Aaberg of Alexandria was driving a 2005 Chevrolet Malibu north on Maple Street at about 6:30 a.m. when he made a wide turn to go east on Third Avenue, swerved back to the right and struck the light pole, according to the State Patrol. Aaberg, who was not wearing a seat belt, was taken to the Douglas County Hospital with non-life-threatening injuries. The Alexandria Police Department assisted at the crash scene.
The Alexandria Police Department finished a record breaking year, handling 4,639 calls for service and making 848 traffic stops, according to Police Chief Rick Wyffels. "We have topped any previous year in the history of the Alexandria Police Department with the volume of calls for service the office is handling," Wyffels noted in a written year-end report to the Alexandria City Council. "We have surpassed last year by a 13 percent increase in call load."
How does Alexandria stack up against other cities for paying its employees? It will soon find out. At its Monday meeting, the council agreed to pay Flaherty and Hood a base amount of $8,000 to complete a market compensation study that will examine 35 city positions. The study will take 18 to 20 weeks to compile and include five phases — a review of the city's job classification and compensation system, a market survey, pay structure and schedule, a final report and implementation, and pay equity compliance testing.
The Alexandria City Council will usher in the new year with a variety of organization items at its Jan. 8 meeting. Mayor Sara Carlson is expected to announce her word of the year — something she has done for the past several years to set the tone for the council's future direction. The word this year, according to Carlson's newspaper column, is "engage." The council is beginning to consider changes in the city's strategic plan, an official document used for long-term planning and future land use decisions.
Although the weather outside was frightful with 20-below-zero wind chills, the activity inside the Alexandria Area YMCA was delightful on New Year's Day. It was "Community Day" — a time when the YMCA invited non-members, guests and members to celebrate the holiday at the Y for free from noon to 5 p.m. The event also helped a good cause. Those attending provided non-perishable food items or cash donations to benefit the Douglas County Outreach Food Shelf.
Here's a look at the township positions that are up for election in Douglas County this March and the current officeholder: Alexandria Township: Supervisor Jeff Oberg. Belle River Township: Supervisor Jeremy Fuller. Also, the clerk position is vacant. Carlos Township: Clerk Rebecca Anderson and Supervisor Bill Krivanek. Evansville Township: Supervisor Douglas Lee. Holmes City Township: Clerk/Treasurer Christopher Wanner and Supervisor David Fahlin. Hudson Township: Clerk Carol Hedlund and Supervisor Ron Fenelon. Ida Township: Supervisor Jim Peterson.
Eighteen of Douglas County's 20 townships are starting to gear up for elections on Tuesday, March 13. Two townships, Brandon and Miltona, will hold their elections in the fall. Most townships in Douglas County will elect two positions — clerk and supervisor. Clerk positions in five townships — Alexandria, Evansville, Ida, LaGrand and Urness — are appointed so they will not be on the ballot. The filing period to run for township office opened Jan. 2 and will close at 5 p.m. Jan. 16.
Osakis joined communities throughout the nation on Saturday, Dec. 16 in a special remembrance of those who fought for America's freedoms. It was Wreaths Across America Day. Thousands of wreaths were laid at more than 1,500 cemeteries across the country. In Osakis, volunteers met at the Osakis Veterans Memorial for the second annual Osakis Wreath Across America kickoff ceremony. Seven wreaths, each representing a branch of the military, were placed at the foot of the memorial.
Motorists on Highway 28/Minnesota Avenue East in Glenwood will experience a one-block lane closure of the westbound lane between First Street NE and Highway 29/Franklin Street beginning today, Jan. 2. Eastbound traffic should slow down and eliminate distractions, westbound traffic should seek alternate routes. The two-week closure will be in effect during business hours and will last through Jan. 19.
Douglas County Hospital has seen a recent spike in influenza cases in the region, and as a precautionary measure for patients and staff, the hospital has implemented visitor restrictions. Infection Control Officer Emma von Felden, RN, said, "Only immediate family members should visit patients only if it is necessary. Visitors should be free from any flu-like symptoms including fever, cough, sore throat or diarrhea for a minimum of 24 hours before visiting patients." Von Felden adds that she is thankful to the community for their help in this wellness effort.