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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Leaders at the Alexandria Technical and Community College are watching developments at the state Legislature with a keen eye. At stake are millions of dollars that could replace the college's leaky roof and its antiquated heating and cooling system. The repairs may or may not be part of a public works bonding bill that's being hashed out by lawmakers. Under Gov. Mark Dayton's proposal, Alex Tech would receive $3.8 million while the Senate's proposal calls for $2.9 million. The college wouldn't get any funds under the House plan announced last week.
Gov. Mark Dayton vetoed a bill authored by Rep. Mary Franson, R-Alexandria, that would have banned Medicaid or any other state-funded health program from funding abortions. When Franson was gathering support for her bill, House File 809, she noted that Minnesota should conform to federal standards and join 33 other states that currently ban taxpayer funded abortions. "My constituents and I do not feel that we should be paying to end the life of an unborn child," said Franson.
Vapor from e-cigarettes. Loud music. Seasonal liquor licenses. The Alexandria City Council is in the process of changing the rules for all three of those topics and wants feedback from residents. At its Monday meeting, the council agreed to schedule a public hearing to consider a local clean indoor air policy that would include the state's regulations of e-cigarettes. It would prohibit the use of e-cigarettes in bars, restaurants, workplaces and other locations in the city.
Get ready for a big road project on Irving Street this summer — one that's taking place sooner than expected. At its meeting Monday, the Alexandria City council accepted a bid of $173,840 from Ferguson Brothers to completely reconstruct the road. It's a joint project between the city, Alexandria Light and Power and Alexandria Lake Area Sanitary District.
At its meeting Monday night, the Alexandria City Council voted to purchase a 1992 International high-pressure sewer jetter truck from Alexandria Lake Area Sanitary District for $15,000. The truck will be used to clean sewer lines. It will upgrade a 1987 jetter in the city's public works department that will be sold. The city hopes to get between $10,000 and $15,000 for the 1987 unit. The following are other odds and ends from the meeting that weren't covered in other stories. Airport funds
Drivers on Minnesota Highway 27 just west of Alexandria will encounter occasional lane shifts and lane closures starting Monday, May 15. Crews will replace the concrete pavement next to the Highway 27 bridge over Interstate 94 and resurface about one mile of Highway 27, according to the Minnesota Department of Transportation. During phases of the project, flaggers will allow alternating one-way traffic through the work zone. Lane configurations will change frequently near the I-94 bridge, so drivers should use extra caution in this area, transportation leaders said.
Hundreds of people in Alexandria are expected to participate in “Walk MS” this Sunday, May 7 as part of a nationwide effort to raise more than $1 billion to fight multiple sclerosis. Since 1988, hundreds of thousands of people have taken part in Walk MS events across the country, raising critical funds and awareness for the National Multiple Sclerosis Society. This year, the cumulative fundraising is expected to surpass $1 billion.
An agency that offers 13 different programs including Head Start, heating assistance and free tax preparation now has an office in Alexandria. West Central Minnesota Communities Action, Inc., is at 503 Hawthorne Street, Suite 45. Based in Elbow Lake, Communities Action is $10 million agency that serves residents in Douglas, Pope, Grant, Stevens and Traverse counties. It has 123 full- and part-time employees who provide services to children and families across western Minnesota.
City leaders in Greater Minnesota — including the mayor of Alexandria — are voicing frustration with their legislators this week after the Tax Conference Committee unveiled a tax bill proposal that they claim fails to adequately invest in rural communities. The tax plan, released Monday night by the joint House and Senate conference committee, includes a $6 million increase in Local Government Aid funding for 2018. Because it is just a one-time, one-year increase, the aid would revert back to its current funding level in 2019.
The Alexandria Technical and Community College's graduation ceremonies will take place at the Runestone Community Center on Wednesday, May 10 starting at 1 p.m. An expected attendance of 4,000 people will be traveling on the north side of Alexandria between 11:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. College leaders and local law enforcement are warning that traffic slowdowns and stoppages are likely near the intersection of County Road 45, County Road 82 and County Road 22. Also, the intersection of 3rd and Broadway will also be coned off and regulated differently.