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 48-year-old Alexandria man was arrested Tuesday after a narcotics search warrant was executed by the Douglas County SWAT Team on the 500 block of Sixth Ave. East in Alexandria. Authorities said they found about 77 grams of methamphetamine and more than $20,000 in cash of suspected drug proceeds, along with stolen property. Timothy Brockopp was arrested without incident and is being held at the Douglas County Jail awaiting formal charges.
The Christmas season officially kicked off in Alexandria Friday night with the annual lighting ceremony on North Broadway. The ceremony was part of the Runestone Museum's Christmas in the Fort. Festivities for the free event included appearances by Santa and Mrs. Claus, Erickson's Petting Zoo animals and Christmas carols sang by the Zion Lutheran Church Children's Choir and the Carolers of Alexandria. In addition, the community was invited to vote for a favorite Christmas tree in the second annual Parade of Trees at the museum.
A service of hope and healing will take place in Alexandria on World AIDS Day this Thursday, Dec. 1. It will begin with worship at the First Congregational Church at 221 Seventh Ave. West in Alexandria at 5:30 p.m., followed by a community meal at 6 p.m. All are welcome to attend. The World Health Organization established World AIDS Day in 1988. In 2016, the U.S. Government is using the theme, "Leadership. Commitment. Impact." Follow the AIDS.gov blog for news about World AIDS Day.
Committee assignments were recently determined for state legislators who represent parts of Douglas County. Sen. Torrey Westrom, R-Elbow Lake in District 12, will assume the chairmanship of the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Rural Development, and Housing Finance when the Minnesota legislature reconvenes in January. Westrom said that a strong agricultural economy is vital for state and local communities.
A standing-room-only crowd of more than 100 people packed Alexandria City Hall Monday night to talk about a proposed landlord responsibility ordinance that addresses crime and drug problems in rental properties. Seventeen people, most of them rental property owners who strongly opposed the new rules, spoke at a public hearing. The ordinance, which was recommended by the city's legislative committee, sprang from Community Conversation meetings over the slum-like conditions of some rental properties in the city.
At its meeting Monday night, the Alexandria City Council approved new contracts with the unions representing the Alexandria Police Department's patrol officers and sergeants for 2017. Officers will be paid $4,417 a month in their first year, which will increase to $4,843 in their second year and to $5,098 in their third year. At the start of 2016, the pay for sergeants was converted to a performance-based pay system with salaries that range from $5,850 a month to $6,359.
Here's good news regarding the "battle of the bulge." Minnesota's obesity rates for young children enrolled in the Women, Infants and Children program are the eighth lowest in the nation. The percentage of children ages 2 to 4 from low-income families participating in the WIC program decreased from 12.7 percent in 2010 to 12.3 percent in 2014, according to a study released last week by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Child obesity is a serious problem. Nationally, the rate was 14.5 percent in 2014.
Alexandria Light and Power workers install Christmas decorations and lights above Broadway in Alexandria Monday. The lights will be turned on Friday night during the annual Christmas in the Fort event at the Runestone Museum. The free event starts at 3 p.m. The community also can view the Parade of Trees on Friday, and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. (Lowell Anderson — Echo Press)
State Rep. Paul Anderson, R-Starbuck, will remain chairman of the House Agriculture Policy Committee for the 2017-18 biennium. Anderson, elected to a fifth House term earlier this month, has served on agriculture committees throughout his time in office. It was announced by House Republicans on Nov. 22 he will chair the Agriculture Policy Committee for a second consecutive term.