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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No intern for the city planning department. No dispatcher or part-time community service officer for the police department. A tree removal and replacement program cut nearly in half. Health insurance costs tightened in every department to reflect a zero percent increase. Those are just some of the budget-cutting strategies the Alexandria City Council is proposing to make to deal with cuts to the market value homestead credit (MVHC) - reimbursements the state pays to cities for providing property tax relief for those with low incomes. Based on what's been happening at the state Legislature
It looks like Bug-A-Boo Bay will be back - again. The transaction is still pending but the restaurant is in the process of being sold to new local ownership - John and Caren Timmerman of Osakis. John Timmerman told the Echo Press on Thursday that the only hurdle remaining is final approval from the seller's lender. Timmerman expressed confidence that the deal would go through. In fact, Bug-A-Boo is on the agenda for the Alexandria City Council meeting Monday night.
It's a mystery that may never be solved: What killed the fish in lakes Agnes and Henry? The "suspects" include treated water from Alexandria Lakes Area Sanitary District (ALASD), chlorine from water used to battle a blaze at the SunOpta plant, chemicals from the plant that burned in the fire, or a combination of factors that depleted oxygen levels. This is a sensitive story to tell because there are no clear-cut answers and there may never be any.
Finally, 10,000. Alexandria's official population has topped the 10,000 mark - a goal that city leaders have been pursuing for decades. It can help the city get more state and federal aid and add to its economic clout by appearing on the "radar" for companies looking for the right demographic mix to support their business. According to data released by the U.S. Census Bureau last week, Alexandria's population in 2010 was 11,070 - a 25.5 percent jump from the 1990 census of 8,820. As impressive as the growth is, city leaders intend to challenge the numbers.
Pedestrians and bicyclists, rejoice! The city of Alexandria was recently informed that its applications for two pedestrian/bicycle projects were approved to receive federal funding. City Engineer Tim Schoonhoven told the Alexandria City Council Monday night that the projects include: Extending the pedestrian and bicycle trail along Geneva Road from Birch Avenue to Highway 29 North. The grant for the project is roughly $414,000, said Schoonhoven. Building an improved pedestrian/bicycle crossing on 3rd Avenue at Jefferson or Kenwood Street.
The routine practice of paying bills was once again not so routine at the Alexandria City Council's March 14 meeting. Council member Virgil Batesole pulled the bills out of the council's consent agenda so they could be considered separately, something he did at the council's January and February meetings as well. Batesole said that Subdivision 4 of Article VII in the city's charter states that "it shall be the duty of the council to strictly enforce the provisions of the budget." Batesole then listed more than a dozen bills that he said either exceed the amount the city has budgeted for the
Shell Oil has asked the Alexandria City Council if it can search for petroleum hydrocarbons that may have leaked from an old bulk plant on the site that's now Martin's Hope Park. The park is located at 217 3rd Avenue East near Big Ole Central Park. In a letter to the city, Shell Oil said that the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) is requesting the company to monitor the site and take remediate action, if necessary. The work at the park, according to the letter, may include installing monitoring wells, periodically checking the wells, testing, inspections, borings, engineering studie
A total of 125 families or individuals in Douglas County lost their homes through foreclosure last year, according to a new report that analyzed sheriff's sale data. That's a tiny improvement from 2009 when 128 foreclosures were reported in the county. If you're looking for a bright side, here's another: The local foreclosure numbers aren't nearly as bad as what happened statewide. The report shows there were 25,673 foreclosures in Minnesota in 2010, an increase of 11 percent from the 23,092 foreclosure sales in 2009.
Ready for spring? Its official start on the calendar is just four days away but judging from all the high snowbanks, it will be awhile before it actually feels like spring. There are, at least, signs of it in the air: boat shows, melting icicles, open patches of driveway, longer days and the Echo Press annual "Ice Out Contest." When will the ice melt away on Lake L'Homme Dieu? Take a guess and you could win a $50 gift certificate from Pete's County Market in Alexandria. This year's contest is free to enter.
When news broke about the devastating earthquake and tsunami that hit Japan last Friday, it struck fear in the hearts of those with friends or loved ones living there. Geneva Johnson of Alexandria was one of those waiting and wondering. Her granddaughter, Emily, and Emily's husband, Joe Tgis, live in north Tokyo. Emily is the daughter of Connie Walde, who grew up in Alexandria and attended St.