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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Anglers didn't just catch fish at the 11th annual Alexandria Industries' Fishing for the Cure tournament on Smith Lake Saturday. They caught warm rays of sunshine. With temperatures hovering around 50 degrees, participants couldn't believe their good luck. "You couldn't ask for a better day," said Colter Fortenberry of Osakis. "This is not supposed to happen in February." "It turned out pretty incredible," agreed tournament organizer, Robbie Betterman. The tournament drew 926 registrants -- up about 150 anglers from last year.
A proposal by Gov. Mark Dayton to make college and career training more affordable would mean more dollars for students at Alexandria Community and Technical College. Dayton said his "Opportunity Agenda for a Better Minnesota" would expand opportunities for the more than 427,000 higher education students in the state by investing $318 million into college and career training. It would provide tuition relief to 88,800 students through the State Grant Program, and would increase access to campus programs across the state that promote student success, according to Dayton.
Douglas County Hospital has seen a recent spike in influenza cases in the region and as a precautionary measure for patients and staff, it has implemented visitor restrictions. 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.
A reader sent us a letter to the editor, printed in today's issue, that asks what happened to the chapel that used to be at the Douglas County Hospital. There is a Meditation Room, she said, but it doesn't include a cross, altar or other religious items. According to Eddie Reif, director of community relations and development for the hospital, during the last expansion project, the existing chapel space was needed for offices for human resources.
A level three sex offender will be moving to Alexandria next week. Charles Gerald Mikkelson, 47, will be released on Feb. 21 after serving his sentence handed down by the court. He will live on the 900 block of Fillmore Street. Mikkelson engaged in sexual contact with an 11-year-old female victim that included sexual touching. The victim knew him, according to authorities. The investigating agency was the Douglas County Sheriff's Office. A level-three offender is considered at the highest risk of repeating similar crimes, based on past criminal behavior.
Coming soon to a street near you — big improvements. At its meeting Monday night, the Alexandria City Council agreed to call for bids on state aid and locally funded street projects for 2017. Combined, the projects are expected to cost just over $1 million. Municipal state aid projects include the following mill and overlay work: • 12th Ave., from Jefferson St. to Nokomis. • Jefferson St. from 10th Ave. to 12th Ave. • 30th Ave. from South Broadway to 22nd Ave.
Sparks fly over charter changes The Alexandria City Council's fiery debate over changes to the city charter sparked another clash of opinions at Monday's meeting. Council members gave final approval to four amendments that received preliminary approval last month but five tabled changes went down in flames. Any changes to the charter, referred to as city's constitution, require a unanimous vote. The amendments that were approved: --Allow key city officials who handle money to become bonded or insured.
The Alexandria Technical and Community College received a special event permit from the Alexandria City Council to hold its commencement at the Runestone Community Center on May 10 from 1 to 3 p.m. This will mark the third straight year the event will take place at the RCC. As in the past, Fairgrounds Road will he temporarily blocked off by police to expedite parking to the west entrance of the fairgrounds. A total of 4,000 people are expected to attend. The following are some other odds and ends approved at Monday's city council meeting.
Several schools in the area would receive additional funding under an education plan Gov. Mark Dayton released Wednesday. The goal of Dayton's "Opportunity Agenda for a Better Minnesota" is to provide better K-12 and early learning opportunities for students across Minnesota, and support families caring for their kids at home and in child care. Dayton wants to spend an additional $609 million for early childhood through 12th grade education, which would bring his total spending in education to $2.1 billion.
More than 60 DFLers from a nine-county area gathered in Alexandria Feb. 2 to mull over a new strategy for the next two years. Their goal isn't all that surprising: Getting more voters to support DFL candidates in the 2018 election. DFLers took a beating in the 2016 election when Republicans gained three seats in the Minnesota House with a 76 to 57 majority and took control of the Senate, 34 to 33.