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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Some days, it's easy to feel old. When you get into your 40s, 50s or beyond, there are times when sad-but-true thoughts can wreck your mood — like when you realize that you have more yesterdays behind you than days ahead. It's depressing stuff and I try not to dwell on it. I try to focus on today, be grateful for the time I've already been given, for my good health and other good fortunes. But still, that feeling of age anxiety creeps in.
A co-owner of Blue Smoke BBQ in Alexandria, which was lost in a fire four years ago, has pleaded guilty to one of three felony charges he faced in connection with the fire. David Galbraith, 27, of Glenwood admitted to committing felony theft by swindle. He entered his amended plea in Douglas County District Court on Sept. 7, the same day that pre-trial proceedings were scheduled to begin. As part of an agreement, two other charges — conspiring to commit arson and insurance fraud — will be dismissed. He is scheduled to be sentenced on Nov. 14.
An idea to build a splash pad in Alexandria had some cold water thrown on it at Monday night's city council meeting. Funding might be a problem. Individually, several council members expressed enthusiasm to the community group that wants to build it, but they turned down a request for the city to share in the cost, roughly estimated at $500,000. "I'm not trying to burst any bubbles — I just want you know that money is not earmarked for this," council member Todd Jensen told Brandon Johnson, one of the leaders behind the idea.
There's good and bad news about the shape of Alexandria's streets. The good: Nearly 43 miles of streets — or 57 percent of the 75 miles of streets maintained by the city — are considered in new or nearly new condition. The bad: nearly 4 miles of streets are gravel and another 13.7 miles of streets are in poor to bad condition and require expensive reconstruction or reclaim work. City Engineer Tim Schoonhoven presented the information at the Alexandria City Council meeting Monday as part of the city's ongoing five-year overlay plan.
At its meeting Monday night, the Alexandria City Council Council approved an additional race date, a practice night for drivers, at the Viking Speedway. It will take place on Thursday, Oct. 5 from 6 to 9 p.m., the night before the speedway's big weekend event, the Karl Performance Fall Classic. The practice will allow drivers to get back on the track after a month break and help build revenue for the community and track, according to speedway officials. Safety grant
Three men were charged with a total of 12 felonies Thursday for allegedly kidnapping and assaulting a 15-year-old Alexandria girl over a 29-day period until the girl escaped and they were arrested. Thomas Barker, 32, of Carlos, faces six charges, including two counts of kidnapping, two counts of criminal sexual conduct, second-degree assault and false imprisonment. Steven Powers, 20, of Benson, was charged with kidnapping, criminal sexual conduct and false imprisonment.
A 37-year-old Alexandria woman was sentenced to 180 days in the Douglas County Jail after she pleaded guilty to a gross misdemeanor theft charge — taking money from AJ's Restaurant in Osakis. Kristy Ann Heuchert was initially charged with felony theft but that charge was dismissed as part of a plea agreement. Judge Timothy Churchwell stayed 160 days of the jail sentence for two years, meaning she won't have to serve the time if she stays out of trouble while she is on probation.
A 44-year-old Osakis woman is accused of taking money from the Subway sandwich shop she was managing in Osakis. Nikki Colleen Gillespie was charged with felony theft in Douglas County District Court on Aug. 28. According to the criminal complaint, deposits from the store were missing between June 23 to July 4 earlier this summer when Gillespie was the manager and responsible for the daily deposits. The total amount of money missing was $5,625.43.
A news conference about a 15-year-old Alexandria girl who was found safe and alive in Grant County yesterday will take place at 2 p.m. today, Wednesday. The Alexandria Police Department is expected to provide more details about how Jasmine Block was found and the arrest of three suspects in Grant and Pope counties yesterday.
A 22-year-old woman from Grand Forks, North Dakota was injured in a one-vehicle rollover near Alexandria Tuesday morning. Lauren Jonelle Fielder was driving a 2015 Chevy Trax west on Interstate 94 near milepost 100 in LaGrand Township at about 11:50 a.m. when it left the road, went into the ditch and rolled multiple times, according to the Minnesota State Patrol. Fielder, who was wearing a seat belt, was taken by North Ambulance to the Douglas County Hospital with non-life-threatening injuries. The Douglas County Sheriff's Office assisted with the crash.