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 37-year-old Alexandria woman is accused of stealing $5,900 from her place of work, AJ's Restaurant in Osakis. Kristy Ann Heuchert was charged in Douglas County District Court on Feb. 24 with felony theft. Osakis police were notified of the alleged theft on Dec. 13, 2016 when the owners of AJ's met with an officer and told him they had noticed money missing from daily deposits since Nov. 1, 2016. They provided a written log of the daily amounts that were missing, which totaled $5,900.
Alexandria City Council member Virgil Batesole received a stinging rebuke from a majority of the council Monday night. On a 3-1 vote, the council directed city staff to prepare a resolution to censure Batesole for failing to fulfill his obligations as an appointed member to the Runestone Community Center Board.
Landlord ordinance ripped again Alexandria's attempt to address crime and drug problems in rental properties was met with another blast of heat Monday night. During a hearing, 17 rental property owners or representatives from a standing-room-only crowd of more than 70 people ripped a proposed new landlord responsibility ordinance — just as they did during a packed public hearing last fall. The measure is still alive, however. The Alexandria City Council voted 3-2 to refer the ordinance back to the city's legislative committee for further review.
The Alexandria City Council agreed to finalize a transaction that transfers a 0.39 acre tract of land next to the street department building to Virgil and Jeanne Batesole, who own the adjoining property. Monday's action brings an end to a process that began in 2004. The Batesoles paid for the land back in 2005. Council member Virgil Batesole recused himself from the discussion and vote. The action was approved on a 3-1 vote with Dave Benson voting no.
Last week, Sen. Bill Ingebrigtsen, R-Alexandria, presented "Erin's Law" — legislation designed to prevent child sexual abuse in Minnesota. The bill, SF 1346, would allow school districts to provide child sexual abuse prevention instruction to students and child sexual abuse prevention training to staff. Erin's Law is named after a childhood sexual assault survivor, Erin Merryn of Illinois. Legislation under the same title is currently in effect in 28 states, and pending in an additional 20 states, including Minnesota.
An owner of Blue Smoke BBQ in Alexandria, which was lost in a fire more than three years ago, is scheduled to go on trial on three felony charges related to the fire. David Galbraith, 27, of Glenwood, entered not guilty pleas in Douglas County District Court on March 9 to first-degree arson, theft by swindle and insurance fraud. Judge Timothy Churchwell scheduled a jury trial for June 12.
A plea agreement in the case of a 42-year-old Sauk Centre woman accused of hitting a 23-month-old toddler with her car while driving drunk in Alexandria was rejected Monday. Becky Lynn Laforge agreed to plead guilty to one of the three charges — criminal vehicular operation of a motor vehicle causing bodily harm while driving with a blood-alcohol level of 0.08 or more within two hours of the crash, which is a gross misdemeanor.
Elections in 18 of Douglas County's 20 townships took place Tuesday and yielded a few surprises — a successful write-in campaign in Hudson Township and new supervisors replacing incumbents in LaGrand and Lund townships. Here's a look at the results: (Elections in Brandon and Miltona townships take place on even-numbered years in November.)
If you live in a township, today — Tuesday, March 14 — is your day to make your voice count at the polls and in township government. Every year Minnesota townships are required to have an annual town meeting. It is held the second Tuesday of March. Many townships, including 18 of the 20 townships in Douglas County, also hold elections in March. (The county's other two townships, Brandon and Miltona, hold their elections in November.) Polling hours vary but will be open until 8 p.m.
A public hearing on an ordinance to ban the drilling of new private wells in Alexandria drew a packed crowd at Monday night's council meeting, along with a stream of concerns and questions. Three people from out of the area who represented well drilling groups opposed the idea. Freeport Mayor Rodney Akenson told the council that people should have the right to decide where they're getting their water. He added that wells aren't causing nitrates to get into the groundwater; the contaminants are only discovered when a new well is drilled.