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 32-year-old Miltona man who tried to elude police on two separate high-speed chases last summer was sentenced in Douglas County District Court on Dec. 30. Curt Matthew Craven was sentenced to 17 months in the St. Cloud Correctional Facility for each felony conviction of fleeing a police officer in a motor vehicle. The sentences were stayed for three years, meaning he won't have to serve the prison time if he stays out of trouble. Judge Ann Carrott also sentenced him to one year in the Douglas County Jail for each crime.
The past year in Douglas County was filled with stunning news, tragedies, triumphs, sad endings and new beginnings. There were election surprises, long-standing businesses closing or changing hands, fires big and small, three tragic drownings, a helicopter crash, an officers-involved shooting, and fatal crashes that cut five lives short. Work began on a $15 million expansion at the Douglas County Hospital while another $15 million project — a two-year effort on Minnesota Highway 29 and Interstate 94 — finally came to an end.
Two people were injured in a two-vehicle crash on an icy road near Garfield Monday night. The Douglas County Sheriff's Office received a 911 call about the crash on County Road 82, just west of County Road 22. Deputies learned that Patricia Dickey, 30, of Evansville was driving a 2002 Chevrolet Silverado west bound on County Road 82 and lost control of the vehicle on very icy roads and began to slide sideways.
A sports utility vehicle broke through the ice on Lake Osakis on Dec. 26 at about 9:30 p.m. The 30-year-old driver, Nathan Heinz of Sauk Centre, was driving a 2008 Ford Edge back from the lake when it fell through 10 to 15 yards from shore in about 4 feet of water near the south public access. "The guy was coming off of the lake, wasn't paying attention and drove on the wrong side of an ice heave," said Osakis Police Chief Chad Gulbranson. "It was too late to turn away and his car went in." The water came up to the window of the vehicle, Gulbranson said.
A 7,400 square foot office building along Highway 29 North will soon be reborn as a church. At its meeting Tuesday night, the Alexandria City Council issued a conditional use permit to Spirit Life Church International to allow the conversion. The building, located at 912 State Highway 29 North at the end of a frontage road on the east side of the highway, will include a sanctuary, fellowship hall, classrooms and other church uses. It will have enough seating for a congregation of 125 people and a parking lot with at least 32 stalls.
Affordable housing request fails Citing a continuing need for affordable housing in the city, the Alexandria Area Economic Development Commission asked the city to extend tax increment financing for Torborg Builders, the owners of the Colonial Court Apartments at 1614 Seventh Ave. East. Four of the 16 units in the building are designated for low-income families. The agreement would have kept those four units income-restricted and added a rent restriction for five years.
A new waterline, rental inspections, property clean-up and other odds and ends popped up at the Alexandria City Council meeting Tuesday. Here's a look at those items: Voyager Dr. waterline The council referred a plan to build a water main loop on Voyager Drive to its budget committee for the city's 2018 budget. The city has considered the project for many years but has not taken action because of the cost, currently estimated at $258,000.
Timothy M. Churchwell has been appointed as a judge in Minnesota's Seventh Judicial District. Churchwell will replace David R. Battey, and will be chambered at Alexandria in Douglas County. "I am very pleased to appoint Timothy M. Churchwell to serve as a district court judge," Dayton said in a news release Friday. "Throughout his career, Mr. Churchwell has shown his dedication to public service. I thank him for his willingness to once again serve the people of Minnesota."
It wasn't your typical ribbon cutting. There was no new building or shiny storefront to open. But those who gathered at the West Rink inside the Runestone Community Center in Alexandria Tuesday had plenty to celebrate — the completion of $5.6 million in energy upgrades at the ice arena and other city buildings. "It's a great day to cut the ribbon and actually see this project come to fruition," said Alexandria Mayor Sara Carlson. "It's been a long time coming."
Skaters who are itching to hit the outdoor ice rinks in Alexandria will have to be patient and cautious. Even after the frigid temperatures last week, there were several holes in the ice on the pond in Noonan Park as of Wednesday. This is making it very unsafe for city crews to clear all the snow from the surface, according to Bill Thoennes, park superintendent.