Amy Chaffins is a journalist working for the Echo Press newspaper. After graduating from St. Cloud State University, Amy’s first job was at KSAX-TV working as an anchor and reporter. From 2003-2010, Amy worked as an editor and reporter for the Pope County Tribune and Starbuck Times newspapers. During her journalism career, Amy earned writing and photography awards from the Associated Press, Minnesota Newspaper Association and Society of Professional Journalists. Amy and her husband, Brandon, live in Alexandria and together write “He Sez, She Sez,” a humor column in the local women’s magazine, Chicz.
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Just after 3:30 a.m. this morning, Alexandria firefighters responded to a barn fire at 5423 County Road 7 Southwest near Holmes City. Upon arrival, the barn was already burned to the ground and nearby trees and a woodpile were also on fire. The barn reportedly housed about 11 chickens, all of which are believed to have perished in the fire. The cause of the fire is under investigation. The Douglas County Sheriff's Office also responded to the fire call Monday morning.
Another blast of severe winter weather has hit the region. Area schools are closed today, Monday, March 18 due to blizzard conditions: Alexandria Dist 206, Osakis, Brandon, Evansville, Minnewaska Area Schools, Parkers Prairie, Long Prairie-Grey Eagle, West Central Area and Morris-Cyrus. Alexandria Technical and Community College is also closed today. In addition, Interstate 94 is closed from Alexandria to Moorhead. Travel is not advised in the area. Locally, MnDOT reports driving conditions are difficult and just to the east, hazardous driving conditions are reported.
Roads are icy in the Alexandria area this morning. At 9:15 a.m., the State Patrol reported that Interstate 94 from Fergus Falls to Alexandria is open. Current driving conditions in parts of west central Minnesota remain difficult due to freezing rain and snow. Motorists should still use extreme caution when traveling. MnDOT is reporting difficult driving conditions in the area.
Proposed legislation moving through the state Legislature would require that students who qualify for reduced-price lunches be provided with lunch at school regardless of the status of their lunch account. The proposed legislation, moving through both House and Senate committees, prohibits school districts from denying "... lunch to a child eligible for a reduced-price school lunch who lacks sufficient funds to pay for lunch or has unpaid school lunch debts." If passed, the legislation would add approximately 61,500 students statewide to the free lunch program.
A sprinkler system at Douglas Machine helped stop a fire from spreading on Tuesday. Alexandria firefighters responded to the roof fire at about 1 p.m.
First came the rain, then the sleet and now, as of 5:30 p.m., it's still snowing... A winter storm warning remains in effect for the Alexandria area through midnight. Three to five inches of snow is in the forecast. All that heavy snow is piling up on top of sloppy puddles and wet roads and sidewalks. As the sleet turned to snow earlier this afternoon, several crashes were reported on area roads. Several crashes were reported on Interstate 94, but no serious injuries.
On Sunday, around 2 p.m., Alexandria Fire Department (AFD) responded to a four-stall garage fire at 310 Unumb Court at Maple Ridge Manor apartments. When firefighters arrived, the fire had consumed the south end of the garage. One vehicle parked in a garage stall was destroyed and another vehicle parked nearby was damaged.
Osakis native Claire Witt recently came home to share her artistic talents and help local students leave a legacy. Witt is an Osakis High School graduate and has made a career as an artist. Now, she's taking part in a 10-day artist in residence program that provides an opportunity for students to learn from her as they create clay tiles.
Alexandria Area High School continues to take shape. During their monthly meeting Monday, the Alexandria School Board was updated on construction progress at the high school work site. The following is an overview of work done, work in progress and what's to come over the next three months: Previous three months: Footings and foundations are in place for dugouts at the athletic fields. A permanent power line was installed at the site. A permanent irrigation well was installed. It was also reported that 100 percent of the footing and foundation excavation and construction is now