Celeste is a reporter for the Alexandria Echo Press and has lived in the Alexandria Lakes Area since 1997. She first worked for the Echo Press as a reporter from 1999 to 2011, and returned in June 2016 to report on the community she calls home. Besides writing articles for the Echo Press, she has a blog, “Newspaper Girl on the Run.” Celeste is on a continuous healthy living journey and loves to teach bootcamp fitness classes and run. She has participated in nearly 200 races with her husband, Al, covering the 5K, 10K, 10-mile and half-marathon (13.1 mile) distances.
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Douglas County Sheriff Troy Wolbersen has issues with a new timekeeping system recently approved by the county and he shared his concerns with the Douglas County commissioners at Tuesday's board meeting. "I have two exempt employees who are expected to be on the clock 24 hours a day," Wolbersen told the commissioners. "They knew this when they signed up for the job. They are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week and there have been no complaints about that. No one is complaining about it. This system (the new timekeeping system) doesn't work in our department."
An allegation against a Douglas County employee that he was disrespectful to the county board was dropped Tuesday after a hearing. Douglas County Commissioner Owen Miller accused Douglas County Public Works Director Dave Robley of "disrespectful behavior toward your employer, the Douglas County Board."
The Douglas County Hospital is expanding once again. This time, the expansion — at a cost of about $15 million — will take place within the hospital's surgery center. Groundbreaking on the project took place last Friday, Sept. 30.
In a land of 10,000 lakes, Douglas County should feel fortunate to have its own dive team. The Douglas County Water Rescue and Recovery Team, led by Sgt. Greg Windhurst, has been around since the late 1980s. Not all counties in the state have a water rescue team. The closest other counties to Douglas with a team, said Windhurst, include Otter Tail (Fergus Falls), Kandiyohi (Willmar), Stearns (St. Cloud) and the Red River Valley area (Fargo/Moorhead).
If you drive by the Runestone Museum, you'll notice it has a new look. As part of its 2016 effort to remodel and beautify the exterior of the museum building, which also houses the Alexandria Lakes Area Chamber of Commerce, the museum's board of directors voted to purchase new awnings. The awnings will cover the windows on the Broadway-facing side, as well as the windows on the south side, according to the museum's executive director, Jim Bergquist.
NorthStar Christian Academy students, staff and board members, along with community members and supporters gathered together Wednesday morning for a ribbon cutting ceremony. The ceremony was part of the newly built school's open house, which took place Wednesday, Sept. 28. Prior to the ribbon cutting, Jay Jenson, the academy's director, along with Brent Smith, chair for NorthStar's board of directors, addressed the crowd.
The Runestone Museum is once again making a television appearance. The Travel Channel's "Mysteries at the Museum" will feature the Runestone Museum on its program Friday, Sept. 30. The show will air at 8 p.m. on the Travel Channel. Mysteries at the Museum, hosted by Don Wildman, takes viewers across the U.S., delving deep into the vaults of the nation's most revered institutions and unearthing wondrous treasures from the nation's past.
If you want to know how much Douglas County is spending, what its budget is or historical data in regards to the tax levy, there's now an easy way to find out — the OpenGov website. But, it doesn't come free. At a recent board meeting, the county commissioners approved paying the $7,000 price tag for the contract with OpenGov, which will run from Aug. 1 of this year through July 31, 2017. "It's about the need for transparency," said Char Rosenow, Douglas County Auditor/Treasurer of using the OpenGov service.
Did you know that some of the food donated to the Douglas County Outreach Food Shelf comes from local businesses? Did you know that some of the food is dropped off and some of the food is actually picked up at the businesses? Five days a week, volunteers drive to several businesses in town and pick up the donated food items, according to Stu Mackechney, a member of the organization's board and chairman of the food shelf's recently formed building committee.
Attention to detail. Ability to organize. Work experience. Dedication, commitment, tenacity, grit, care and compassion. These are just a few of the words and phrases Brad Lake used in his nomination letter for Douglas County Jail Administrator Jackie Notch. Lake, Douglas County chief deputy, nominated Notch for the Minnesota Sheriffs' Association Administrator of the Year Award. Notch was this year's recipient of the award and received the honor at a banquet Sept. 15 during the annual Jail Administrator's Conference.