Crystal Dey is a staff reporter for the Echo Press. Originally from Minnesota’s Iron Range, Dey worked for newspapers in North Dakota, Florida and Connecticut before returning to her home state to join the Echo Press in October 2011. Dey studied Mass Communications at Minnesota State University Moorhead with an emphasis in Online Journalism. Follow Staff Reporter Crystal Dey on Twitter @Crystal_Dey.
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Engineering Design Initiative (EDI) presented the Douglas County board of commissioners with a comprehensive capital improvement plan for the Douglas County Services Center. Heating, ventilation, air conditioning (HVAC) and electrical equipment are the focus of EDI's five-year strategic plan. Mechanical and electrical recommendations have been broken down into five priority levels. The repairs could start as early as 2012 and wrap up, tentatively, in 2015. Total cost is projected at $941,500 with a recurring cost of $30,000 a year for the air handler.
John Leesch of Alexandria won't be going to work today or tomorrow. After 33 years with the United States Postal Service (USPS) his retirement is signed, sealed and delivered. Leesch is no stranger to the Echo Press. Not only did he deliver the newspaper with the mail on Wednesdays and Fridays, he's been featured in the paper twice. Snow was on the ground and Leesch was wearing shorts in one issue.
Taxes made up just over half of Douglas County's 2010 finances (51.8 percent). Comparatively, services such as public safety (17.2 percent), highways and streets (19.6 percent) and human services (16.6 percent) required just over half of the county's funds to operate (53.4 percent). There was a 15.82 percent increase from the 2011 net levy to the 2012 net budget for road deputies.
Two advocates kicked off a protest in Alexandria Thursday against Social Security budget cuts. Clint Tuorilla and Annette Retzlaff held their fluorescent yellow signs out for passing cars to see while standing in front of the Social Security building on Broadway. "These cuts are going to affect the service you're going to receive," Tuorilla said. Advocates planned informational pickets at Social Security Administration offices in Brainerd, Brooklyn Center, Duluth, Fairmont, Mankato, Minneapolis, St.
Heating your home may cost you more than you think. The Minnesota Department of Public Safety has issued a report of fire statistics for the state, Fire in Minnesota, 2010. While the report showed a drop in residential fires, there was an increase in fire fatalities. Heating was the third leading cause of fire. Cooking accounted for almost half, 49 percent, of fires in Minnesota. Open flames, such as candles and lighters, were the second leading cause. "It's a matter of keeping people aware when they are cooking in the kitchen. We talk to students about that.
The Douglas County Library received some good news at Tuesday's county commissioners meeting. At a previous meeting Library Director Karen Simmons requested the library continue with flat funding in 2012. Flat funding would allow the library to receive the same level of funds as in 2011. Since budget cuts were ordered in most departments, the board was concerned where additional money to maintain the library budget would come from. County Auditor/Treasurer Char Rosenow announced at the October 24 meeting that Simmons' request will be granted.
More than 100 years ago, Paul Haugen's great-grandparents left Ringebu, Norway for Minnesota. In 2011, Haugen left Minnesota for Norway - to join the cast of the Norwegian hit reality TV series, Alt for Norge. Translated as "All for Norway," the show is in its second season. It recruits people of Norwegian heritage from the U.S. and dares them to prove themselves as true Norwegians through a series of challenges.
A resolution to support the Kensington Rune Stone Park project was brought before the board of commissioners and passed October 11. Park Superintendent Al Lieffort presented the resolution to the board to act as legal sponsor in application for a Minnesota Park Legacy Grant. The proposed project includes a new Visitor Center, new utilities, signage and multi-use trails. "This is really a promising year to have a grant application go in," Lieffort said. A change in legislative leaders has increased the amount of funds available to areas outside of the metro area.
Have you ever been scared of a cow? Or heard a princess say, "I vant to suck your blood?" Today's Halloween costumes and celebrations have no origin in the roots of All Hallows Eve. The whole point of dressing up for Halloween is to fool the ghosts into thinking you are one of the undead so they don't take you back to the underworld with them. Everyone knows that... don't they? It's all about being P.C. nowadays - and the candy. Last year I had teenagers trick-or-treating that weren't even in costume!
Chuck Switzer came into his marriage with anger bottled up inside him since childhood. He unleashed his rage against his wife, M'Liss, for 20 years before he finally accepted responsibility for his actions and got help. The couple shared their story with the community this week as part of Domestic Violence Awareness month. In conjunction with President Obama's proclamation of October as Domestic Violence Awareness month, area advocacy groups joined together to increase awareness in Alexandria and Douglas County.