Jessica Sly has been working as a content writer at the Echo Press since May 2012, contributing, proofreading and editing content for both the Echo and Osakis Review. A Wadena native, she graduated from Verndale High School in 2009 and worked that summer at the Wadena Pioneer Journal as an intern reporter. She attended Northwestern College in St. Paul (now the University of Northwestern - St. Paul), where she earned a Bachelor of Arts in English with a concentration in writing and a minor in Bible. In her spare time, she enjoys playing the piano (and learning the violin), reading, writing novels, going to the movies, and exploring Alexandria.
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The world has turned to chaos. Hurricanes, shootings, riots, dirty politics, floods, terrorists, neighbor against neighbor, friend against friend, brother against brother. Dissonance reigns. Will it never end? I am an observer by nature. I like to take everything in, mull it over, process, comprehend, and I've noticed many things about the world in which we currently live. I know where I stand on certain issues that strike the core of my beliefs, but sometimes, I listen carefully and let my observations lead my thoughts.
Lively banter emits from the Ecumen Bethany Community coffee shop. A small group of seniors sits at a table, sipping coffee and water and snacking on toast. They giggle. They tell stories. They poke fun at one another. From fierce battlefields to sprawling farms to warm homes, they come from all walks of life, brought together by a common goal. Despite their differences, they look out for each other. Ecumen's Adult Day Services provides a place for that camaraderie to blossom while giving much-needed rest to 24-hour caregivers. MAKING A DIFFERENCE
Starting in August, residents of Ecumen Bethany Community began participating in a new on-site fitness program conducted by a certified personal trainer from Live 2 B Healthy. "Our goal is to grow the strength and mobility of our residents, keeping them stronger longer, while also bringing a sense of community and the social aspect part of it," said Matthew Fischer, executive director. "Folks come to socialize and have fun and be with their peers, as well as working to get better and stronger."
In the cozy shadow of a majestic screen against a sunset backdrop, a little theater teems with life. Cars line up on grassy mounds. Music hums from antique speakers. Children run and play. Families and friends laugh and revel in each other's company. That is what the Long Drive-In Theatre in Long Prairie is all about. And this year, owners Dan and Michelle are celebrating its 60th anniversary. GETTING ITS START
“Naaaaaaaaaants ingonyama bagithi, Baba!” Sound familiar? That’s the famous chant that rings out over a dramatic African sunrise in Disney’s 1994 animated classic The Lion King. (Did you know that...
Theatre L'Homme Dieu in Alexandria will present Love, Loss, and What I Wore Tuesday through Sunday, July 26-31. Love, Loss, and What I Wore is based on the best-selling book by Ilene Beckerman, as well as the recollections of playwright Nora Ephron and her family and friends, including Rosie O'Donnell. The show uses clothing and accessories to trigger funny and poignant memories woven into stories.
"What do you want people to understand about you the most?" This was the question that local artist Tracy Anderson posed to 13 subjects before painting their portraits for her new body of work. For the past year, Anderson has been creating 13 30"x40" black and white oil portraits that she hopes will spark "silent conversations" between viewer and painting. Each painting contains a single face, divided in half by dramatic shadow and light. Anderson's goal was to capture the emotion of the subject's eye, which she described as the window to the soul.
The Alex Assisted Living's outing to Legacy of the Lakes Museum in Alexandria on June 20 provided insight and enjoyment to the 15 residents who attended. However, the visit held significant meaning for one particular resident, 88-year-old Leonard Floding. As he wheeled through the museum, peered into the gleaming belly of wooden boats and turned antique tools over in his weathered hands, memories of a time long past reflected in his Alzheimer's-blurred eyes.
Editor's note: Two stories featuring the Bowdens' hosting and adoption experiences appeared in the July 10, 2015, and Nov. 18, 2015, Echo Press. Sometimes life takes you to places you never dreamed were possible. Nearly a year after first hosting four Ukrainian orphans in their Alexandria home, Paul and Lisa Bowden felt called to adopt and leaped at the chance. The journey to getting the children home wasn't easy, filled with roadblocks, agonizing waiting periods and political hurdles, but the Bowden family is finally home.
There’s really no way around it. Life is full of change. Life is change. And for people who don’t necessarily like change (ahem … me!), the whole life thing is...