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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You live, you love, you lose. The cycle continues around and around in a never-ending wheel — the circle of life, as it were. Over the past few weeks, I've tuned in more to the realization that our everyday tasks, our accomplishments, our failures, our joys, our sorrows really mean nothing without someone there to share it with, be it family, friends or even strangers.
A violin is merely an object, but when wielded with masterful hands, it can sing. Polished spruce and ebony gleam. Rosin dust particles drift gently in the air. The bow bites the strings. Cream-colored horsehair coaxes a lyrical voice from the instrument and brings it to life. Luci DiCenso of Alexandria has spent about 10 years of her 17 refining the craft of violin playing. As she excels in the musical world, she puts her skills to use in another way — teaching violin students, both young and old. Building a foundation
Seventeen-year-old Abigail Eck, a senior at Alexandria Area High School, will perform in the Minnesota Music Educators Association All-State Symphonic Concert on Saturday, Feb. 18, at 2 p.m. at Orchestra Hall in Minneapolis. The concert combines the All-State Band and Orchestra. Eck is part of the orchestra.
Through District 206 Community Education, the Alexandria Area Adult Basic Education Consortium is partnering with Alexandria Technical and Community College to offer a free Computer and Writing Skills class at ATCC this spring. Since this course is limited to the first 20 qualified applicants, early registration is recommended. The registration deadline is Tuesday, Feb. 21. Classes will run Mondays and Wednesdays beginning Feb. 22 and ending April 26. The course will be held from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. It will be held on ATCC's main campus in Room 707.
The Douglas County Corn and Soybean Growers Association will host its annual meeting on Wednesday, Feb. 22, at Long Lake Lodge, 16021 Long Lake Rd NW, Brandon. Social hour begins at 6:30 p.m., with a dinner catered by Backroads Steakhouse at 7 p.m. Admission is free. Spouses are welcome to attend. Guest speaker Joe Smentek will present "From St. Paul to Douglas County: How Government Actions Affect Your Farm."
Evansville Art Center, 111 Main Street, will host Open Mic music on Thursday, Feb. 16, at 7 p.m. Musicians are invited to come and play. The facility has a high-quality sound system and a full keyboard Yamaha piano. It is always looking for new musicians to join its group of performers. This is a free concert. Freewill donations will be accepted. Bring a treat to share at intermission. Beverages are provided. This activity is supported by a grant from the Lake Region Arts Council through a Minnesota State Legislative appropriation.
The public is invited to attend the Outwintering Field Day on Thursday, March 9, at 10:30 a.m. at West Central Research and Outreach Center, 46352 State Highway 329, Morris. Lunch will be provided. No pre-registration is required. Guests can register at the door. Admission is free. Dress appropriately for outdoor weather. Outwintering Field Day will include tours of the out-wintered dairy herd at the outreach center, organic milking cows, breeding and young stock living in three different pasture areas. Animal wellbeing and pasture use will also be discussed.
The Douglas County Library will host music group Koo Koo Kanga Roo on Monday, Feb. 20, at 6:30 p.m. at the Lincoln Elementary gymnasium in Alexandria. Doors open at 6 p.m. This program is free and open to the public. All ages are welcome for this family-friendly concert.
A spaghetti dinner and silent auction will be held to benefit "Hayloft" Bob Wallgren on Saturday, Feb. 18, from 4 to 8 p.m. at Herby's in Carlos. Freewill donations will be accepted. Just before Christmas, Wallgren was diagnosed with an inoperable brain tumor. He and his wife, Janet, have operated The Hayloft restaurant for more than 35 years. With Wallgren's recent diagnosis and his wife being partially confined to a wheelchair, they had to close the restaurant.
Registration for the 2017 Alexandria Polar Plunge is now open. Come show your support for Special Olympics Minnesota and learn firsthand what it means to be "freezin' for a reason." The funds raised benefit more than 8,200 Special Olympics Minnesota athletes as they train, compete and transform themselves, their communities and the world. The Alexandria plunge will be held Sunday, Feb. 26, at 1 p.m. at Arrowwood Resort and Conference Center, 2100 Arrowwood Lane NW, Alexandria. Day of the plunge check-in will take place from 10:30 a.m. to 12:45 p.m. at the plunge site.