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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Ecumen Bethany Community in Alexandria hit a milestone on Jan. 1 by reaching its 100th anniversary of providing senior care in the community. The care center opened its doors on Jan. 1, 1917, when the Red River Valley Synod of Augustana Lutheran Church created it in order to serve those in need. The original building stood where the Winona Shores apartment building now stands.
Sometimes, life is just meant to be lived wide open, and there isn't much that's more important than family when it comes to life. This past weekend, my parents, sister and I embraced this notion and flew down to sunny Florida to surprise my grandpa for his 80th birthday. We were joined by my two uncles and aunt. My aunt and uncle arrived quite a few hours before we did, so they were the first to spring the surprise. The surprise was nearly botched, however, when my grandparents arrived home earlier than expected.
Here's what I love about Thanksgiving. There's the food, of course, but that's just the beginning. People intentionally set aside time to be with their families. Volunteers go out into the community to feed the hungry and bring cheer to the less fortunate. And it provides an intentional moment for us to stop, slow down and give thanks for everything we've been given. In a culture of me, me, me and mine, mine, mine, it's nice to take a moment to eat some humble pie along with our pumpkin and pecan.
The Douglas County Historical Society, 1219 Nokomis St. in Alexandria, will host its annual Bake Sale and Open House on Friday, Dec. 2 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Guests can pick up traditional baked goods, breads, gift trays and more. Ethnic baked items include almond cakes, lefse, krumkake, kolaches, Swedish flatbreads, rosettes and gluten-free rosettes, frozen pies and more.
Annual flowers are the mainstay of many gardens. Each year, hundreds of cultivars are trialed at the University of Minnesota West Central Research and Outreach Center Horticulture Display Garden in Morris. Each of the cultivars are evaluated on plant height, width and uniformity, flower size, flower and plant quality characteristics, and disease resistance. The top 10 for 2016 were consistently the best performing annuals in the trials. If you are interested in including some new varieties in your garden, consider these:
Alexandria Area Community Foundation and Alexandria Public Schools will host a sex trafficking awareness presentation on Thursday, Dec. 1, at 6 p.m. at Alexandria Area High School. Speaker Hayley King survived six years of involvement in the commercial sex industry. Upon exiting that life, she earned a Bachelor of Science from Colorado State University in human development and family studies. She then moved to Minnesota, which is gaining a reputation for tackling the sex industry head on.
Do you love the thought of making things to share with your family and friends but feel that you don't have a crafty, creative bone in your body? Then the library has a deal for you. A free class, Crafts for the Un-Crafty: Upcycling for the Holidays, will be held on Saturday, Dec. 3, at 12:30 p.m. at the Douglas County Library in Alexandria. Participants will use upcycled materials such as old catalogs, cards, calendars and wine corks to make some easy creations such as a cork reindeer ornament and a paper snowflake ornament.
Douglas County Hospital Nov. 13 Girl, Jennifer and Chad Meemken, Albany Boy, Ashley and William Ness, Evansville Nov. 15 Boy, Nicole Denny and Erick Precht, Ashby Boy, Kayla and Zachary Bitzan, Brandon Nov. 17 Girl, Kassidy and Darrin Mahn, Garfield Nov. 18 Girl, Bobbi and Joseph Crouse, Alexandria Nov. 20 Girl, Trisha Folsom and Chad Conroy, Alexandria Births from Jan. 1 to Nov. 2, 2016: 567.
Ready or not, winter is here. Along with it tends to come sniffles, weight gain and the doldrums that seem to set in just after the holidays. During these cold winter months, physical activity is proven to help children and adults stay healthy, both mentally and physically. The American Heart Association recommends at least 60 minutes of physical activity every day for children age 2 and older.
The local Marine Corps Runestone Detachment #1409 hosted its first Marine Corps birthday banquet at Church for the Harvest in Alexandria on Nov. 10, which is the Corps' birthday. This year, the Corps celebrated its 241st birthday. More than 90 guests attended the banquet. The honored guest speaker was Scott Wagner, honorably discharged Marine and sergeant at Otter Tail County Sheriff's Office.