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John Hughes always thought he'd be a carpenter. Wood had always attracted him, and as a kid he'd watch carpenters working on their projects. He took shop class in school, studied carpentry, and worked for contractors. Then a couple things happened. He got laid off. And his oldest son, Ryan, was born. So, sometimes a dad's gotta do what a dad's gotta do. He left carpentry behind. ""Because you know what happens in the fall," said the Alexandria man. Carpentry work slows down and the youngest workers get the axe first.
When Mari Heller tells people she moved halfway across the country to Minnesota, she can read their past in their response. If they say, "How hard! Doesn't your mom miss you?" she knows they had a pretty good childhood. Heller, 25, says she didn't. A couple years ago, when she was working as a Reading Corps teacher at a preschool, she heard about something called ACEs — something the Alexandria community will hear about next week during a public presentation by child advocates.
Carlos Creek Winery announced on Thursday, June 14, that it will open a craft brewery by June 2019. Called 22 Northmen Brewing Co., it will be the area's second brewery. Copper Trail Brewery became the first brewery in the area in more than 70 years when it opened in 2016. Carlos Creek is also seeking to raise $25,000 by Saturday, July 14, through a Kickstarter campaign to open a taproom and Norwegian Longhouse-style beer hall. For a full-length story, read the Wednesday, June 20, issue of the Echo Press.
Kensington Runestone Days is no small deal to this town of 302, where organizers say a Saturday night street dance sometimes brings close to 2,000 revelers. "It draws a big crowd," said Judi Andreasen, the de facto president of the three-day festival. Mostly those who turn out are teens and 20-somethings, she said, and the city blocks off part of a street. The festival begins Friday, June 15, with a baseball game, food and a Little Miss Runestone pageant. It winds up on Sunday, June 17, with more food, a parade and a tractor pull.
Sandy Tubbs took a phone call last week from an epidemiologist, who said an infectious disease in Douglas County had been identified. Tubbs, the administrator of Horizon Public Health, needed to set up a site by noon the next day to dispense antibiotics to the nearly 38,000 residents of Douglas County. Tubbs was expecting the phone call. There was no real crisis — it was a full-scale exercise, dubbed Operation June Bug, to test the public health department's ability to respond to a public health crisis.
The paintings dot the walls of Jean Ranstrom's gallery. Trees, nests, still lifes, flowers, ponds, an old tractor, a prairie fire. All of them were completed over the past year, beginning with a goal she set for herself: to do 80 paintings in honor of turning 80 this May. This weekend, she will display them in her "80 at 80 Art Show and Sale" at her gallery in Alexandria.
The pending sheriff's sale of Viking Plaza Mall that had been set for next week has been postponed until July 20, a Douglas County sheriff's deputy told the Echo Press. Deputy Kevin Wiseman said he received an email Wednesday, June 6, confirming that it had been pushed back a month.
As population falls in most surrounding counties, Douglas County has not only added people, but growth is picking up the pace. According to recently-released U.S. Census data, the county tallied more residents every year from 2010 to 2017, the only years included in the data release. Some of those gains were modest, such as when 54 people were added from 2012 to 2013. However, Douglas County growth started gathering speed in 2014, with 233 newcomers from the previous year, and continued through 2017, when the county population grew by 402.
As online genealogy programs hummed on their laptops, the women's stories came one after another. They had unearthed old family secrets, discovered unknown cousins, dispelled ancient family myths. Some of the women have spent decades painstakingly researching family trees. Now they had come together to learn the latest, revolutionary methods in figuring out who they were: genetic testing through online genealogy companies. It was part of DNA Day at the Douglas County Historical Society.
Here's how to succeed in the music business, members of the well-known Twin Cities band The New Standards told an auditorium of art students one recent school day. You need business sense — or at least a business-savvy partner. You have to market yourself, because there's really no record label to do that nowadays. And you have to be motivated. "You've got to want it the most," bassist John Munson told them. He, pianist Chan Poling and vibraphonist Steve Roehm performed and answered questions at Alexandria Area High School's Performing Arts Center May 22.