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From all accounts, the business of skid loader attachments is flourishing in the Alexandria area. While not as prominent as the area's packaging industry, the three local companies involved in the attachment industry are expanding their product lines and adding to their workforce at a fairly brisk clip. "We're pretty excited with the growth we see coming," said Todd Olson, owner of Quick Attach, the most established of the three firms.
The tortoiseshell cat prodded something in Christin Klimek's memory when it showed up at the Lakes Area Humane Society. It was a unique-looking animal, its tail kinked in three places from an old injury, with a face that was half tan and half black. Klimek rummaged through humane society records until she found a family looking for their cat, matching that exact description. When she called them, they were shocked. Their cat had been gone for 10 months. They had given up hope of ever seeing it again.
It's getting harder to brag about being a hardy Minnesotan. That was the underlying message from a pair of climatologists who spoke at Alexandria Technical and Community College's kickoff to Senior College last week. "We don't get as cold as we used to," said Kenny Blumenthal, senior climatologist for the DNR. "We are not breaking record lows."
The U.S. Department of Agriculture has announced details about payments it will make to farmers whose crop profits will likely suffer in the trade war between the U.S. and China. Farmers should apply for payments through the Farm Service Agency after their crops are completely harvested. They will be paid based on half their 2018 harvest. If another payment is issued, it will be based on the other half, the agency said. The rates: • Soybeans will be paid $1.65 per bushel. • Hogs will be paid $8 per head. • Wheat will be paid 14 cents per bushel.
On the walls of Bruce Nelson's corner office are photographs of wilderness and water: canoeing, loons, an underwater view of a turtle and aquatic plants. "I thought they'd be a nice fit in here," said Nelson, 70, the outgoing executive director of the Alexandria Lake Area Sanitary District, which serves 10,000 sewer customers in and around Douglas County. "It's part of what we're doing."
Terry Dalluge, her mother Grace Christensen and sister Kim Stich were making their way to Herberger's in the Viking Plaza Mall Tuesday when they learned it had closed earlier than they expected. "We were coming down to get the last-minute deals," said Dalluge, who lives near Battle Lake. "That's sad." The closing of the store on Sunday, Aug. 26, which traces its roots to Osakis, marked the end of an era. Herberger's had sold clothes and household goods since 1977 in the Viking Plaza Mall. Before that, it had operated on Broadway in downtown Alexandria.
Laura Urban, president of Alexandria Technical and Community College, will retire at the end of the 2018-2019 school year. Urban informed the school system chancellor's office and the college's staff members last week before announcing her decision publicly on Thursday, Aug. 24, at the Rotary Club meeting in Alexandria. "I love being here at the school," she said. "This is a great place to work. We have a wonderful faculty and staff." Alexandria Lakes Area Chamber of Commerce executive director Tara Bitzan called Urban "a great asset" to the college and the community.
(Editor's note: This is the second of a two-part series about rising numbers of children removed from their homes in Douglas County. The first part (Friday, Aug. 17 Echo) examined how those numbers more than doubled following news coverage of the death of a 4-year-old Pope County boy at the hands of his father's girlfriend.) The rising numbers of children removed from their homes has challenged social workers to find homes for them, especially for teenagers and infants.
When Carole Meyer took the microphone after receiving the 2018 Outstanding Senior Citizen Award for women at the Douglas County Fair, she made one thing clear. "This is not about me," said Meyer, 76, adding that she was accepting the award on behalf of the organizations she cares about: West Central Communities Action, Junior Achievement, the Douglas County Historical Society and the Alexandria United Methodist Church.
Recently I met some travelers from Columbia. They were women in their 20s and instantly they swept me up into that vibe I once knew, that friendly openness that marks the merry band of global travelers. Meeting them brought me back to a time of suitcases and unwashed socks, of passports and currency exchange offices and train schedules, of sunlight at new angles and mornings tinged with the excitement of new sights. It's been many years since I've been in another country.