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The bicycle bling was one clue that there was something unusual about the Habitat for Humanity home going up in Brandon. Bicycle tattoos were another. The third? Customized blue-and-white nail polish jobs proclaiming, "Habitat 500." "People notice them, especially if they're on gentlemen," said teacher Michaela Roske of St. Cloud, a cyclist and Habitat volunteer who said she painted them on at least 25 sets of fingernails. "They're a conversation starter."
Planned Parenthood representatives say a Trump administration effort to strip some federal funding from family planning clinics would adversely affect nearly half the patients it sees at its Alexandria clinic. The clinic saw 539 patients in 2017, and about 47 percent rely on that federal funding to help pay for services such as birth control, cancer screenings and testing and treatment of sexually transmitted disease, say Planned Parenthood officials.
Kensington is on its way to getting a new water tower. Last week, the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development announced a $600,000 grant for the tower. It's the first large funding piece to be announced for the estimated $2.4 million project, which includes not just the tower, but replacing wells and deteriorating water mains and adding onto the water treatment plant.
The Art of the Lakes 2018 Studio Tour, which bills itself as "the largest art crawl in the rural Midwest," takes place next weekend, opening artist's studios to the public across a wide swath of Douglas, Grant and Otter Tail counties. "Many of us do not have galleries or places to put our art for sale so this is a chance to see it in person to get a sense of what we do," said artist Becky Albright, who uses a Japanese technique to make prints of real fish. The route winds past hills, lakes and farms, and features 56 artists in 24 studios.
A group of lakeshore owners on Wednesday unanimously approved six demands it plans to present to local government officials that it says will protect area lakes. "That's why this association was formed originally, to protect the water quality in our lakes, among other things," said Douglas County Lakes Association member Jeanne Johnson, who presented the demands that had been in the works for more than a year.
The pending sheriff's sale of the Viking Plaza Mall in Alexandria has been postponed again by its lender, mall manager Scott Snitker said this week. First set for June 14, the sale was postponed to Friday, July 20, and is now set for Thursday, Aug. 23, he said.
This year's Tour of Gardens on Sunday, July 8, showcases five gardens that are very different from each other and include commercial sites and private homes. "It's such a great time to get ideas for how to plan a garden, if you want to plant a little garden or a big garden or a unique garden," said Carol Gaffaney, co-chair of the garden tour committee that is part of the University of Minnesota Extension's Master Gardener program.
"You catch more flies with honey than vinegar," a boss once told me. Setting aside the issue of why anyone would want more flies, let's talk about abortion. And gay marriage. Abortion opponents have been trying to ban abortion for about as long as gay people have been fighting for the right to get married. In 1970, two men applied for a marriage license in Minnesota, were turned down, sued and lost. In 1973, the U.S. Supreme Court ruling in Roe v. Wade paved the way for legalized abortion.
Someplace Safe is hoping to raise $140,000 by next year to double its space for its Alexandria thrift store. At 4,000 square feet, its space to take donations and sort them is limited, forcing the store to turn away donations "more than we would like," said executive director Sheila Korby. "There are so many donations coming in," she said. "It's an amazing problem to have, but we know (being turned away) frustrates donors."
Lake Winona and Lake Agnes, each suffering from poor water quality, have moved a step closer toward what proponents say is a plan to clean them up. Representatives from the Alexandria Lake Area Sanitary District and the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency "reached an initial agreement on how to proceed" at a meeting last week, according to a district news release.