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The crowd was smaller, the questions friendlier. And Rashed Ferdous was able to leave town a whole lot sooner. Ferdous, a Muslim and president of the Saint Anthony-based Islamic Resource Group, spoke in Alexandria on Monday along with fellow Muslim John Emery, a former Army interpreter from Apple Valley, and Lutheran pastor John Matthews. They were in town for a reception for "Tracks in the Snow," a photo exhibit of Minnesota Muslims on display at Alexandria Technical and Community College through Monday, April 30.
New church site First Lutheran Church is inviting the community to the groundbreaking celebration for its new church site south of Woodland Elementary School. For more than a dozen years, the church has been planning a new building for its growing congregation. The celebration is set for 2 p.m. Sunday, May 6, at 1655 18th Ave. E., just off McKay Avenue and County Road 46.
Fifth grade Math Masters take top honors Two Alexandria fifth-graders took first place in a regional math competition, and one team placed second. During the regional Math Masters event on Sunday, April 20, Brody Nikolaisen of Woodland Elementary School took first place in the fact drill competition, while Max Chinn of Lincoln Elementary School took first place in the individual problem solving competition. They each competed against 183 other students.
Those attending a child care discussion on Tuesday sent U.S. Senate staff members a loud message: The child care system is a mess. Two staff members for Sen. Tina Smith, D-Minnesota, have been making their way around the state, delivering news that the federal government will soon deliver more money for child care and seeking information on how well child care is working in the state. "No-one wants to do family child care anymore," Amy Brower, who owns Little Learners Academy in Alexandria, told them. "It's so complicated."
Area fourth-grade students and adults were filmed using a toilet during the 2016 Douglas County Groundwater Festival, and ALP Utilities' former water treatment plant superintendent is facing criminal charges in connection with the videos. Keith Patrick Avery, 65, who retired in July 2017, has been charged with one felony and one gross misdemeanor count of interference with privacy. Charges were filed Wednesday, April 25.
If you have questions about Islam, here's a chance to ask. On Monday, April 23, two members of Minnesota's Muslim community will speak at the Alexandria Technical & Community College. Prior to that event, the Echo-Press will conduct a question and answer session with those speakers, with our readers providing the questions.
The challenge going through Jana Tonsfeldt's house is figuring out what to look at first. A 6-foot-tall giraffe sporting two spunky bowties? The life-sized figure of a somewhat bemused-looking frizzy-haired woman sitting in a chair? Rhinestones sparkling on painted purple flowers? "It's hard to have conversations with people because they're looking all over," joked Tonsfeldt, an Alexandria mixed-media artist. "My whole house is like an art gallery."
Never mind the snow. On Tuesday, April 17, Douglas County master gardeners will kick off a series aimed at the home gardener. Offered through University of Minnesota Extension, the classes will be offered for free without pre-registration from noon-1 p.m. at the Douglas County Library at 720 Fillmore St. in Alexandria. Attendees are urged to bring a lunch or snack. The lineup is as follows: • April 17 - "Starting Seeds" by Diane Henry. It's not too late to start seeds for this season. Henry will talk about choosing varieties and growing healthy transplants.
The threat of Chinese tariffs against U.S. soybeans might not be so bad for Douglas County farmers if only the weather weren't so darn cold. Persistent wintry weather could spell trouble for wheat, which is best planted in April, and force farmers to turn more to soybeans, which can be planted into mid-June. That could make local growers more vulnerable to tariff-inflicted price drops, adding to the headaches of farmers like John Ledermann of Brandon, who grows soybeans, corn and wheat. "It definitely makes me nervous," Ledermann said in a phone interview Monday.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture has begun releasing details about changes to a federal dairy insurance program that has been widely derided by dairy producers — but some Douglas County dairies say the changes leave them underwhelmed. "It really doesn't sound like it changed much," said Max Radil, who milks 100 cows near Alexandria and had been waiting for details on the changes. "I was looking for something that would be more of a benefit."