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Douglas County was the state's No. 2 dispenser of addictive prescription painkillers in 2016, but through recent actions taken by Douglas County Hospital to dramatically reduce those prescriptions, that may be changing. In March 2018, doctors in the hospital system prescribed 180,000 fewer opioid pills than they had in September 2017, according to a community opioid task force presentation Tuesday, May 1, to former Congressman Tim Walz.
Minnesota's pollution chief said he agrees, at least in concept, with allowing Alexandria's sewer district to take a new approach in cleaning the algae-coated Lake Winona, a move that could save the district $14 million. During an interview this past week with the Echo Press, Minnesota Pollution Control Agency Commissioner John Linc Stine praised the Alexandria Lake Area Sanitary District's efforts to clean the water it discharges into Lake Winona. "That puts them in a good place to be a candidate for this kind of flexibility," Stine said.
If you're a fan of Elon Musk, electric cars or just saving money on fuel, take note: There's a Tesla Model X in town. Owners Adam and Lisa Gustafson bought the mid-sized SUV-style electric vehicle for its safety rating and eco-friendly energy consumption, and they'll bring it to an event promoting electrical vehicles on Saturday, May 5, at Alexandria Technical and Community College.
• Attorney Tom Jacobson has been selected to speak at the 2018 Upper Midwest Employment Law Institute May 21-22 in St. Paul. With approximately 1,000 attorneys and human resource professionals in attendance, the institute is one of the largest of its kind in the nation. Jacobson's presentation will be "20 Tips for Avoiding Employment Liability." Certified by the Minnesota State Bar Association as a labor and employment law specialist, Jacobson is a shareholder with the Swenson Lervick Law Firm in Alexandria.
Diane Katheryn Gergen and Wyatt Lee Goldade Lucas Charles Clinton Bare and Jessica Lee Larson Michaela Leigh Brown and Nicholas Loren Schreder Kristal Rose Zenzen and Chase Jared Paulson Jaimee Ann Lusby and Cody Dale Labernik Kelly Jean Anderson and Derek Gene Ratajesak Jackie Lee Hanson and Brandon Kyle Olson James Jay Tollett and Melissa Ann Horner Edward Martin Thorson III and Miranda Kaye Pederson
Last week, the Echo Press solicited reader questions for two Muslim men who came to speak at a reception for Tracks in the Snow, a photo exhibit of Minnesota Muslims on display through Monday, April 30, at the Alexandria Technical and Community College. Multiple questions were received from five readers and presented to Rashed Ferdous and John Emery. The questions and answers follow, with Echo Press notes in parentheses. Q. Why don't Muslims condemn terrorist attacks?
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."