Tara Bitzan is editor of the Echo Press. She joined the company in 1991 as a news reporter.
A lifelong resident of Douglas County, Tara graduated from Brandon High School and earned a bachelor of arts degree in mass communications and English with a minor in Scandinavian Studies from Moorhead State University.
She and her husband, Dennis, and their children live near Alexandria.
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Myron Sahlberg of Alexandria loves the great outdoors and finds a lot of enjoyment in the sport of bow hunting. A teacher at heart, Sahlberg has taken his love of hunting a step further, and is educating two area youth in the sport as well. Sahlberg, a communication art and design instructor at Alexandria Technical and Community College, first connected with 16-year-old Isaac Johnson of Nelson a few years ago. Isaac's father, John, talked often with Sahlberg about Isaac's interest in hunting.
Several months ago, a special Echo Press reader told me she had clipped out the Thanksgiving column I had written several years ago and rereads it every once in awhile because it makes her feel good. To a writer, that's the ultimate compliment! I remembered the basics of the column, but not the details. So I dug it up. Too bad I hadn't kept a copy of my own to refer back to every time I felt that life handed me lemons. With Thanksgiving quickly approaching, I thought maybe you could also use a reminder to be thankful.
Let the holiday begin - Museum to unveil upgrades to Fort Alexandria Nov. 25 at 'Christmas in the Fort' When does the Christmas season officially begin in Alexandria? When Santa Claus turns the holiday lights on along Broadway, of course! Santa and Mrs. Claus will visit Alexandria on Friday, November 25 to share in the fun at the annual Christmas in the Fort event at the Runestone Museum's Fort Alexandria. The gates will open for the free event at 3 p.m. Santa and Mrs. Claus will arrive by horse and carriage at 3:15 p.m.
On October 19, I took a trip that will go down in my memory bank as one of the best trips I've ever taken. I chaperoned the 9th grade Discovery Middle School (DMS) trip to Washington, D.C. (see facing page) I'd never been to Washington, D.C., but it sounded like a place everyone should visit at least once in their lifetime. We had a busy, fast-paced schedule.
When living or working in a long-term care facility, death is a common occurrence. The staff at Ecumen Bethany Community in Alexandria strives to make the dying process a positive experience and a time of celebration. According to Pastor Andrea Olson, chaplain at Ecumen Bethany, a lot of focus has been placed on end of life care in the past few years. "Our goal is to try to change the perception of death, to provide dignity to dying residents and to honor the relationships involved," she explained. About five years ago, a group of staff members, residents and residents' family members came
Austin Baune is a typical 4-year-old boy who loves tractors and skid loaders and playing in the dirt. He's curious and busy and talkative and loves the outdoors. But there are things about Austin that are different from other boys his age. He tires easily, his feet sometimes don't work properly, and he knows how to flush a medical port. Austin suffers from acute lymphocytic leukemia (ALL), a cancer of the blood and bone marrow. His parents, Tony and Molly Baune of Garfield, noticed him limping the week prior to Memorial Day.
Nearly 100 people gathered at the Parkers Prairie Event Center Tuesday evening to listen to input on a proposed 70- to 100-megawatt wind energy project that would be built one mile north of Parkers Prairie. About a dozen individuals stood up at the meeting to voice their reaction to the plan, which could include as many as 40 wind turbines.
Eventually, it will be a place of beauty, tranquility and solace - a place for the entire community to enjoy. Now, it's a lesson in self-less giving and an opportunity for some local tradesmen to create a work of art on nature's canvas. The Maritime Gardens, located on the campus of the Minnesota Lakes Maritime Museum in Alexandria, started out as some simple sketches on a piece of paper. Slowly but surely, those sketches are coming to life. Area landscape contractors came together to design and coordinate the garden project last spring.
When Heidi Allstop of Alexandria couldn't find the support she needed to help her through some tough times at college, she created an organization that could provide it. In just two years, that small campus organization has grown into a national company that has helped thousands of students. Supporting Peers in Laidback Listening (SPILL) is an e-mail-based support system that provides peer-to-peer support. Students can "spill" confidentially about their problems and get unbiased support, feedback and resources from other students on campus who have dealt with the same problem.
Leah Hvezda has always been intrigued with blood and gore. That intrigue eventually turned into a passion, and now the 2010 Alexandria Jefferson High School graduate is hoping to make a career out of creating it. Hvezda has always been a movie buff, but it's not the acting or the plot that draws her in - it's the make-up. "I guess I've always been into that," she said.