In the Know column: 7 new things I've learned

Here is a snapshot of seven new things I’ve learned since my last birthday that have really stood out to me in a (mostly…not #6) positive manner.

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<i>The 2022 class participants in the Citizens Police Academy, along with Chief Scott Kent (back row, far left), Sergeant Chad Schroeder (kneeling, front left) and Captain Kevin Guenther (kneeling, far right) after the opening session in March.</i>
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By Tim Urness, Alexandria, MN

Each year when the calendar hits mid-September, it’s time to add another candle to the birthday cake for this middle-aged man. One thing I challenge myself to do each year is learn a few things that (hopefully) make me a more well-rounded, better-educated, calmer, funnier, and nicer person.

Here is a snapshot of seven new things I’ve learned since my last birthday that have really stood out to me in a (mostly…not #6) positive manner.

1. Citizens Police Academy: There aren’t enough words to share how incredible my experience was in the eight week “Citizens Police Academy” presented by the Alexandria Police Department. I have always had a ton of respect for the men and women of law enforcement, and that has only grown through this experience.

From learning about our police department and its budget, collaborations and traffic stops, to our legal system, drug use in the area, and so much more, I am now an even bigger cheerleader for the professional manner in which all 24 police officers, three administrative staff, and one building maintenance worker serve our community!


2 Venmo: Using Venmo to transfer money is easier than I expected.

3. Mountaineers: When you grow up the son of a head football coach, the only sport that matters in the fall is football! Or at least that’s what I thought as a child. Mention the word soccer around home and you’d get your mouth washed out for cussing! And now the thought of mountain biking?!!? But wow, my son, Christian, was a part of the Alexandria Mountaineer Bike Club last fall and had a blast!

Christian Urness (right) along with Head Coach of the Mountaineers Derek Chinn after a bike race in Mankato, MN.
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Students in grades 6-12 have the chance to practice their biking skills at either Brophy Park or Kensington Runestone Park, and then if interested, can compete at five weekend races around the state, which typically take place on ski hills. While learning some biking skills and techniques that he can use throughout his life is great, the even better part is the friendships Christian has made with his teammates and coaches in a very positive and “you can do it” spirit.

Never tried mountain biking before? You belong! Kind of know how to mountain bike? You belong! Experienced rider with some sweet bike gear? You belong!

4. Old man sleep habits: I now sleep like a baby while on my side with a pillow between my boney knees.

5. Lower Antelope Canyon: This last March my family had the opportunity to spend a few days with Carrie’s parents in Sedona, AZ. We had a great trip that included hiking, new foods, and relaxation! The highlight for all seven of us was when we took a day trip three hours north to Page, AZ. While in Page we saw Horseshoe Bend, the Glen Canyon Dam on Lake Powell, and the best spot was for sure Lower Antelope Canyon. If you have been there for a tour, you know what I am talking about. If you haven’t, my entire family gives it a solid two thumbs up recommendation to add to your “must see” list.

Grace, Carrie, Nora, Christian &amp; Tim Urness along with Jerry and Joyce Hansen in Lower Antelope Canyon during their visit March of 2022.
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6. What is taking you so long? Sixth grade daughters need LOTS of time getting ready for school. And the one at my house is teaching me to be more patient – daily.

7. Yoga Borealis: I never thought the word “yoga” would come out of my mouth or be typed by these fingers, but here it is! Yoga! In November, while on a visit as a Chamber Ambassador, I had the opportunity to tour a new yoga studio in town and meet its owner and instructor, Jen Frohne. Yoga Borealis has a very welcoming environment on Broadway (right above Kvale Real Estate) and is a great place for a newbie to get started.


Yoga instructor Jen Frohne and Tim Urness after a Thursday morning “Gentle Yoga” session.
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I aim to show up weekly for class and love the ability to slow down my brain, shut off my mouth, and focus on my breathing. (Don’t tell anyone, but I enjoy attending the class geared towards elderly and pregnant women – seems to fit my physique right now!). I don’t know all the fancy names for the poses, and I’m nowhere near as flexible as I never was, but to take the intentional time to breathe and simply be still has been awesome.

This is a small glimpse into what I have learned since turning 44, and there are still a few months to go until 45. So how are you different this year compared to last year? Have you gained some positive relationships, learned some cool facts? Traveled to a place on your bucket list? Gotten involved in your community with an organization you knew little about? There are many opportunities in our area to learn, grow and get involved. I encourage and challenge you to find a new way to take care of you!

Tim Urness is actively involved in service groups in the Alexandria area. “In the Know” is a rotating column written by community leaders from the Douglas County area.

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