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In the Know column: A lot of news happening in Alexandria

Sports and the arts are alive in Alexandria too. The Andria Theater inaugurated a new marquee that lights up downtown, just like their live performances do.

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The new marquee at the Andria Theatre was lit up Thursday evening, June 9, 2022, to a large crowd of people.
Celeste Edenloff / Alexandria Echo Press
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By Bobbie Osterberg, Alexandria mayor

Dear Mom and Dad,

Garrison Keillor’s opening monologue to The News from Lake Wobegon started with “It’s been a quiet week in Lake Wobegon Minnesota, my hometown.” While the communities have a lot in common, Alexandria is not Lake Wobegon. There is much to do and news to report!

Dad, you would love this. In June, I volunteered to help at the Explore Alexandria booth during the State Trap Shooting Tournament. Nearly 7,900 high school students from over 300 schools participated during the nine-day event. It made me smile to think I was in the company of hundreds of armed teenagers and felt completely safe. How do you post THAT on social media? Where else does that happen? You taught me a healthy respect for firearms and how to use them safely.

Big Ole Park is a hub of daily activity. From the Farmer’s Market, to Rotary Pier, Art Market, and Central Lakes Trail busy with bicyclists, walkers and runners to the oversized musical instruments for the young and young-at-heart to play. There’s so much life at Big Ole Park!

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Sports and the arts are alive in Alexandria too. The Andria Theater inaugurated a new marquee that lights up downtown, just like their live performances do.

Citizen-led efforts make this town what it is. Lots of good people making good things happen. Many talented people choose to live here and get engaged with the community.

The big things on my plate as mayor are the 2023 budget, THC regulation and the upcoming elections. The budgeting process starts in April and continues through September. It’s the most important thing the council approves so it’s where we really invest our time.The budget committee meets with every department to assess needs, costs and dreams. In addition to the improvements we want to make, the budget committee will need to consider inflation and gasoline prices that have at least doubled. Balancing cost with level of service is no easy task.

Did you hear about the legalization of THC edibles in Minnesota? It sure has created some challenges. Personally, I just want folks to be safe and knowledgeable if they choose to use the product. City stakeholders will develop guidelines over the next months with involvement from the public, police department, council, city staff and city attorney. Stay tuned for further developments. I’m expecting contention and eventually consensus. It’s good to bring committed, engaged people together to develop a solution.

There was so much fall-out from the 2020 election and I want to take the time to remind people to know whom they’re voting for. Take initiative. Do the research. Use accurate, accountable and ethical sources. Look for both sides of the story/issue. I don’t remember if either of you were election judges. I’ve discovered it’s a great way to see, know and protect the system. Did you know most people are eligible to be an election judge? Voting is the easy part. Being trained to protect the right to vote carries much responsibility. Nearly 75 trained election judges are appointed to cover polling places throughout the City of Alexandria. It’s an important role in the life of the community ( https://www.co.douglas.mn.us/elections-voting ).

The people living here are generous with their time, talent and financial resources. They truly enjoy working together to make good things happen. Margaret Mead was right when she said, “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.”

Mom, tell Dad the corn and beans look good. My garden is performing above average.

Life is good in award winning Alexandria.

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Until next time.

Bobbie Osterberg is the mayor of Alexandria. " In the Know" is a rotating column written by community leaders from the Douglas County area.

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