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It's Al's Turn: How well do you know your town? Take this quiz

The following is an opinion column written by an Echo Press editorial staff member. It does not necessarily reflect the views of the Echo Press.

Our turn
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Excuse me for being blunt, but when it comes to knowing about the place you live, you can be smart or you can be dumb.

By dumb, I mean someone who isn’t curious about their community, is clueless about its history and couldn’t care less about its events.

By smart, I’m not talking about IQ or degrees. Rather, it’s people who are genuinely interested about where they live and what makes the community tick. People who are at least a little knowledgeable about local government, what’s happened in the past and what lies ahead.

So what camp are you in? Smart or dumb?

Maybe this little 12 question quiz that I just thought up will shed some light. The answers, by the way, can all be found in the newspaper over the last couple of months.

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1. What is the name of the project at the corner of Third Avenue and Broadway in Alexandria? Bonus points: List three factors that have delayed it.
2. What were close to 1,400 people doing on Smith Lake on Feb. 19?
3. How much did the Alexandria Fire Department’s new ladder truck cost: A. $115,000 B. $524,000 C. $1.24 million D. $2.5 million. Bonus point: Who is the Alexandria fire chief? Or if you don’t live in Alexandria, who is the fire chief in your town?
4. What do the dates Feb. 22, 1922; March 3-4 1985; and Feb. 21-22, 2022 have in common?
5. Name the following people: Mayor of Alexandria; Alexandria Lakes Area Chamber of Commerce Director; Alexandria Police Chief; Douglas County Sheriff; one of the two state senators that represent part of Douglas County.
6. Which of the following statements are incorrect about Big Ole: A. He stands 28 feet tall. B. He weighs 16,000 pounds. C. He arrived in Alexandria in 1891. D. He was toppled over by vandals in 1967. Hint: There can be more than one answer.
7. Which gubernatorial candidate did Douglas County Republicans support at their caucus?
8. What three-story building will soon stand at the corner of Broadway and Fifth Avenue in downtown Alexandria?
9. Osakis students packed food items on Jan. 28 for which country: A. Canada. B. Norway. C. Nigeria or D. Haiti?
10. How much money has the Polar Plunge raised since it began 16 years ago? Bonus point: Where does the money go?
11. What is redistricting? 
12. And one for the sports buffs. How many goals did the Alexandria boys hockey team score in this year’s section quarterfinals: A. None. B. 12. C. 19 or D. 37?

The answers:

1. The Rune (1 point). It’s been delayed by a disagreement over monitoring wells, building supply shortages, and the rising price of steel (1 point for each factor). 
2. They were ice fishing AND raising money to find a cure for cancer (2 points).
3. C (1 point). Bonus point – Fire Chief Jeff Karrow (or if you know the name of the chief in your town, add a point, no cheating.)
4. They’re all bad winter storms that hit Douglas County (1 point).
5. Bobbie Osterberg; Tara Bitzan; Scott Kent; Troy Wolbersen; Bill Ingebrigtsen or Torrey Westrom (1 point for each correct answer).
6. B, C and D are all false (1 point for each one).
7. Dr. Scott Jensen (1 point).
8. Creative Touch Boutique (1 point).
9. D (1 point).
10. More than $1 million (1 point). Bonus point: The proceeds go to Special Olympics Minnesota.
11. Redistricting is the redrawing of legislative lines based on population shifts over the last decade (1 point if you came kind of close).
12. C (1 point).   
So, out of a possible 25 points, how did you do? If you got 21 to 25 points, you get a gold star for closely following issues and events in your community. If you’re in the 16 to 20 range, don’t hang your head, you still know your community pretty well. If you got between 12 and 15, there’s room for improvement.

Less than 12? I’m not going to be mean and call you the “D” word. Maybe you’re new in town, have been very busy lately or quizzes just aren’t your jam.

Try quizzing your family and friends. See how many points they score. And remember, it’s never too late to learn about the place you call home – and your hometown newspaper is a good place to start.

“It’s Our Turn” is a weekly column that rotates among members of the Echo Press editorial staff.

Al Edenloff is the editor of the twice-weekly Echo Press. He started his journalism career when he was in 10th grade, writing football and basketball stories for the Parkers Prairie Independent.
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