Abel Mehari is a news reporter for the Echo Press. A graduate from the University of Minnesota, he represented the Special Olympics United States basketball team for the 2015 World Games. In 2017 he earned an ESPY award for his contributions to Special Olympics MN and for expressing his life story through basketball.
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English students at Alexandria Area High School are holding their first Bingo event in support of U.S. war veterans. The event, called Bingo with the Brave, is coordinated by students from the English department and sponsored by the local chapter of Veterans of Foreign Wars. It will take place at the Alexandria VFW, 1102 3rd Ave. E., on Tuesday, Jan. 22, from 6-8 p.m. The public is welcome to attend.
They don't wear gray uniforms anymore, but Gray Ladies in Alexandria are still going strong after 65 years of service to the community. "It's the longest existing group of Red Cross Gray Ladies in the United States," Linda Blackmore, executive director of Central MN Red Cross, said. "They're the only one remaining."
A club that combines general and special education students is hosting a cold-water plunge this week to raise awareness and funds for Special Olympics Minnesota. The Cool School Plunge is being put on by the Unified Club at Discovery Middle School, and is open to students and staff members from 1-3:30 p.m. Friday, Jan. 18, at the school. Approximately 200 students and 10 staff members will participate in the plunge.
The number of students in the Alexandria school district is expected to grow by double-digits over the next decade, a consultant told the school board last week. Hazel Reinhardt, who was hired by the district to help determine future enrollment numbers, projects district-wide enrollment to increase from between 11.9 percent to 13.7 percent over the next 10 years.
Wreathes, swags, boughs and other evergreen decorations are being removed from two major retail stores in Minnesota due to an invasive insect, and state residents are being urged by the Minnesota Department of Agriculture to burn items, or bad and throw them away. The state department said many of evergreen products that originated from North Carolina have been infected by an invasive and hazardous insect called EHS.
Students from English class at Alexandria Area High School hosted their first holiday cookie decorating event on Monday night. The event, which is called "Cookies for a Cause," was coordinated by students from the English department and sponsored by Cub Foods. Kallie Grote, who teaches English in the high school, said that the idea for the event was from a class unit called "Culture of Caring."
Salvador Carillo is living his dream, sharing his homemade food and family tradition with the city of Alexandria. Carillo opened his restaurant, Fajitas Place Family Mexican Restaurant, Dec. 10 at 523 Broadway. "This restaurant has become a great place to chat and meet new people," he said. Carillo, who worked in construction for 30 years, said he and his wife Maria had to be patient and trust in God to accomplish his dream.
The Alexandria School Board approved an increase of its overall tax levy by 5.93 percent at its December meeting Monday night. The increase was larger than the 0.77 percent hike that was approved in September when the preliminary levy was set. The preliminary levy was for the maximum allowable amount allowed by the state. One reason for that was the final levy can remain the same or be less than that preliminary number, but it usually cannot increase. The exception is when changes are authorized by the Minnesota Department of Education, which is what happened this year.
If you were worried about your phone dying while reading at the library, worry no more. The Douglas County Public Library has now brought in cell phone chargers for the adult and children's sections. Dawn Dailey, director for the library, said that these chargers came to the library two weeks ago through purchases made by the Friends of the Libary. Each station includes two AC outlets, four lighting cables for Apple phones, two micro USB cords, and two Android outlets.
Future creative minds will be competing this weekend in a Legos-based robotics tournament in Alexandria. On Saturday, Dec. 15, more than 200 students age 9-16 from around west-central Minnesota, including the Alexandria lakes area, are expected to arrive at Discovery Middle School, where 26 teams will compete against each other in a regional tournament to display their skills in math, science and technology. Next month, winning teams will compete in a bigger sectional tournament.