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Joseph Koopman of Alexandria died in a rollover crash in southwestern Minnesota last week. Koopman was a 20-year member of the U.S. National Guard, and was deployed twice, to Kuwait in 2004-05 and to Iraq in 2011-12. He worked at FAST Global Solutions in Glenwood. According to the Lyon County Sheriff's Office, the single-car crash was reported at 11:22 a.m. Friday, May 17, on the 2300 block of County Road 24 in Cottonwood.
Alexandria Industries broke ground Tuesday on an expansion of its manufacturing building on County Road 22 in Alexandria. Construction is expected to start soon on a 12,000-square-foot addition that is needed to accommodate a new aluminum extrusion press along with its soft Kevlar handling system.
If Julie Critz seems to be following what has been going on — or not going on, depending on your point of view — in St. Paul lately, that is because Alexandria's superintendent of schools has more than a casual interest in the state budget process. The state's education funding is a big part of the biennium budget. It is also by far the largest funding source for public school districts.
With unemployment rates hovering in record-low territory, businesses of all stripes are having a difficult time finding job candidates. When you have 800 employees, as Knute Nelson does throughout its system, you're always on the lookout for workers. "With health care, we naturally have a higher turnover than other industries," said Allie Janssen, human resources specialist for the nonprofit that specializes in care for senior citizens. At any given time they are trying to fill as many as 50 positions.
In an effort to increase services within the 50-mile radius served by Alexandria Opportunities Center, the non-profit agency is merging with Fergus Falls-based Productive Alternatives. "We're doing this for the long-term benefit of both the staff and the clients that we serve," said Mike Burke, AOC executive director. "It will allow us to provide more service options within Alexandria and the whole region. That's the driving force behind this."
Michael Doyle is now a Hall of Famer. The administrative director of Heartland Orthopedic Specialists was inducted last month into the Minnesota Athletic Trainers' Association Hall of Fame. The honors and awards banquet was part of the association's 2019 annual meeting and clinical symposium. The Hall of Fame award is presented to athletic trainers who have made significant contributions to the profession though their professionalism, leadership and service in the state. Doyle was the only one inducted this year, and just the 18th to enter the hall.
Paige Good was somewhat familiar with this area, through visits to her in-laws' vacation home that transitioned into a retirement home. Even so, pulling up stakes from the only place she had lived was a big decision. Despite having done research, including on the school district, she worried about the move. Those concerns were unfounded, and her family's decision to relocate here five years ago from Lexington, Ky., is one they have never regretted.
The graduation rate for Minnesota's high schools climbed to its highest rate ever, and the three public schools in Douglas County all bested the state average. One school, Osakis, came close to posting a perfect 100 percent graduation rate. The state listed 53 graduates at the school in 2018, with one dropout, making for a 98.1 percent graduation rate.
Twenty students at Alexandria Technical & Community College took first place at the SkillsUSA state championships this month in the Twin Cities and various other locations. The event showcased more than 600 career and technical education students from Minnesota who competed in 60 hands-on state contests in trade, technical and leadership fields, said Sherri Randt, admissions representative and SkillsUSA adviser at the college.
Alexandria may not have been the destination anyone had in mind initially when Pioneer Public Television wanted to sponsor a free event for its viewers. It quickly became an obvious choice, however. "We were looking for somewhere in our northern viewing area with Scandinavian ties," said Patrick Moore, the station's communications director. "We know that there's a bedrock of Scandinavian culture in the region, with ties to Knute Nelson going way back. And it's a great membership town for Pioneer."