Celeste is a reporter for the Alexandria Echo Press and has lived in the Alexandria Lakes Area since 1997. She first worked for the Echo Press as a reporter from 1999 to 2011, and returned in June 2016 to report on the community she calls home. Besides writing articles for the Echo Press, she has a blog, “Newspaper Girl on the Run.” Celeste is on a continuous healthy living journey and loves to teach bootcamp fitness classes and run. She has participated in more than 200 races with her husband, Al, covering the 5K, 10K, 10-mile and half-marathon (13.1 mile) distances.
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Firefighters from Alexandria and Osakis are at the scene of a house fire at 150 South Nelson Street in Nelson. According to Tracy Oberg, the home's owner, he came home Friday morning to find the house filled with smoke. He was able to get his dog out of the house but not a cat. Watch for further updates as soon as they become available.
Osakis residents may see about a $6 monthly increase for their water/sewage rates beginning in January. At the Monday, Nov. 5, city council meeting, council members discussed the fee schedule for 2019, which includes increases for water and sewer. The base charge for water, which is the minimum charge per month, will increase from $26 to $29.50 and additional fees will be added based on water usage, ranging from $3.40 to $4.30 per month. The increases range from 40 cents to 50 cents.
Chris George of Osakis was pleasantly surprised by the results of the Osakis School Board election. He was one of the top vote getters and will be replacing Monika Klimek, who did not refile for the position. "I was not sure what to expect from the election," he said. "It was a new experience for me." As a new member to the school board, George said he is in a great situation where he will get to learn from the other school board members, who he called "experienced and talented."
Douglas County commissioners received good news from the CliftonLarsonAllen auditing firm at their Oct. 16 meeting. The board received an unmodified or "clean" opinion based on the financial statements, which is the highest assurance they can receive. Doug Host, a representative with the auditing firm, presented the audit summary to the Douglas County Board. One of the highlights touched on by Host was that the county had no material audit adjustments.
A goal of the We Got Your Back group — to have all officers and deputies in Douglas County equipped with new active-shooter protective gear — has now been fulfilled. In a ceremony Friday, Oct. 19, at the Alexandria Technical and Community College, 30 kits were donated to officers and deputies in the Alexandria and Osakis police departments and Douglas County Sheriff's Office, as well as to medical personnel who respond with SWAT team members. An additional three kits were donated to police officers in Glenwood, in Pope County.
Douglas County commissioners approved a preliminary tax levy at Tuesday's regular board meeting. The levy was tentatively set at $27,240,300, which is a 2.99 percent increase from 2018. In 2017 the county levy was originally set at $27 million, a 3.96 percent increase, before officially being set at $26.4 million — an increase of 1.84 percent.
Interstate 94 between Alexandria and Osakis was reopened around 6:30 a.m. Thursday morning after a semi rolled over. According to the Minnesota State Patrol, the right lane near mile marker 108 is still blocked until the semi can be removed from the roadway. Reportedly, the semi was westbound on Interstate 94 when the driver, who has not yet been named, swerved to miss a group of deer standing on the roadway. The semi rolled over, blocking both lanes of traffic. The crash happened shortly before 2:30 a.m.
Shortly after 3 a.m., the Minnesota State Patrol issued a news release stating motorists on Interstate 94 will encounter a temporary detour between exit 103 near Alexandria and exit 114 near Osakis dur to a semi rollover. The roadway is closed in the west bound direction and the detour route is I-94 to Hwy 27 and Douglas County Road 82. As of 5:30 a.m., the road was still closed. Once the crash is cleared, the road will reopen.
An incident that started in Osakis and ended in Sauk Centre Thursday left a Stearns County deputy with a shot in the forearm by an arrow and the suspect with gunshots to the left shoulder, buttocks and hand. The suspects is a 31-year-old man from the Osakis/Alexandria area. According to a news release from the Stearns County Sheriff’s Office, here’s what happened:
A suspect is in custody in Stearns County after a standoff in Sauk Centre earlier today, Thursday, Sept. 13. According to Osakis Police Chief Chad Gulbranson, a stolen vehicle was reported in Douglas County and a chase ensued, ending in Sauk Centre. The Sauk Centre Police Department posted on its Facebook page that because of a standoff, a soft lockdown was taken as a precautionary measure at the schools. Homes in the area of the 700 block of 10th Street South in Sauk Centre were also evacuated.