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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A first-ever father/daughter dance in Osakis was a success with about 130 people (65 couples) attending. The Valentine's Date Father/Daughter Dance, for students in grades K-6, took place Saturday, Feb. 16. Following the grand march, participants enjoyed crafts, kid bowling, music, dancing, games, snacks and more. The dance, put on by the Close Up students, was a fundraiser to help pay for their trip to Washington, D.C. at the end of March.
The 13th annual Alexandria Industries Fishing for the Cure ice fishing tournament is slated for this Saturday, Feb. 16. The tourney will take place from noon to 3 p.m. on Smith Lake, between Nelson and Osakis. Prizes will be awarded for the top 100 fish by weight. However, organizers of the annual event said that beyond the prizes and of course, bragging rights for catching the biggest fish, the tournament is hands down a great way to enjoy being on the ice with family and friends. And it is all for a great cause.
Last year, the Osakis Fire Department went on 47 calls and each time, whether it was an actual fire or not, firefighters were required to wear their turnout gear. The department has an older style washing machine to clean the gear, but those types of machines just don't cut it anymore, according to State Fire Marshal Bruce West. The Osakis Fire Department, along with 72 other departments in the state including Garfield and Leaf Valley, received grant money to purchase mechanical turnout gear washers and/or dryers.
An informational meeting for a proposed new school, Prairie Ridge Nature School, has been set for Monday, Feb. 11 at 6:30 p.m. at the Douglas County Library. Prairie Ridge Nature School, according to its acting director, Elizabeth Williams, is a nature-based micro school for students in grades K-6 that is tentatively scheduled to open this fall. A specific site has not yet been determined.
It's a new year for the Douglas County Board as the two newly-elected commissioners were sworn in at the board's annual organizational meeting Jan. 8. Vicki Doehling, the county's elections administrator, conducted the ceremonial oath for Heather Larson and Tim Kalina, who were voted in last November to serve as Douglas County commissioners. Commissioner Charlie Meyer was elected board chairman, with Keith Englund being elected as vice chairman.
A new emergency management director has been hired for Douglas County. Julie Anderson, who has been the deputy emergency management director for a little over a year, was officially hired as the full-time director at a special Douglas County Board meeting Dec. 28. She is taking over for Douglas County Sheriff Troy Wolbersen, who, besides being the sheriff full-time, served as the emergency management director for the last 12 years.
Recorder Dawn Crouse was recognized for her years of service at the Dec. 18 Douglas County Board of Commissioners meeting. Crouse, who began her career as the deputy recorder and abstractor in May 1976, has been the county recorder since January 2007. She was elected the previous November and served three terms. She will retire as of Dec. 31, and on Tuesday was presented with a plaque by the board chairman, Owen Miller. Each of the commissioners thanked Crouse for doing a great job and for her commitment to the county for the past 40-plus years.
Students in Melanie Stier's second-grade classroom know that they can find lots of triangles in Egypt because they've seen them, but not in textbooks. And they know there are squares, rectangles and circles on city streets throughout the world. They have toured these areas on numerous occasions via their iPads and the virtual tours they take through interactive lessons from "Nearpod."
The Osakis City Council approved a property tax levy increase of 3 percent for 2019. The levy, along with the city's overall budget, was approved at the Monday, Dec. 3, City Council meeting. The levy increased by $21,500 — from $716,000 to $737,500. And the budget, which was set at $3.4 million, went up from last year's $3.2 million — a 6.1 percent increase. When the budget was set, however, it was set based on the fact that it could be amended pending contract negotiations.
Property owners in Douglas County will see their property taxes go up by about 3 percent for the 2019 tax year. Char Rosenow, Douglas County auditor/treasurer, provided detailed information about the county's $51.6 million budget and $27.2 million levy Thursday, Nov. 29, during its annual Truth in Taxation meeting. A handful of people attended the meeting, although no comments or questions were asked by those in attendance. The county's levy increased by $790,834, which is an increase of 2.99 percent from last year and an overall increase of 6.44 percent from 2014.