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.
- Member for
- 2 years 7 months
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.
It's once again that time of year — time to enter the Osakis Review/ Echo Press' Light up the Night Christmas lights contest. Along with a business category, there are four categories for individual residences. Unlike previous years, past winners are eligible to win this year. Here are the categories: • Best Decorated Business: Judging is based on the storefront. • Most Elegant: Symmetry, sparkle, coordination and beauty. Judges will look for the display that exemplifies class.
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."