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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The rescheduling of the St. Agnes Carnival this year due to the weather didn't hinder its success. It was "very busy" with an estimated 500 to 600 people attending the annual carnival Sunday, March 17, said St. Agnes Principal Pat Pospisil. Although the final numbers haven't been tallied yet, Pospisil said around $8,000 was raised from the event, which included a silent auction, vendor fair and plenty of games for the kids.
After more than 20 years in the Osakis School District, Tim Roggenbuck, high school principal, is retiring. His retirement was made official at the Monday, March 11 school board meeting when his resignation was approved. "When I was hired, I said Osakis would be my home and it did become my home," said Roggenbuck. "Osakis was a great school for my family, my kids." Superintendent Randy Bergquist, along with the school board members, all thanked Roggenbuck for his years of service. "We wish you the best of luck," Bergquist said.
The Osakis City Council has officially hired Maureen "Reenie" Goodwin as the Osakis Liquor Store manager. Four applicants were interviewed at a special meeting on Feb. 14 — Goodwin, Jeff Strizl, Nichole Devita and Randall Ralph. After two more special meetings — Feb. 25 and March 1 — that were closed to the public, a motion was made to offer Goodwin the position with a one-year probationary period and a salary of $42,994, according to materials in the Osakis City Council packet for its March 11 meeting.
Starting this month, a $50 solid waste service fee increase will finally show up on property tax statements for residents in both Pope and Douglas counties. The annual fee, which was approved by the Douglas County Board last September, is increasing from $49 to $99.
Seventeen teams of eighth-grade students from eight area schools — including Osakis — competed in a Fluid Power Action Challenge at Alexandria Technical and Community College. The students had to construct a prototype, powered by fluid, that was capable of picking up blocks and moving them. The annual competition is designed to teach students about use of fluids under pressure to generate, control and transmit power.
Calling off school because of adverse weather is not something school officials take lightly. Area superintendents say it is always a difficult decision, one that is driven by the safety of students. As of Feb. 19, students in the Osakis School District missed seven days this winter — Jan. 7, 29-31, Feb. 8., Feb. 14 and Feb. 20. Three makeup days were included in the original school calendar, including Jan. 2, Feb. 15 and April 22.
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.