Beth is a reporter at the Echo Press. She graduated from the College of Saint Benedict in May 2015 with a degree in Communication and Hispanic Studies. Journalism has always been her passion, but she also enjoys blogging and graphic design. In her spare time, she's most likely at Crossfit or at home with her boyfriend and three dogs.
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ALEXANDRIA, Minn.—Danny Sieve needed a way to get his three daughters out of the house and away from the screens of electronics. So he began blowing snow into a large pile near a tree in his Alexandria yard. He molded the snow against the tree and began carving into it, making his way through the yard until he'd formed a track. Then he took a hose to the course, creating ice along the track, until he had formed his very own backyard luge.
ALEXANDRIA, Minn.—One of the three defendants in the Jasmine Block abduction case is seeking to suppress evidence. Steven Powers, 20, appeared in court on Thursday, Feb. 15. He faces charges of kidnapping, criminal sexual conduct and false imprisonment. Powers' attorney requested another hearing, during which they plan to file motions to suppress evidence, according to Douglas County attorney Chad Larson. It is not clear yet what evidence they seek to suppress.
ALEXANDRIA, Minn.—One of the anchors of Viking Plaza Mall in Alexandria will soon be empty, as J.C. Penney will be closing its doors May 12. On-duty manager Karen Brazel confirmed that the Alexandria store is among the J.C. Penney stores that are closing. The store will begin liquidating its merchandise March 5. Last year, the retailer closed eight locations in Minnesota, including Baxter, Fairmont, Faribault, Hibbing, Hutchinson, Red Wing, Thief River Falls and Winona.
BRANDON, Minn. — When Adrianna Sletto realized her 2-year-old daughter Kaidence seemed to be under the weather in early December, she took her to the doctor. She was told it was a virus and was sent home. In the next few days, Kaidence's fever began to drop and she started feeling better. But over the following weeks, her cough continued. Then Sletto noticed swollen glands in the back of her daughter's neck. Knowing that could be a sign of strep throat, Sletto brought her daughter back into the clinic on Dec. 17.
ALEXANDRIA—It was Tuesday, Sept. 5, when something on the law enforcement scanner caught my attention. "She says her name is Jasmine and she matches the description," said a voice. The name Jasmine had become one heard often in our community, as 15-year-old Jasmine Block had been missing for nearly one month. Flyers were hung in storefronts and on bulletin boards, advertising the search for her. They adorned many vehicles in the area as well. "This can't be real," I remember thinking as the scanner went off. "This has to be someone playing a sick joke."
ALEXANDRIA, Minn. — With her three children back under one roof, Sarah Block says she can rest easy — well, as easy as one can rest with three teenage girls. In the past two and a half months, the Block family has been doing its best to get back to normal life after police say 15-year-old Jasmine was abducted and held against her will by three men for nearly one month before she escaped Sept. 5.
PARKERS PRAIRIE, Minn. — A hypothetical zombie apocalypse is to blame for recent controversy at Parkers Prairie High School. A teacher gave ninth-grade geography students an assignment that Principal Carey Johnson initially said is part of a nationally recognized curriculum called Zombie-Based Learning. One of the questions asked students to choose three people to sacrifice during a zombie apocalypse and explain why they were chosen. The assignment from teacher angered some parents of ninth-graders, such as Michelle Diedrich.
A Douglas County man said Friday he is awaiting more information from doctors as he recovers from having his arm pinned inside a piece of farm machinery. By phone on Friday, Nov. 10, Todd Wunderlich, 54, of Parkers Prairie, said he is doing well and is waiting to find out more about the extent of his injuries.
ALEXANDRIA, Minn. — A 24-year-old man arrested in connection to a fatal shooting at the University of Utah on Monday, Oct. 30, has ties to Alexandria. The suspect, Austin Boutain, is also suspected of being connected to a homicide in Colorado, police said Tuesday. He has a brother who lives in Alexandria and other family in Minnesota.
ALEXANDRIA, Minn. — Earl Melchert wasn't supposed to be home that Tuesday afternoon. Melchert, an employee of Elbow Lake Co-op Grain, had been working near his home near Barrett and made a last-minute decision to pick something up from his house. It was that decision that would change the course of numerous lives — especially the life of a 15-year-old girl named Jasmine Block. Police say she had been had been abducted and held against her will by three men for nearly one month before escaping the afternoon of Sept. 5.