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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ALEXANDRIA, Minn. — Steven Powers, the last of three men charged in connection with the 2017 abduction of a 15-year-old Alexandria girl, entered a guilty plea Wednesday, Nov. 21, in Douglas County District Court. The girl, who is now 16, gained national attention after police say she escaped from three men who held her captive for nearly a month. She disappeared from her Alexandria home in August 2017.
ALEXANDRIA, Minn. — Joshua Lee Holby, one of the three men charged last fall in connection with the abduction of Jasmine Block of Alexandria, entered a guilty plea Friday, Sept. 14, in Douglas County District Court. Holby, 32, of Carlos, Minn., pleaded guilty to two counts of kidnapping, which is a felony-level offense. Under the guidelines and because he has no prior criminal record, Holby is expected to be sentenced to seven years, two months in prison. His sentencing hearing was set for Tuesday, Jan. 8.
SAUK CENTRE, Minn. — An incident that started in Osakis and ended in Sauk Centre Thursday, Sept. 13, left a Stearns County deputy shot in the forearm by an arrow and the suspect with gunshots to the left shoulder, buttocks and hand. The suspect, Ramey James Olson, 31, of Alexandria, was released from the hospital Saturday, Sept. 15, and booked into the Stearns County Jail on probable cause felony assault, according to the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension.
BRANDON TOWNSHIP, Minn. — Casey Skinner was at Chippewa Park on Saturday, Aug. 25, with family members enjoying the day. He hadn't seen his nephews in awhile, so his family decided to have a get-together at the park. Suddenly, he heard his brother's girlfriend yelling and screaming. "I thought it was because of the dogs getting into something, but then I heard someone else yelling, 'You ran over my baby,'" the 17-year-old from Alexandria said Monday morning.
ALEXANDRIA, Minn.—One of the three men charged in connection with the abduction of a 15-year-old Alexandria girl last fall entered a guilty plea Wednesday morning in Douglas County District Court. Thomas Barker pleaded guilty to kidnapping, criminal sexual conduct in the first degree with a dangerous weapon and criminal sexual conduct in the first degree causing fear of great bodily harm. All are felony-level charges.
While sitting outside on a sunny day looking out over Lake Darling, Craig Mische saw "a huge congregation of boats developing" and wondered what was going on. Curiosity got the best of the Alexandria realtor, so he decided to explore it a little closer — with his drone.
A 30-year-old Alexandria man accused in a 2013 fatal stabbing pleaded guilty to count one of manslaughter Monday morning. Kody Lee Klimek was charged last September with two second-degree murder counts — intentional and unintentional — and a third-degree murder charge in connection with the stabbing death of Phillip Altstadt, 28, on June 1, 2013, outside the Lincoln Estates apartment complex at Sixth Avenue East and McKay Avenue in Alexandria.
ALEXANDRIA, Minn.—A 30-year-old Alexandria man accused in a 2013 fatal stabbing pleaded guilty to count one of manslaughter Monday, Feb. 26. Kody Lee Klimek was charged last September with two second-degree murder counts — intentional and unintentional — and a third-degree murder charge in connection with the stabbing death of Phillip Altstadt, 28, on June 1, 2013, outside an apartment complex in Alexandria.
As the judge read his verdict, the sounds of sobbing grew louder and louder in the small federal courtroom. With tears streaming down her face, Nancy Estrada exchanged a look of disbelief with her husband, Julio Estrada Escobar, as they learned that he is being deported back to his home country of Guatemala. At the end of the 45-minute verdict read by Immigration Judge Ryan Wood on Wednesday, Dec. 13, he said, "This was a difficult day and I made the best decision I could. I wish you the best."
ST. PAUL—Wearing tan pants and a dark-colored sweatshirt with shackles on his hands and feet, a teary-eyed Julio Estrada Escobar admitted that he's made mistakes but he wants a different life for his children. "They need to be raised and taught good moral values," Escobar said, glancing a look at his two children, Julio, 13, and Candis, 11. "I want to teach them to be good."