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Complex to host PEAK training center

The NorthStar Sports Complex in Alexandria, which is set to open in September, will be the site of the PEAK Performance training center.

PEAK Performance is a training program offered by Heartland Orthopedic Specialists for youth from elementary-school age through college, designed to help athletes reach their full potential and reduce the chance of injury. Beginning Nov. 1, the program's primary location will be at the facility, which also includes a field house, skating rink and chapel.

"Our training is based on functional movements that develop better overall athletes, not just in hockey, but in all sports," said Mike Doyle, Heartland's administrative director. "When you start playing young, and specialize only in a specific sport, you start seeing overuse injuries. We try to broaden the training and encourage multi-sport athletes."

They also have Titleist Golf programs for youth to seniors.

New Chamber members

The Alexandria Lakes Area Chamber of Commerce membership team recognized four new Chamber members on July 11.

• Alexandria Martial Arts & Movement, 415 Fillmore St., Alexandria, which "builds confidence" through boxing and martial arts programs for adults and children. The business also hosts birthday parties, parents' night out events and events for any small or large group.

• Common Ground Coffee House opened almost three years ago at 516 Hawthorne St. in Alexandria. It offers a variety of coffee drinks, teas, smoothies, scones, parfaits, paninis, wraps and salads. A main floor conference room and large upstairs event venue are open for events such as open mic nights, live music and business meetings.

• Lake Community Church, 490 Voyager Dr., Alexandria, holds worship services on Sundays at 9 and 10:30 am. It has a variety of ways to get involved and recently welcomed a new senior pastor, Jon Ewton.

• Spectrum Reach is the advertising sales division of Spectrum and offers TV and digital advertising to businesses. It helps customers reach a nationwide audience, view analytics and track performance of advertisements.

Chamber Ambassadors welcomes new business

The Alexandria Lakes Area Chamber of Commerce Ambassadors welcomed a new business on July 11.

Evolve Orthodontics, at 510 22nd Ave. E., Suite 702, Alexandria, is owned by Dr. Dustin Ditch, a northern Minnesota native who earned his dental degree and orthodontic certification from the University of Minnesota. The business is open Monday through Thursday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Employer nominations sought

The Lakes Area Professional Women's organization is accepting nominations through Aug. 17 for employers of the year.

The group recognizes employers that show exceptional commitment to gender equality by promoting a "culture of inclusiveness, flexibility, employee development and other positive attributes that enable women to realize their full potential," according to a press release.

Each year, LAPW honors for-profit businesses, non-profit organizations, or government entities in two categories — large employer (more than 25 employees) and small employer (25 or fewer employees). Employers are chosen on the basis of "support and promote fairness in the workplace, demonstrate sensitivity to the needs of female employees, provide upward mobility and demonstrate philanthropic support of the Alexandria area community."

The winners will be recognized at the annual Lakes Area Professional Women's Recognition Luncheon at 11:30 a.m. Wednesday, Oct. 24, at Broadway Ballroom in Alexandria.

Nomination forms are available through Jill Swanstrom at jill@studiocsalonmn.com or at lakesareaprofessionalwomen.org.

Douglas County diversity rises

Every one of the 26 counties in northwest Minnesota grew more diverse ethnically and racially from 2000-16, and so did the workforce, according to regional labor market analyst Chet Bodin with the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development. Bodin noted that the labor force has expanded during that time, adding 9,000 minority workers, which represented 40 percent of the expansion.

Douglas County followed suit, its number rising from 4.1 to 7.9 on a scale called the Diversity Index. The index is a number from 1-100 that represents the chance that two people chosen randomly from an area will be different by race and ethnicity. A higher number means more diversity.

Two of Douglas County's neighbors were among the region's top five counties where diversity has increased the most. Stevens County rose from 9.2 to 20.2 during that time frame, and Todd County went from 8.4 to 17.9. In these five counties, the Hispanic or Latino population grew by an average of 392 percent, and the black or African American population rose by an average of 248 percent. During that same time, these counties lost an average of 401 white residents.

"Minority workers are a vital piece of the economy in Northwest Minnesota, and there are opportunities for others to make the region their home and earn a sustainable living," Bodin wrote.

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