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Jeers to fake bills, cheers to DL

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opinion Detroit Lakes, 56501
Detroit Lakes Minnesota 511 Washington Avenue 56501

Jeers to whoever is passing counterfeit $5, $10, $20 and $50 bills around the area.

Most are $20 bills and most are high-quality counterfeits that can't easily be detected without a special marker.

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The Detroit Lakes Police Department is working with the U.S. Secret Service and the White Earth Tribal Police department on the case, which involves more than a dozen bills passed in the area since the counterfeit money started showing up in the region last month.

"These are some good counterfeits, they look real," said DL Police Investigator Tammy Hunt.

They are printed bills, not $1 or $5 bills that have been "washed" to look like $20 bills, she added.

Law enforcement would like to see more businesses testing bills with the counterfeit-detecting pens, because most are not doing so, and the counterfeits are turning up in bank deposits.

There are suspects, but no arrests pending in the case, which continues to be under investigation, Hunt said.

With hard economic times, "people are just working harder at stealing," she said.

***

Cheers to all the construction going on around Detroit Lakes.

From the new CVS Pharmacy which will open in February, to Webber Family Ford, which is moving from Highway 59 South to a new location near Menard's, there is a lot of activity in town.

A long-vacant building (a former dry-cleaners) next to the National Guard Armory across from Rossman School is being remodeled by photographer Jay Schurman into what he hopes will be professional office space.

In all, the city saw $18.4 million in new construction permits through the first of this month -- led by a big surge in commercial remodeling and repair jobs.

• There were 60 such permits for construction, totaling nearly $7 million.

Last year, 24 such permits were issued with a total value of less than $900,000.

• This year, there were 10 permits issued for nearly $5 million in new commercial construction.

That is dwarfed by last year (a very good year for construction in Detroit Lakes) which saw permits for 52 new commercial buildings with a total value of $23.3 million.

• So far this year, there were 19 permits issued for new single-family homes, with a total construction value of $3.6 million.

Last year 26 new homes were built with a total construction value of $2.3 million.

• No new multi-family residential buildings were constructed this year. There were nine built last year, with a total value of $2.7 million.

• There were 202 permits issued so far this year for residential repair and remodeling work, for a total value of $1.8 million.

Last year, 248 such permits were issued for a total value of $2.3 million.

• In all, there were 332 building permits issued so far this year in Detroit Lakes, compared to 524 at the same time last year and 567 the year before.

But a lot of the difference is in the "other" permit area, for fences, signs and similar construction.

Only 12 such permits have been issued so far this year -- down from 137 last year and 156 the year before. That year (2009) saw total building permits of about $16.2 million.

"We're pretty fortunate, compared to a lot of places," said Development Director Larry Remmen.

"It's certainly noticeable as you drive through town -- you can see things are happening in Detroit Lakes."

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