Marie Johnson joined the Detroit Lakes Tribune as a reporter and magazine editor in November 2017 after several years of writing and editing at the Perham Focus. She lives in Detroit Lakes with her husband, Dan, their 3-year-old son and baby daughter, and their yellow Lab.
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Otter Tail County on Tuesday became the first county in Minnesota to raise the legal purchasing age for tobacco products from 18 to 21. In a unanimous 4-0 vote, the Otter Tail County Board of Commissioners passed an ordinance commonly known as Tobacco 21, or T21, at their regular meeting Nov. 13. The new regulations will begin in January, on a phased-in basis.
Lakes Area Cooperative's Country Car Wash and Pet Wash opened in mid-October, and cars and canines have been coming out squeaky clean ever since. Ben Lindquist, the co-op's feed department manager who now oversees the car wash, too, said there were a few initial mechanical kinks to be worked out, but by and large the washes have been running smoothly — and public reception has been positive. "There's been a lot of excitement about it around town," Lindquist said. "The public has been really good and really accepting of it."
The Minnesota Department of Health is conducting a study on chemicals that may harm development in children, and volunteer families from Becker County are among those taking part. The Healthy Rural and Urban Kids Project measures preschoolers’ exposure to metals, air pollution, diesel exhaust and different agricultural and home pesticides through urine samples provided by the kids along with brief surveys taken by their parents during normally-scheduled Early Childhood Screenings.
Next Saturday, Oct. 20, the little city of Ottertail is gearing up to host its Pumpkin Festival, with funds raised at the family-friendly event going back into the community to help kids and local residents in need. The annual Pumpkin Festival has become a popular tradition in Ottertail, drawing in a few hundred people each year. Sponsored and supported by many of the town's businesses and civic organizations, the event is primarily organized by The Williams Company Store and Buehler's Produce.
Becker County has been struggling with a serious child care shortage for years. Now, there's fresh hope for real solutions. The county is one of six outstate areas in Minnesota recently selected to take part in the Rural Child Care Innovation Program, or RCCIP.
It's been more than two weeks since a fire ripped apart The Refuge, and cleanup efforts are still stalled as the insurance company takes a complete inventory of everything inside the building. Mel Manning, who opened The Refuge with his wife, Shirley, in 2006, said it'll probably be another two weeks before that painstaking process is complete. After that, he said, "the real work begins." The Mannings plan to completely rebuild, and want to get things back up and running as usual again, as soon as possible.
The first weekend of October is almost here, and that means it's time for the annual Detroit Lakes Damien Home Tour. A fall tradition in the community, the tour is now in its 39th year. Always held the first weekend of October, it returns this year on Saturday, Oct. 6, from 12:30-4 p.m. The owners of five exceptional local homes will open their doors to tour-goers during this time, giving people the chance to be inspired by their different design and fall decor ideas.
Seniors Colton Bunnell and Cora Okeson were crowned the 2018 Detroit Lakes High School Homecoming King and Queen at a coronation ceremony at the school on Monday afternoon. Attendants from the junior, sophomore and freshmen classes were also announced. See Wednesday's Tribune for more Homecoming pictures.
What happens when you stop asking so-called 'bad' kids, "What's wrong with you?" and instead start asking, "What happened to you?" It seems like a simple thing, but this small shift in thinking can make a big difference in the life of a child — a difference that lasts a lifetime.
Jacy Eckhoff was bitten by the travel bug early in life. She was only in seventh grade when she boarded an airplane to Spain with her grandparents; the plane took off, and her love for adventure took off right with it. She was hooked before she even left the plane. "I like the travel itself," she says of what she likes most about her journeys. "The anticipation before you get there, it's very high."