Marie Johnson joined the Perham Focus more than five years ago, and has since worn many hats as writer, editor and page designer. She lives in rural Frazee with her husband, Dan, their one-year-old son, Simon, and their yellow lab, Louisa.
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Five years ago, school counselor Julie Smith was visited by a 15-year-old girl who told her she had been raped. The girl was looking for help; she needed help. Smith did everything she could. She counseled the girl and tried to set her up with the proper mental health services. But she discovered barriers within the system. There was a lot of paperwork, and things took a long time. The girl was a Native American student living on the White Earth Reservation, and the legal processes involved in the wake of her rape were frightening and foreign to her.
Kristi Brend stares at a screen all day, every day, and it's taking a toll on her eyes. The Detroit Lakes optician spends several hours a day in front of a computer at work, and then cell phones, tablets and TV screens all vie for her attention at home. By the end of the day, her eyes are red and dry, and her vision is blurred.
Cliff Oftelie has been collecting historical postcards for about 30 years. A frequenter of local farm and estate sales and member of the Twin City Postcard Club of Minneapolis, he's managed to amass about 1,200 cards from around the Becker County area, particularly from old resorts. It's a passion of his: the 67-year-old Detroit Lakes man is a lifelong lover of history, and a collector since boyhood.
First Lutheran Church in Detroit Lakes is ringing in the holiday season with a series of lunchtime Advent Mini Concerts, continuing a 17-year-long tradition at the church. Free and open to the public, the concerts will run from 12:05-12:35 p.m. on the three Wednesdays that lead up to Christmas—December 6, 13 and 20. A light lunch will follow each concert, with free will donations accepted for the lunch.
Kalie Wright says she’s “still coming down from Cloud Nine” after being named the new Miss Minnesota USA on Sunday. The Eagle Bend contestant was crowned at the culmination of the 2018 pageant, held at the Ames Center in Burnsville Nov. 25 and 26. During that big moment -- literally the ‘crowning moment’ of the competition -- Wright was “shouting and screaming with excitement,” she recalls. “I just lost it.” She still sounded a little hoarse days later.
Detroit Lakes native Melissa Paakh was named first runner-up in the Miss Minnesota USA 2018 pageant. Paakh has a long and successful history in the pageant circuit. The 2011 Detroit Lakes High School graduate is a former Miss Northwest and Miss Southwest titleholder. She was one of 51 contestants who competed at the Ames Center in Burnsville on Sunday to represent Minnesota in the next Miss USA competition. She won runner-up to the new Miss Minnesota USA titleholder, Kalie Wright of Eagle Bend.
Just before 9 a.m. last Thursday, the crew of that day's Vic's Popcorn packaging line arrived for its shift at Shearer's Snacks, ready and raring to go. The five-member team, donning matching hardhats, safety glasses, hair nets and green shirts, stepped off the Otter Tail Express bus and through the front door of Shearer's.
Duane Lysne still remembers the first time he crossed the equator. That was the day he graduated from a "slimy pollywog" to a "trusty shellback." It was June 26, 1957, and he was travelling through the Panama Canal to Chili, South America with the rest of the crew of the U.S.S. Harlan R. Dickson, DD-708. He had been at sea with the Navy for about three years already, but had never before gotten the chance to cross over to the southern hemisphere—an accomplishment considered a crucial rite of passage for any "seaworthy" sailor.
There's a little-known patch of heaven just off of Otter Tail County's scenic Highway 1, south of Ottertail, where everyone is welcome, all the time. The gates to this earthly heaven are never closed, and there's never a cost to enter. Walk through, and you'll find the perfect place to rest, play, meditate and simply enjoy all that nature has to offer.
Papacito's Burritos is on a roll. The little build-your-own-burrito joint inside the Perham BP gas station has seen nothing but growth since opening in 2012. Despite its blink-and-you'll-miss-it location, the popular fast food restaurant has routinely packed in hungry crowds tighter than its famously overstuffed burritos. Similar to chain restaurants like Chipotle or Qdoba, but with a more intimate, locally-owned feel, Papacito's quickly sealed its success in Perham by offering reliably generous portions, fast service, affordable prices and friendly faces behind the counter.