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If you're not impressed that the Frazee-Vergas High School Robotics team is going to an international championship with 400 teams from around the world, you should be.
The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources has decided the Pineland Sands Aquifer, which runs beneath the Ponsford, Osage and Park Rapids area, is too sensitive to ignore any longer, and has created a groundwater management area. The Straight River Groundwater Management Area includes parts of southern Clearwater, northeast Becker, southwest Hubbard and northwest Wadena counties.
Volunteer drivers are needed for the local Meals on Wheels program, which delivers meals to senior citizens in the Detroit Lakes and Frazee area. "Although this is a volunteer position, Meals on Wheels is recognized nationwide as one of the best ways we can repay our senior citizens for the many contributions they made to their communities over the years," said coordinator DeAnn Heintzelman. She manages the dining room at the Detroit Lakes Senior Center, located in the lower level of the Community Center.
Aiming to do whatever it can for homeless people in the area, Mahube-Otwa has developed several programs over the years to target specific problems. But it isn't getting any easier, said Marcia Otte, family development director for Mahube-Otwa community action agency, which serves the counties of Becker, Mahnomen, Hubbard, Otter Tail and Wadena.
You might be surprised how many people in Becker County are just a lost job or a blown transmission or a medical emergency away from homelessness. Hoping to catch them before they fall is Marcia Otte, family development director at Mahube-Otwa. She and her staff use a wide network, built up over 30 years, of contacts in local government, churches, housing, and the community to give crucial housing support to people who just don't get it from family, friends or anywhere else.
The Becker County Museum will soon also become a science and children's museum. "We are one of a half-dozen museums around the state wondering how to get more people in the door," Executive Director Becky Mitchell told the County Board Tuesday. "One way to do that is to add science as well as history—we were also advised that if we are going to add disciples, to add the word 'children.'" Grant funding is easier to achieve if children are among the beneficiaries, she said.
If you were standing near the front of the pool for the Detroit Mountain pond skim Saturday, you needed to be ready to get splashed, or even drenched, depending on how spectacular the wipeout.
Good news for highway construction efforts in Minnesota: The Legislature has approved emergency funds to fill up its empty wetland bank. Minnesota law requires wetlands destroyed in road construction projects to be replaced elsewhere. This is accomplished through a "wetland bank" or wetlands that have been restored or purchased to serve as replacement acreage when needed. Becker County is rich in banked wetland credits, having about 27 acres.
After a rough start, the Perham Resource Recovery Facility, once known as the Perham incinerator, is getting onto solid financial ground. Last April, Becker County had to kick in an unexpected, unbudgeted $200,000, it's share of an incinerator bond payment that the joint powers facility was too broke to make on its own. The "dirty mixed-waste processing facility" takes in truckloads of raw garbage from Becker, Otter Tail, Clay, Todd and Wadena counties and runs it through a system of conveyor belts and centrifugal force cylinders.
Health insurance looks to get a lot more expensive in this part of the state— especially if you're older and lower income—under a U.S. House bill that would repeal and replace Obamacare. On average, those in Becker County who qualify for subsidies would see a 27 percent drop by 2020—from an average of $4,100 under the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) to an average of $3,000 under the House plan.