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It's nice to be popular. Becker County's new jail bonds may be so popular on the bond market that the county can expect to receive a $200,000 premium for issuing them. Becker County is building a new maximum-security jail on Highway 59 North, near Seaberg Power Sports, and has decided to pay for its new $18 million-plus project through two different bond issuances—one for $10 million now and one for the rest later.
The Kent Freeman Arena was a popular place Saturday morning, with excitement in the air as young bicyclists lined up to get free helmets, get their bicycles adjusted, and steer their bikes through the stations of the annual Bike Rodeo in Detroit Lakes. "We've got about 30 volunteers here," said Jeff Staley, general manager of Detroit Mountain Recreation Area. About 80 kids were expected to pass through the doors during the two-hour event, each accompanied by one or two parents, so it added up to a pretty good sized crowd.
Seems like it's never easy, but the Becker County Board voted 4-1 to approve the construction phase of the runway expansion project at the Detroit Lakes-Becker County Airport on Tuesday. The design phase was approved by a 3-2 vote in August. Commissioners Barry Nelson and Larry Knutson voted against it then, but both supported it this time around.
The former Hartman Hide and Fur warehouse building behind the Arvig office in Detroit Lakes has sold, and the new owner is open to ideas about what to do with it. "We're still trying to assess the opportunities we have with that property and what it's going to take to use the property for some commercial use," said John Hamilton, co-owner of Hamilton Enterprises East, LLC, which bought the building for $60,000. "We're sort of open to suggestions and ideas ... we're looking forward to using input from the community. It's a community building, it's been in the community for years."
It's not easy being a manufacturer these days, with President Trump vowing to eliminate or renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement, and House Speaker Paul Ryan pushing for a Border Adjustment Tax on imports. In a nutshell, NAFTA eases trade barriers among the United States, Canada and Mexico. The Border Adjustment Tax, common in other countries, but new to the United States, would stop companies from deducting the cost of imports from their revenue, which now enables them to lower their overall tax burden.
With the nighttime temperatures dipping below freezing this week, area gardeners may want to consider protecting the perennials that are starting to shoot up, said Linda Perrine, Master Gardener program coordinator. That means leaving winter mulch and dead leaves in place to protect outdoor plants for a few more weeks, or even putting that mulch back if you already removed it, she said. It's all part of the spring balancing act: Remove the mulch too soon and risk frost damage to the plants; leave the mulch too long and risk problems with mold.
DFL Sen. Kent Eken of Twin Valley has done his part to help the residents of Detroit Lakes pay for an expensive new wastewater treatment plant, with some help from his Republican colleague Sen. Bill Ingebrigtsen of Alexandria. Together, the two helped pass legislation in the Senate raising the state grant cap to $17 million from $7 million, specifically for Detroit Lakes. Funding still needs to be approved by the House.
In a move that would impact Detroit Lakes and other small Minnesota cities, U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), has introduced bipartisan legislation to boost the number of doctors able to work in rural areas. The Conrad State 30 & Physician Access Act would allow more international doctors to remain in the U.S. after completing their residency, under the condition that they practice in underserved areas, such as rural communities.
Veterans will have the chance to receive some free services, including free legal advice, at an April 26 Stand Down from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Kent Freeman Arena at the Becker County Fairgrounds. Services will include free meals, help with VA benefits, free clothing (military surplus for homeless veterans), help with housing and public benefits, information from the state DMV, chaplaincy aid, and employment assistance, said Lauri Brooke, veterans service officer for Becker County. "We've budgeted $1,000 for it," she told the Becker County Board on Tuesday.
It would be almost comical if it weren't so tragic for all involved: Since 2008, Level 3 sex offender Robert Thomas Baca has bounced around a half dozen times between prison and supervised release in Detroit Lakes. He made it to California once, Montana once, Pelican Rapids once, and most recently to the Brandy Lake area. Now he is heading back to prison again, after his latest abortive attempt to flee the area.