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Becker County commissioners on Tuesday voted to offer the county administrator position to Tom Mortenson of Detroit Lakes, who has risen to high levels in business, government and the military. The vote was unanimous, although several commissioners praised the quality of all three finalists for the job. The offer to Mortenson is contingent on a successful background check and on reaching a salary agreement, said Acting County Administrator Nancy Grabanski. Mortenson informally accepted the job at an open house at the courthouse Tuesday in honor of outgoing commissioners Harry Salminen an
The Becker County Food Pantry is a bustling place this time of year: On Tuesday, customers wheeled grocery carts with boxes of food out one door while a boisterous group of young Frazee-Vergas students brought in boxes of food through another door. They were unloading the luggage compartment of an Anderson bus, the bounty from their school food drive, which brought in about a ton of foodstuffs for the food pantry. Meanwhile, several members of the Detroit Lakes Eagles Club waited for their chance to make a $3,500 donation. The upshot of all the activity is that the food pantry is in good
If you've driven past the Detroit Lakes city beach lately, you've probably noticed a village of fish houses on Little Detroit Lake -- including a large pull-behind camper parked out on the ice. When it comes to what kind of shelter you drag out on the ice for fishing, pretty much anything goes. "Common sense" dictates what kind of shelter people bring out on the lake ice, said Becker County Sheriff Tim Gordon.
Flooding lakes in Otter Tail County continue to plague the Buffalo-Red River Watershed District. On Lake Alfred, located about halfway between Pelican Rapids and Barnesville in Norwegian Grove Township, water is already in one building and is threatening another.
Hoping to save some travel time and expenses, Becker County will start sending some autopsy work to Anoka County, and is streamlining the way it handles bodies under its care. Becker County has long used the Ramsey County Medical Examiner's Office for autopsy work, but Anoka County's program, while newer, also has a good reputation, said Becker County Sheriff Tim Gordon. Anoka County is closer than Ramsey County, so the switch could save three or four hours of metro-area drive time for local funeral homes, which transport the bodies, Gordon said. "Anoka County may agree to serve Becker C
Becker County commissioners interviewed three finalists for the county administrator's position on Thursday. One of them will replace Brian Berg, who left in July to take the top administrative job with Clay County. In addition to the five sitting commissioners -- Larry Knutson, Gerry Schram, Barry Nelson, John Bellefeuille and Harry Salminen -- the two newly elected commissioners also sat in on the interviewing process. Don Skarie and John Okeson will replace Bellefeuille and Salminen next month. Also on the interviewing panel were Acting Administrator Nancy Grabanski and County Attor
Becker County commissioners were praised at a public hearing Tuesday evening for keeping the 2011 tax levy hike to a relatively small 3.14 percent. Several farmers at the meeting -- while unhappy about a steep increase in their land value -- told commissioners they had done a good job with the county budget. "We know times are tough and we're not going to contribute to the stress that's out there," said County Auditor-Treasurer Ryan Tangen. The levy hike, along with taxes from new construction, will bring in an additional $549,000 next year. The county's total tax levy will increase fr
Detroit Lakes water treatment facilities should be in good shape for the next 20-25 years, following an extensive rehabilitation project now being wrapped up on the city's water treatment plant. The city received a $2.1 million low-interest loan to expand and upgrade its water treatment plant last year, and the work is now essentially done. The final cost is expected to be under $2.2 million, which includes about $1.8 million for construction and $364,000 for engineering. Final payments to the contractor are being made, except for $5,000 contingent on final clean-up and corrections. "A
City workers took advantage of a chilly day Tuesday to start flooding the relocated Lincoln Rink ice skating park. The rink, with two hockey pens, a scenic skating area and a new warming house, is now located at Peoples Park, near the Becker County Fairgrounds. "We're aiming for Dec. 20 -- to open that week," said Brad Green, public works director for Detroit Lakes. "We blew the snow off it yesterday to let the ground freeze hard," Green said Tuesday.
Detroit Lakes residents may as well get used to clearing snow off their front sidewalks. For years, the city's public works department sent a man around in a Bobcat to clear residential and business sidewalks. That policy has not changed, even though Bobcat appearances have been rare so far this winter. City workers will still clear sidewalks when they have time, but because of staff cutbacks, the more it snows, the less time they'll have for sidewalks. "The sidewalks we have done (in the past) are just a service we have been able to do -- home and business owners have always been resp