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A man who was struck and killed by a train Sunday was born and raised in Detroit Lakes, loved spending time with his 8-year-old son, and had been looking forward to foraging for wild mushrooms with his brother. Joseph Merten Mackner, 41, of Detroit Lakes was reportedly walking southbound on the Canadian Pacific Railway tracks about a mile north of Detroit Lakes when he was struck by a southbound train just after 5:30 p.m. Sunday. Mackner was pronounced dead at the scene, and the incident remains under investigation.
Becker County will soon have a new building to process recyclables, replacing an older, smaller building at the transfer station north of town on Highway 59. Bristlin Construction Inc., of Detroit Lakes was the lowest of nine bidders on the project at just under $1.18 million, with the building to include a heated concrete floor and liner panels for the walls and ceiling. To pay for it, the county will use about $625,000 that remains on a $2.65 million state grant that helped pay for the new transfer station.
The "Tobacco 21" push to get city councils in Detroit Lakes, Frazee and Perham to raise the tobacco-sale age to 21 is part of a nationwide effort to prevent young people from getting hooked on tobacco. Although it's been tough sledding in Minnesota (the Legislature shot it down last session and only two cities—Edina and St. Louis Park—have approved it so far) the measure has had more success elsewhere.
It's WE Fest time again, and local law enforcement and retailers are ready for the crowds. Randy Buhr, who manages Detroit Lakes municipal liquor store, Lakes Liquor, hopes for a good sales week from the thousands of country music and camping fans that flock to WE Fest, saying sales this summer have been good so far. "We had a great Fourth of July," he said. The city liquor store brought in more than $686,000 in June, a 6.4 percent ($41,000) hike over June of 2016.
As Becker County begins work on next year's budget, several major projects will be front and center—funding for the new jail and a major airport improvement project. The county will begin construction of the $20 million, 186 bed jail facility later this summer. Bonds to finance the jail project were sold at an interest rate of 2.39 percent.
Bronc riding, bull riding, steer wrestling, team roping, barrel riding—a first-ever rodeo at an outdoor arena near Detroit Lakes in August will have it all. The Double S Arena Rodeo will start at 6 p.m. on both Friday and Saturday, Aug. 18-19. The rodeo will be part of the Wojo Rodeo of Greenbush and will feature regional competitors vying to score enough points in the 15-rodeo series to move on to the finals at the Sanford Center in Bemidji.
Should Detroit Lakes follow in the footsteps of Edina and raise the legal age to buy tobacco products from 18 to 21? Should it simply change the minimum age and keep its existing ordinance, which is comparatively simple? Or should the city go further, like Edina did, and revamp its entire ordinance to include vaping and to push users 20 feet from any door or window in a public building or place of business?
In the feature story on Jody Hibma of Detroit Lakes, who is seeking photos of older police cars to build precision models, his wife's name was incorrect. Her name is Julie.
A benefit will be held from 2 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. Saturday, July 29 at the Shorewood Pub (1743 Long Bridge Road) for a Detroit Lakes woman battling cancer. Julie Stetson, 54, works at Essentia Health St. Mary's as a lab technician and lives near Fox Lake with her dogs Shep, Tegan and Blue. She was diagnosed with melanoma (skin cancer) back in March. During a follow-up scan she then learned that she had two brain tumors as well. The melanoma was removed, and shortly after, the brain tumors were also removed.
A Detroit Lakes veteran is hopeful that he may be allowed to stay in his rented home after all. Brian Fraser, 59, says he and his landlord (Laurel Carlson) have found several witnesses to help make their case that the house at 327 Elizabeth St. should be "grandfathered-in" since it was being used as a rental unit prior to a 1968 city zoning ordinance.