Paula Quam is the editor for Forum Communications Co. newspapers in Detroit Lakes, Perham and Wadena, all in Minnesota.
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An important part of any organization’s staying power is its willingness to embrace change. Nowhere is this more evident than at the Detroit Lakes Campus of M State, also known as Minnesota State Community & Technical College in Detroit Lakes. Since the school began its operations 53 years ago, it’s been creating and redesigning programs that teach students the skills and knowledge employers want. MSCTC serves about 9,200 students annually on campuses in Detroit Lakes, Fergus Falls, Moorhead and Wadena and through online coursework.
Schools, often called the “heart of the community”, are certainly that in Becker County. And while they all strive for excellence in educational opportunities, they also all have their own special ways of shining. Detroit Lakes The Detroit Lakes Public School District is a conglomerate of five schools — Roosevelt Elementary, Rossman Elementary, the Middle School, the High School and the Lincoln Education Center. (Private Catholic school, Holy Rosary, also sits in the heart of downtown Detroit Lakes.)
It’s full-steam ahead for The Depot, as the refurbished BNSF train depot located along Highway 10 in Detroit Lakes continues to grow in services and popularity. Whether you need a connection to county or tribal bus systems, Amtrak or the Shooting Star Casino, The Depot is the place to stop. Built in 1908, the Northern Pacific depot was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1988. Over the years it has been used for a variety of businesses and headquarters, but none have upgraded the building like the White Earth Tribe and its Shooting Star Casino.
There will soon be the smell of cotton candy and the roar of tigers in the air, as the Shrine Circus is just around the corner. Thursday, April 11, will be the day kids from around the region will pack the Kent Freeman Sports Arena for three shows — 10 a.m., 12:30 p.m. and 6:30 p.m. “They’ve added some acts this year,” said Detroit Lakes Shriner Steve Larson. “They’ve got a miniature pony act that promises to be a lot of fun for the kids, a trained dog act, and of course, the Bengal tigers, which everybody always love.”
Walking around the various buildings that make up the Detroit Lakes Public Schools, Ben Weekly can’t help but see a little bit of himself all over. “It’s a bit of a storybook for me because I can see my fingerprints all over them,” said Weekly, “whether it’s new tile or painting of the gymnasium … it’s all very meaningful to me.” Weekly, who is the supervisor of operations and transportation director for the school district, takes care of the school facilities, but is now hanging up his hat after 29 years.
The Friends of the Detroit Lakes Wetland Management District are hoping to soon be able to put the final touches to their Hamden Slough classroom. The group is throwing its fourth annual “Back to the Wetlands” fundraiser on Friday, April 12, at the Speak Easy. The money raised from the event will be used to finish up the newly constructed classroom that sits out at the Hamden Slough.
Bean bags, beer and beach bums — say that five times fast … or just say it once while buying tickets for the Detroit Lakes Jaycee’s spring fundraiser on Saturday, April 6. For the second year, Bean Bags, Beer and Beach Bums will take over the ballroom of the Holmes Theater, an idea that started last year as a way to pay for the Jaycees’ Trolley makeover.
50-year-old Sharon Schmitt of Audubon has lived in the Lake Park area her whole life. “Born and raised here,” she said with a cheery tone. Married to her husband, Craig, the mother of two is also now a proud grandmother. “I’m all about family … family and friends —those are my things,” she said. In fact, a CNA at Sunnyside Nursing Home, Schmitt is known around the community for her big heart and caring soul, as she has helped put together over 20 fundraisers over the years for community members, chairing some of them.
Donations to the Becker County food pantry are rolling in this month, but are they rolling in fast enough? “As of Saturday we’re sitting at around 50 percent of our goal,” said Jack Berenz, pantry director, who admits that’s a number that kind of worries him, given the fact that March is coming to a close. But Berenz says he does expect the next few days to be busy ones, as some organizations wait until the very end of the month to bring in their collections.
It’s time to get groovy, baby. The annual banquet fundraiser for the Lakes Crisis and Resource Center is taking on a “sick” twist this year, as the 60s and 70s are making a comeback for the event. Themed “Family Power,” organizers of the fundraiser (which include the facility’s fundraising committee, its board and its staff), chose this theme with strength in mind.