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Sixty acres of Minnesota land -- about the size of the Mall of America -- gets paved over per day. "We're consuming land faster than we're growing," said Philip Hunsicker, lakes region program director for 1000 Friends of Minnesota. 1000 Friends of Minnesota is a non-profit organization that promotes development that creates healthy communities while conserving natural areas, family farms, woodlands and water.
The birth of Christ is coming to life this season. Grace Community Church of Osage is performing a live nativity scene Friday from 5 to 7 p.m. outside the church. Faith Lutheran Church and Faith Christian School, Detroit Lakes, is also performing a live nativity Dec. 19-20 from 6 to 8 p.m. To get there from Detroit Lakes, go south on Highway 59 for 11 miles, then right on County Road 31.
Tuesday evening was filled with apologies. On the agenda for the Detroit Lakes City Council was the second reading and adoption of an ordinance rezoning the TS Recreational land, located along Highway 10 East, from one and two family residential to auto oriented business. City hall was filled with East Shore Drive and area residents upset about the rezone and the alleged salvage yard TS Recreational's land has become. To audience surprise, the rezoning of the area had become a moot point by that evening.
Amtrak is partnering with communities to help revitalize passenger train stations. Many depots are becoming older and older, and in return falling more and more into disrepair. Detroit Lakes' is no exception. It's the first thing people see when stepping off the train and into the city, and the welcoming station maybe isn't leaving the best impression. Amtrak public relations director Marc Magliari said, "I think there is certainly a need for stuff to be done in Detroit Lakes." The current train depot was built in 1908, but a couple buildings came before it.
Hopefully by this time next year, West River Apartments will be housing the homeless. Mahube Community Council and the Becker County Economic Development Authority are partnering to build a 12-unit permanent, townhouse-style housing for the homeless. "It will be for long-term homeless families with minor children," said Skip Carpenter, a development consultant of Cornerstone Development Services hired to write the grant.
Last year, Inez Olson got a parade for her birthday. This year she's not sure if there is anything planned, but it's another major milestone. She's 101 today (Sunday). Olson, a resident at Emmanuel Nursing Home, grew up in Lake Park and taught biology there for many years. While her only immediate relative is a niece in Colorado, she has made friends with others here. Kathy Turcotte met Olson when Turcotte helped Olson to a dentist appointment.
The region's first Kids Café is opening this month in the Boys and Girls Club of Detroit Lakes. A grand opening celebration is scheduled for Dec. 7. After applying for a grant from ConAgra Foods for several years and being turned down because of low numbers at the club, Director Pat Petermann said they decided to try applying again. "Our numbers weren't high. We weren't feeding many kids in the evening," he said.
Jan Lang of Missouri began the Marine Comfort Quilt Club when 18 members of her son's Marine unit were killed in Iraq. Since then, she has sewn about 1,000 quilts for military families who have lost a soldier in battle. One of those families is the Linden family of Detroit Lakes, whose son, Troy, was killed this summer in Iraq when a roadside bomb exploded near his Humvee. "The quilt squares are from all over the country," MerryLee Linden said.
A dry fire hydrant. Sounds a bit like an oxymoron. Or a useless hydrant anyway. Audubon Fire Department installed three dry hydrants, the first in the area. "It's a fairly new practice," said Dean Schmidt, WesMin Resource Conservation and Development coordinator. A dry hydrant consists of PVC pipes running from a lake to a hydrant where fire departments can hook up to drain water from the lake during fires. The pipes are trenched eight to 10 feet deep, about four to five feet below the water level.
Frazee's Festival of Trees is adding another weekend this year, the 11th year of the event. The event is Nov. 24-26 from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.; Dec. 1 from 4 to 8 p.m., and Dec. 2-3 from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. in the Frazee Event Center. "Last year, the Sunday after Thanksgiving, it was so icy no one could come get their trees," Jay Estenson said. Estenson serves as co-chair of the festival along with Diane Mistelske and Ruth Ewanika. The group was able to keep the decorated trees up for the following weekend and had a great turnout of people.