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We see the letter "e" everywhere -- e-mail, e- commerce, e-cards, egads! And just like everything else "e," e-cigarettes are also growing in popularity. "They just keep rolling and rolling," said Pam Do, manager of The Tobacco Shop in Detroit Lakes, who says since they started stocking the product two years ago, sales for the e-cigs have gone up by more than 30 percent.
The Detroit Lakes School District could be forced to say goodbye to over half a million dollars in continued revenue. Or not. On Tuesday Gov. Mark Dayton will roll out his budget proposal, and local educators will be anxiously waiting to hear whether he adopts a plan to get rid of something called "extended time revenue," which are the funds allocated to larger schools like Detroit Lakes for after-school academic programs such as Targeted Services for children that need extra help.
If you can't beat the weather, join it. That's what nature experts at the Tamarac National Wildlife Refuge are saying as they're offering up several free winter activities, and they have it all down to a science. Snowshoe Science Strap on your snowshoes (or the ones available for loan at Tamarac) and head out into the woods for a scientific adventure. "We'll have a master naturalist who knows a lot about the area and wildlife heading that up," said Janice Bengtson of Tamarac.
Little 19-month-old Ryan Larsen thinks he's a funny man. "He is funny," said his mom, Nikki, "he's like a class clown goofball ... he makes us laugh." He makes himself laugh, too, as he tots around exploring the rural Detroit Lakes home that he clearly owns.
Detroit Lakes Schools saw a bump back in its enrollment growth last month. Calling it "a little bit of a disappointment", Superintendent Doug Froke reported to the school board Monday night that in December alone, 26 students dropped off its roster. The sharp drop came almost entirely from the elementary schools, with the exception of one from the high school. "Roosevelt had lost 17, and then 15 ... that's the largest drop in an elementary school in my 20 years here," said Education Director Lowell Niklaus, who says Roosevelt is getting some of those back this month.
There's no place like home -- that's why those in and around the Emmanuel properties in Detroit Lakes are teaming up to make sure their residents feel at home. The 21st annual Emmanuel Foundation Charity Benefit is set to kick off Friday, Jan. 25, at the Holiday Inn, and this year, it's to raise money for the purchase of additional large beds for residents at the nursing home and the Short-Stay Rehabilitation Center. "This is something we've been working on for the past three years," said Sandy Lia, who is coordinating the event.
Local contractors have certainly been putting the hammer down this year. "It's been a very good, busy year," said Detroit Lakes Building Official Dave Neisen, as the 2012 annual building report has been released. According to the report, there were 33 new homes built in the city this year -- an increase from 20 new residential in 2011. Although new home construction has been scattered throughout the city, both the south side of Detroit Lakes and the Long Lake area saw the most activity.
Getting a little stir crazy all cooped up indoors? Folks at the Itasca State Park are hosting several outdoor events that are free and open to the public. I Can Ice Fish! I Can Ice Fish! is a program that Itasca officials have been putting on for a couple of months now. "It's introducing beginners to ice fishing," explained Connie Cox, lead interpretive naturalist for Itasca.
Tapping into images of local history will soon be a click away. The Becker County Historical Society recently received two new grants that are expected to help make local history more accessible to its residents. The Minnesota Clean Land, Water and Legacy Amendment awarded the museum with two grants: one to help fund the digitization of its historical photos and one to fund an upcoming traveling exhibit. The photographs If a picture is worth a thousand words, then the online community is about to inherit a wealth of words. The $6,845 grant will pay for both the software and equipment
The winter wonderland that is now the Detroit Lakes area is open for business -- an idea that can be heard outside with the rumble of the snowmobiles and the grumble of the ice augers. But local authorities warn winter fun should be accompanied by extreme caution right now. "There are a lot of lakes where there is still open water where it just hasn't frozen over yet," said Becker County Chief Deputy John Sieling, who says the biggest misconception is that people think just because they see vehicle tracks going across a lake, it must be safe.