Staff writer at Detroit Lakes Newspapers for the past 16 years, currently editor of the entertainment and community pages as well as covering city council and the Lake Park-Audubon School Board. Living in DL with my cat, Smokey.
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"We've had a really busy year," said Detroit Lakes Chamber President Carrie Johnston at the start of Thursday night's Chamber of Commerce Celebration and Awards Banquet Indeed. Johnson explained that the Chamber's year officially ends in June, which means that since last year's banquet, the community has witnessed its first ice harvest since 1971, followed by the building and tearing down of a 32-foot-high Ice Palace on the city beach, where King Isbit reigned supreme during the community's 2018 Polar Fest celebration.
May 1 is officially known as May Day, but Detroit Lakes residents had another reason to celebrate on that date this year: It was the day that both Big and Little Detroit were officially declared ice free. "The last remnants of ice on Big Detroit vanished during the half-inch early morning rain (on Tuesday)," says longtime local resident Dick Hecock, who has been the official keeper of local "ice in" and "ice out" data for the Pelican River Watershed District for more than 30 years now.
After a solid year spent doing nothing but traveling from one country to another in search of the world's rarest and most unusual birds, a person might be forgiven for wanting to do something else with their life — but for writer, photographer and of course, avid birder Noah Strycker, the opposite proved true.
Though a new school building to address the district's space needs has not been completely ruled out, three failed bond referendums have prompted the Detroit Lakes School Board to take a "much more conservative" approach this time around, according to the architect hired by the district to lead them through the design process. "The board is trying to address these problems in ways that aren't a huge burden to taxpayers," said Brian Berg of Zerr Berg Architects, during the first of two public input meetings held last Wednesday to discuss the district's facilities needs.
Powwows are a summer tradition in Native American communities throughout Minnesota and the Dakotas. "Starting now and continuing until about October, there's a powwow going on pretty much every weekend," says Emily Buermann, programming director for the Becker County Museum in Detroit Lakes. Buermann, who is of Native American descent herself, was part of the planning committee for this week's Early Childhood Powwow, set to take place on Thursday, May 3 at the Detroit Lakes Middle School.
An artist, an accountant, a nurse, a high school student... the honorees at this year's United Way Celebration of Heroes awards banquet came from a variety of backgrounds. Yet they all have things in common as well: Community spirit, compassion, generosity. And each of them was equally surprised to be honored on Thursday night. "I'm blown away," said artist Hans Gilsdorf upon being presented with the United Way's 2018 Community Spirit Award, adding jokingly that if he'd known, he would have dressed up a little more.
A chicken and rib dinner with all the fixings, plus angel food cake for dessert: The May 5 Angel of Remembrance Dinner at Lake Park's American Legion will offer all this and more, at a cost of just $20 per person.
Though the aging looks of the Detroit Lakes Middle School's exterior facade was not the primary motivator for this summer's planned $2.2 million in upgrades to the facility, that didn't mean the DL School Board wasn't going to take advantage of the opportunity. The board reviewed three possible design configurations with lead architect Brian Berg and construction manager Steve Gehrtz at a special meeting on Monday morning, and though the vote wasn't unanimous, ultimately decided on white and blue tile for the predominant colors, with red and dark gray accents.
The weather outside may not show it yet, but spring has sprung at the Becker County Museum, which will be hosting a plethora of spring-themed events this weekend in Detroit Lakes. "We will be celebrating the Week of the Young Child (April 16-20) all week long, with some hands-on learning fun, including sensory bins, kids' activities and a scavenger hunt that families with young children can all do together," says Emily Buermann, the museum's programming director.
Did you, your older siblings, cousins, parents, grandparents or great-grandparents ever attend classes in a country schoolhouse? Do you have photos, documents or other family keepsakes from that time — or an interesting story or two that you might be willing to share? Then the staff of the Becker County Museum would like you to get in touch with them. The museum's research library director, Jenn Johnson, is gathering information, photos and stories for a commemorative book on the county's 132 rural school districts that is scheduled for publication this summer.