Staff writer at Detroit Lakes Newspapers for the past 15 years, currently editor of the entertainment and community pages as well as obituaries. Living in DL with my cat, Smokey.
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As any church council member could tell you, finding and recruiting ministers to serve congregations in small rural towns has become an increasingly difficult task through the years. But the congregation at St. Luke's Episcopal Church in Detroit Lakes has found a unique way to get around that problem -- by recruiting members of its own congregation, through a program known as Total Ministry. This Saturday, seven members of the St. Luke's congregation will be formally ordained and commissioned to serve as its ministry team.
Though it was a short meeting of the Becker County Board on Tuesday, the commissioners did have at least one major task to take care of: certifying the preliminary 2009, payable 2008 property tax levy. County taxpayers will be asked to pay a maximum of $17,263,004 next year -- an increase of 4.58 percent over the previous year's levy.
When the Minnesota Agricultural Property Tax (aka "Green Acres") Law was first adopted in 1967, it allowed rural landowners the option of having their property assessed for taxes based on its value as agricultural land. "Back in the late '60s, when the metropolitan area was expanding, the land values were going up on farmland (based on its development potential), increasing the tax burden on farmers," explained Becker County Assessor Steve Skoog.
The signs are everywhere -- from a new Student Life Center and adjacent bookstore (called The Book Mark) to expanded online course offerings and the unveiling of its Business & Entrepreneurial Services program. Over the past couple of years, the Detroit Lakes campus of Minnesota State Community & Technical College (MSCTC) has been undergoing an evolution -- and it's beginning to pay big dividends this fall. Enrollment at the college for the fall 2008 semester is up by more than 200 students -- 203, to be exact -- from this time last year, according to Dale Westley, enrollment manager and m
Want to have a say in who your political party puts on the ballot for the Nov. 4 general elections? Then Tuesday is the time to stand up and say so. Primary elections to determine who will be on the ballot for four federal and state offices will take place this Tuesday, Sept. 9, at locations throughout Becker County. The U.S. Senate seat currently held by Republican Norm Coleman is also being sought by fellow Republican Jack Shephard of St. Paul.
With just one week to go before the filing period closes on Sept. 9, there are some interesting races developing for area school board and city council elections in November -- but there are also some races that are a big question mark. As of Tuesday morning, no one had filed for the Callaway City Council positions held by Emily Annette or Ken Blattenbauer, nor the mayor's position held by Gretchen Stalboerger.
This Monday, Sept. 1, while most of the lakes area is enjoying Labor Day festivities, Rev. Paul Anderson of Perham will be boarding an airplane in Fargo, bound for North Carolina. When he arrives, he will be taken to the Marine Corps base at Camp Lejeune, near Jacksonville, for five days of processing and paperwork -- the first step in his eventual deployment to Iraq. Anderson, who enlisted with the U.S. Navy reserves in 1993, has spent much of that time working as a chaplain for the Marine Corps.
On Wednesday, Sept.
The lakes area's Zorbaz Mexican restaurants will host the first-ever "Leather & Leavez Motorcycle Rally" on Saturday, Sept. 20. Proceeds from the event will support children's programming at the Detroit Lakes Community & Cultural Center, including the center's after school program, youth basketball, youth football, Sunfish swim team, art outreach to area schools, children's theater shows and more. "The idea was to have a 'farewell to summer' ride," said Becky Mitchell, coordinator for the event.
Ten months ago, in November 2007, the Becker-Clay County Drug Court program began as a pilot project. After getting a $120,000 grant from the State of Minnesota -- the last drug court program in the state to receive such funding -- plus another $30,000 contribution from the two counties, it was off to a running start. On Tuesday, District Court Judge Lisa Borgen and Drug Court Coordinator Don Kautzmann appeared before the Becker County Board to give an update on the program's progress, and request funding for another year. "It's very uplifting," said Borgen, adding that it's "my favorite