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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"The Western Front, Christmas, 1914. Out of the violence, a silence, then a song. A German soldier steps into No Man's Land singing 'Stille Nacht' ('Silent Night'). Thus begins an extraordinary night of camaraderie, music, and peace."
"Four calling birds, three French hens, two turtle doves..." Yes, the 12 days of Christmas are almost upon us — which means that area bird watchers are already gearing up for their annual bird count. Every year since 1900, the National Audubon Society has mobilized thousands of volunteers across the Western Hemisphere for its Christmas Bird Count — and this year is no exception. The Detroit Lakes area count is set for this coming Tuesday, Dec. 19, while Tamarac National Wildlife Refuge has organized a separate bird count for Wednesday, Jan. 3.
Are you looking to bring home a new kitten, puppy, cat or dog for the holidays this year? Then this Saturday, Dec. 16 is the day to do it. During their regular hours of 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday, the Humane Society of the Lakes will be offering cat and dog adoptions for qualified adopters — free of charge!
For the past several weeks, Detroit Lakes High School students and faculty who stay late on weekday afternoons may have noticed some pipers piping, ladies dancing, lords a-leaping, and possibly even some drummers drumming... yet the school's music department isn't preparing for a dramatic re-interpretation of "The Twelve Days of Christmas," but rather, the biennial DLHS holiday tradition known as the Renaissance Madrigal Dinners.
Free sleigh rides every Saturday afternoon during the holiday season have been a tradition at the Washington Square Mall dating back well over a decade, bringing Christmas cheer and smiles to the faces of hundreds of children and their families each year. No injuries have been incurred by either horse or human participants — a statistic that still stands, thanks to what sleigh driver Charlie Gross is calling "a Christmas miracle at the mall."
When the Lakes Area Parrot Heads make their rounds at the local hospital and nursing homes every Christmas morning — with Santa and Mrs. Claus in tow — they're greeted with lots of excitement and smiles. That's because the patients and residents at Essentia Health-St. Mary's, Oak Crossing and Ecumen Detroit Lakes know they're about to receive a very special gift: A fluffy teddy bear to call their own.
Since it began 15 years ago, the pre-Christmas "Candles & Carols" service at Detroit Lakes' Trinity Lutheran Church has become a popular holiday tradition. The church at 1401 Madison Ave. will once again open its doors to the community this coming Sunday, Dec. 17 at 4:30 p.m. for the 15th annual Candles & Carols celebration — to be followed by a homemade turkey dinner in the church fellowship hall.
Children's literacy is a big part of the mission of the Detroit Lakes Breakfast Rotary, so with the holidays approaching, about a half dozen of its members began working on a service project "to get Christmas books into the hands of as many children as possible," according to Rotarian Kathy Dretsch.
It's been 12 years since the Canadian Pacific Holiday Train first began making Detroit Lakes one of its annual stops, and each year, it has helped to keep the shelves of the Becker County Food Pantry filled with enough food to ensure that local families in need won't go hungry through the holiday season.
It's been about 18 years since the Kiwanis Club of Detroit Lakes and KRCQ Radio first began teaming up to brighten up the Christmas season for families experiencing tough times, by starting up a "Holiday Wish" program. "It started in 1999," says Kiwanis Club member Carrie Johnston, who is also a member of the Holiday Wish Committee. "Each year, more than 20 families receive donations through our program."