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Michael Achterling

Multimedia News Lead

Multimedia Lead Reporter for the Detroit Lakes Tribune and the Perham Focus.

Michael graduated in 2020 with a Bachelor's Degree in professional journalism from the University of Minnesota - Twin Cities. During his time at the UMN, Michael covered state legislature for the Minnesota Daily and interned at the St. Paul Pioneer Press.

He is also a veteran of the U.S. Navy where he served, from 2011 to 2015, as a Mass Communication Specialist in Boston, Mass., aboard the U.S.S. Constitution, and in Sasebo, Japan, assigned to the U.S.S. Bonhomme Richard (LHD 6).

Michael is originally from Apple Valley, Minnesota and is a proud graduate of the School of Environmental Studies, and Eastview High School.

When not in the newsroom, Michael enjoys spending time his dog: Pepper. He is also an avid video gamer, baseball purist, entertainment sponge, who also dabbles in table-top games.

Email story ideas to Michael at machterling@dlnewspapers.com and follow on Twitter @machterling.

Recent stories by Michael Achterling
Rope swings, monkey bars and climbing walls -- the last days of school for Detroit Lakes elementary students were filled with smiles and a much deserved promise of summer vacation after completing their first, full year of in-person classes since 2019.
After 22 years as a state legislator, Rep. Paul Marquart is not seeking reelection. During departing remarks made on the floor of the Minnesota House of Representatives in St. Paul on May 23, he reflected on his early days in the legislature and thanked his colleagues, staff and loved ones for their years of support.
Compassion House of Detroit Lakes, which offers addiction treatment services, is looking to expand its facility by 2,200-square feet and consolidate with Daystar Recovery Center.
Members of the airport commission are seeking federal and state grants to assist with plans for a refurbished parking lot and fueling system replacement at the Detroit Lakes-Becker County Airport.
The times have changed. The machinery has changed. The reporters have changed. But one thing that has held true over the 150-year history of the Detroit Lakes newspaper are the stories that tie a community together. Here are a few highlights from stories-past to show how far we've come.
Due to the rising cost of the West Lake Drive Phase Two street and utility project, between County Road 6 and the Pelican River, and significantly higher than estimated assessments to property owners, a second special assessment public hearing has been scheduled for the project on June 7 at 5 p.m. at City Hall in Detroit Lakes.
Permit parking is already in effect near Detroit Lakes High School, along Oak Street near Essentia Health-Lincoln Park, and on Summit Avenue near Zorbaz. A resolution approved by the city council at its May 10 meeting "reestablishes" those restrictions. Also at that meeting, the council amended an ordinance to allow for ice cream truck operations, and matched Becker County's recent $250,000 contribution to the new Becker County Food Pantry.
With 254 volunteer slots available for the 2022 Northwest Water Carnival in Detroit Lakes, scheduled to kick-off on July 8, the Detroit Lakes Jaycees pushed event signups as well as seeking new members during their most recent meeting at Lakeside Tavern and Brewery.
More than 50 attendees in their 'derby' finest gathered at the Holiday Inn Lakefront in Detroit Lakes on May 7 for the Bonnets and Bowties fundraiser hosted by the Marshmallow Animal Shelter.
A $3.4 million bid from Hough Inc. of Detroit Lakes was accepted May 3 by the Becker County Board for the West Lake Drive - Phase Two street and utility improvement project, from County Road 6 to the Pelican River. The total cost of the project now sits at $4.2 million, 50% more than the city's preliminary estimated cost, $2.8 million, in the fall of 2021.
From rehabbing an injury to yoga and off-season training, True Sports Performance in Detroit Lakes showcased a wide range of training options during its open house on April 30.
On April 28, after 33 years, Kim Erickson, a server at the Main Street Restaurant in Detroit Lakes, tabled her last meal, served her last coffee cup and finished her last shift as a morning-meal-highlight at the famous Washington Avenue breakfast stop.
Property owner Karen Skoyles told the Detroit Lakes Board of Appeals and Equalization this week that her family's 6.4 acre property on Ox Cart Trail shouldn't have more than doubled in value when no major additions were made to the property or surrounding area.
More than 60 businesses gathered at the Kent Freeman Arena in Detroit Lakes on Wednesday, April 27 in an attempt to lure new employees at the Lakes Area Job Fair, hosted by the Rural Minnesota Concentrated Employment Program.
The Fighting Alliance Championship 14 is bringing a worldwide television audience, UFC Fight Pass, to the Kent Freeman Arena in Detroit Lakes for a night of ultimate fighting on May 20. Doors for the event open at 5:30 p.m. The preliminary fights start at 6:30 with the UFC Fight Pass main event broadcast beginning at 9 p.m.
More than 400 acres of farm land, homesteads and outbuildings in Frazee, Minnesota will be auctioned off live on May 4 beginning at 10 a.m. during an event hosted by Bachmann Auctioneers of Perham. The total 2022 assessed value of the six land parcels is $1,391,800.
After nearly 100 years of family ownership, the Sprafkas are preparing to move out of their historic Detroit Lakes home, designed by renowned Polish architect Victor Cordella and completed in 1924.
The Detroit Lakes Housing and Redevelopment Authority is looking for more applicants for its rental assistance program. The housing director said qualifying applicants would limit the amount of rent they would pay to 30% of their income with the authority picking up the rest of the cost.
Five major Detroit Lakes roadways are primed for extended closures during the 2022 road construction season. Portions of Willow Street, Frazee, Street, West Lake Drive, Holmes Street and Highland Drive are all expected to be closed at some point.
Detroit Lakes welcomed a new police officer to the force after an official swearing-in ceremony was held during the most recent city council meeting on April 12. Also, the city's assessment Board of Review will convene on April 26 at 9:30 a.m. for residents to raise objections over their recent property assessments.
It's likely that under any one of the new plans, all five county commissioners will need to run for reelection this November.
As part of an effort to give back to those who provide daily meals for seniors, the local Council on Aging donated $700 for gas cards to Nutritional Services Inc., coordinators for the Detroit Lakes Meals on Wheels program.
The Detroit Lakes Development Authority took no action at its April 5 meeting on the proposed redevelopment north of Highway 10, east of Washington Avenue. The authority made an unsuccessful offer to purchase the Goodin Company property on Davis Avenue, and was also unsuccessful in its request for a Right of First Refusal agreement with Becker County for the highway department complex in that area.
The Eagles Club Aerie 2342 in Detroit Lakes held its annual Stag and Doe fundraiser on April 2. Patrons were able to participate in gun and meat raffles and enjoy a roast beef dinner; proceeds supported the clubs charitable donations program.
New businesses and small business resources were highlighted during the 2022 Economic Development Summit, hosted by the Detroit Lakes Regional Chamber of Commerce on April 1.
After playing a video message from U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar, her staff conducted a workforce listening session with Detroit Lakes area community leaders at M State on Wednesday, March 30.
After a two-year hiatus due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the El Zagal Shrine Circus returned to the Kent Freeman Arena in Detroit Lakes on Thursday, March 31. The circus hosted three performances in Detroit Lakes.
All property types across Otter Tail County will see their estimated market values rise between 15-30%, according to an Otter Tail County Assessor's Office report. The county's chief deputy assessor said their new valuations are based on sales from the previous year and are entirely dependent on market forces.
Exclusive
Minnesota gubernatorial candidate Cory Hepola laid out his three major campaign 'pillars' in a speech to the Perham Noon Rotary on Thursday, March 24. He also addressed how his campaign plans to inspire voters by focusing on commonalities instead of differences.
Potential renovators, building contractors and various nonprofits came together at the Kent Freeman Arena in Detroit Lakes on Saturday, March 19 for the 2022 Home and Sport Show, hosted by the Lakes Region Builders Association.

Sen. Kent Eken, DFL-Audubon, Rep. Heather Keeler, DFL-Moorhead, and Rep. Paul Marquart, DFL-Dilworth, held a virtual town hall for constituents of state senate district 4 on March 15, which encompasses areas of Becker, Clay and Norman Counties. During the meeting, the legislators discussed how to spend the state's $9.25 billion surplus, inflation challenges, and how to find common ground within the democratic process.
The new ladder truck purchased last year for the Detroit Lakes fire department is out for repairs after accidentally striking a building in early February. The collision caused minor damage to the rear-end of the truck and, due to the specialized nature of the vehicle and availability of replacement parts, needed to be sent to the Twin Cities for the repairs, the Detroit Lakes fire chief said. Adding, he expects the truck to be back in town and in service within a couple weeks.
After Detroit Lakes City Council members approved the first reading the city's new ward boundaries on March 8, the new wards are expected to be adopted at special city council meeting before a state mandated deadline on March 29. Once final approval is granted, the new wards will become the city's new district boundaries until 2032.
Detroit Mountain secured a $200,000 commitment from the City of Detroit Lakes, to match funds for a legacy grant from the Greater Minnesota Regional Parks and Trails Commission to expand their mountain bike and Nordic ski trails, during a regular meeting of the Detroit Lakes City Council on March 8.
The design of the new $9.4 million public works building for the city of Detroit Lakes was unveiled during a city council meeting on March 8. The building will be located next to the new Becker County Highway Department building in the North Tower Road industrial park.
City Council members are expected to pass, and adopt, a revised parking ordinance for Detroit Lakes during their regular meeting on March 8. The new ordinance will give the Detroit Lakes City Council the power to pass by resolution restricted, or permitted, parking on designated streets.
In a Wednesday post on the group's Facebook page, the Frazee-Vergas VFW Post 7702 announced that it is closing down until further notice. Meetings for VFW and AMVETS members will still take place as scheduled, but the bar and club side of the business will cease operations until a new business plan for the bar can be established.
The ice palace in Detroit Lakes was demolished by heavy equipment on March 1 following the conclusion of Polar Fest 2022, which ran from Feb. 11 to Feb. 27.
Bucks Mill Brewery, new to Detroit Lakes, and other homebrewers gathered for the Polar Fest 2022 Home Brew Tasting event at Washington Square Mall on Feb. 24.
The 2022 Polaritaville fundraiser, hosted by the Lakes Area Parrot Heads at Shorewood Pub in Detroit Lakes, raised more than $7,600 for the Lakes Area Imagination Library on Feb. 25.