Marie Johnson joined the Detroit Lakes Tribune as a reporter and magazine editor in November 2017 after several years of writing and editing at the Perham Focus. She lives in Detroit Lakes with her husband, Dan, their 3-year-old son and baby daughter, and their yellow Lab.
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A big crowd showed up to cheer on the 2018 Canadian Pacific Holiday Train as it rolled into Detroit Lakes on Thursday afternoon. The train made a stop at the Holmes Street railroad crossing at 2:30 p.m. on Dec. 13, where hundreds of excited kids, parents and other local folks were gathered in anticipation, enjoying the unusually warm weather (for a mid-December day in Minnesota).
50 Years Ago
Julie Smith was wide-eyed and smiling as she walked around outside the International Convention Centre in Sydney, Australia, late last month. Proudly donning her Native American jingle dress — a bright yellow, black and gold outfit that she painstakingly crafted herself over the course of a year — she could barely hear its tinkling over the din of the crowd.
A page has been turned in the history of 126 West Main Street in Perham. The commercial building at that address, which for years was home to Bev's Book Nook, is now open for its next chapter as The Willow Bookstore. Continuing the building's tradition as a space for reading, contemplating and human connection, The Willow opened this past Saturday, Nov. 24, under the ownership of Perham native Megan Wells.
A new group of young worker bees is buzzing around Perham High School's Career Tech Center. The school has started a manufacturing education class that's giving students the chance to learn valuable business skills while earning course credit — and cash. The name of the class, Jacket Manufacturing, is a play on the school's Yellowjacket mascot.
Otter Tail County on Tuesday became the first county in Minnesota to raise the legal purchasing age for tobacco products from 18 to 21. In a unanimous 4-0 vote, the Otter Tail County Board of Commissioners passed an ordinance commonly known as Tobacco 21, or T21, at their regular meeting Nov. 13. The new regulations will begin in January, on a phased-in basis.
Lakes Area Cooperative's Country Car Wash and Pet Wash opened in mid-October, and cars and canines have been coming out squeaky clean ever since. Ben Lindquist, the co-op's feed department manager who now oversees the car wash, too, said there were a few initial mechanical kinks to be worked out, but by and large the washes have been running smoothly — and public reception has been positive. "There's been a lot of excitement about it around town," Lindquist said. "The public has been really good and really accepting of it."
The Minnesota Department of Health is conducting a study on chemicals that may harm development in children, and volunteer families from Becker County are among those taking part. The Healthy Rural and Urban Kids Project measures preschoolers’ exposure to metals, air pollution, diesel exhaust and different agricultural and home pesticides through urine samples provided by the kids along with brief surveys taken by their parents during normally-scheduled Early Childhood Screenings.
Next Saturday, Oct. 20, the little city of Ottertail is gearing up to host its Pumpkin Festival, with funds raised at the family-friendly event going back into the community to help kids and local residents in need. The annual Pumpkin Festival has become a popular tradition in Ottertail, drawing in a few hundred people each year. Sponsored and supported by many of the town's businesses and civic organizations, the event is primarily organized by The Williams Company Store and Buehler's Produce.
Becker County has been struggling with a serious child care shortage for years. Now, there's fresh hope for real solutions. The county is one of six outstate areas in Minnesota recently selected to take part in the Rural Child Care Innovation Program, or RCCIP.