Staff writer at Detroit Lakes Newspapers for the past 18-plus years, currently editor of the entertainment and community pages as well as covering city council and the Detroit Lakes School Board.
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Christmas is now less than a week away, but if you find yourself in need of a little dose of holiday spirit to get you ready for the big day, there are still a few shows and events coming up in the lakes area that you might want to check out.
Every family has its favorite holiday traditions, from baking up tasty treats both savory and sweet, to Christmas caroling through the neighborhood, to holiday movie marathons, to watching the annual Parade of Lights wind its way through downtown — or all of the above. At Wade and Holly Dutton's home on Brookridge Drive in Detroit Lakes, it's all about the Christmas decorations — a tradition that goes back to Holly's childhood.
"Four calling birds, three French hens, two turtle doves..." Yes, oddly enough, singing "The 12 Days of Christmas" might be considered good preparation for local birders this coming week, as they work to gather data on winter bird populations in the lakes area.
The Ozobots will be making a comeback at the Becker County Museum later this month. No, that's not the latest techno music group on the scene; rather, Ozobots are tiny robots that can be programmed to perform everything from the most basic tasks to much more complicated feats of technology.
The Detroit Lakes City Council approved a $5.5 million certified levy and $23 million budget for 2019 at its regular meeting on Tuesday. The total property tax levy of $5,498,426 marks a $384,417 (7.52 percent) increase from last year, according to City Finance Officer Pam Slifka — yet thanks to a $918,000 (7.45 percent) increase in the city's net tax capacity, the overall tax rate will increase just .026 percent.
For the second straight year, the Detroit Lakes Breakfast Rotary Club has been spending the Christmas season trying to get books into the hands of as many children as possible, as part of the club's Christmas Book Project.
The award-winning six-piece ensemble Simple Gifts will be bringing their 2018 Christmastide Tour to Detroit Lakes' Historic Holmes Theatre this Friday, Dec. 14 for a 7:30 p.m. concert. As long-time fans already know, Simple Gifts brings a modern flair to traditional Christmas carols and hymns, using some unique Celtic instrumentation and vocal harmonies to create musical magic.
Christmas is generally considered to be a "fun" holiday, with all its festive decorations, brightly lit homes and trees, tasty treats and gourmet delicacies — and of course, the presents! But it can also be stressful, what with all the event planning and scheduling, gifts to be purchased and wrapped, food to be cooked, and relatives to wrangle.
When Dale and Beth Rengstorf applied to have their ranch north of Pelican Rapids certified under the Minnesota Ag Water Quality Certification Program (MAWQCP), Dale was given a list of questions to answer about how they managed their 2,200-acre agricultural operation, and learned what they would have to do to meet the standards of the program. The answer? Very little. "The way I was already doing things met all of their requirements (for certification)," said Rengstorf, who raises a herd of about 700 head of bison on the property, using the land for pasture and hay.
It was 13 years ago now that the Canadian Pacific Holiday Train first rolled into Detroit Lakes, 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 a nice boost for us, especially during the holidays," says Brad Carlson, the food pantry's executive director. "Last year Canadian Pacific gave us $4,500, and we also picked up another $972 in cash and 446 pounds of food from local donations."