Marie Johnson joined the Detroit Lakes Tribune in November 2017 after several years of writing and editing at the Perham Focus. She lives in rural Frazee with her husband, Dan, their young son and daughter, and their yellow Lab.
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Team Lab employees always look forward to their annual company trip. Every January, the 20 or so office workers and sales consultants from the Detroit Lakes-based specialty chemical company travel somewhere special for a long weekend of work and play. They'll soon be heading for the warmth and sun of Arizona for this year's trip. Last year, they lived it up in 'Music City'—Nashville, Tenn. "I don't know if you can top Nashville," said Team Lab Office Manager Kelsey McCombs. "It was really fun."
The Detroit Lakes community has lost an active and influential leader with the passing of Cyndi Anderson. On Wednesday, Jan. 10, less than one week after a large crowd of Anderson's friends, family and other supporters packed the Holmes Ballroom at a benefit in her honor, the beloved community advocate succumbed to liver and bile duct cancer at the age of 59. She had been fighting the disease for more than two years.
If it weren't for a small group of dedicated Detroit Lakers, Polar Fest wouldn't exist as we know it. Today, Polar Fest is a popular, 12-day winter festival that takes place every February in Detroit Lakes. It includes dozens of fun events, geared to people of all ages, at various locations across town. It's now about a month out from this year's festival, and some people have already started marking their calendars with their 'can't-miss' Polar Fest events.
The Community Alliance Church is settling into its newly renovated and expanded space. After breaking ground in August 2016, the major construction project at the church was ongoing through this past fall and wrapped up in early October. The remodel gives the church a fresh, modern makeover inside and out, and has created more room to accommodate a growing membership and new opportunities for ministry in the community.
Luke Pechmann has always had a soft spot for abandoned animals. Growing up, he was forever finding stray cats and kittens in his Detroit Lakes neighborhood and taking them in. He'd give them shelter from the cold and keep them well fed until he could find permanent homes for them. He's rescued a few dogs in this way, too. He has an uncanny knack for stumbling across animals in need, and a heart that's too big to let him just walk away without helping. "I've always loved animals," he said.
Five years ago, school counselor Julie Smith was visited by a 15-year-old girl who told her she had been raped. The girl was looking for help; she needed help. Smith did everything she could. She counseled the girl and tried to set her up with the proper mental health services. But she discovered barriers within the system. There was a lot of paperwork, and things took a long time. The girl was a Native American student living on the White Earth Reservation, and the legal processes involved in the wake of her rape were frightening and foreign to her.
Kristi Brend stares at a screen all day, every day, and it's taking a toll on her eyes. The Detroit Lakes optician spends several hours a day in front of a computer at work, and then cell phones, tablets and TV screens all vie for her attention at home. By the end of the day, her eyes are red and dry, and her vision is blurred.
Cliff Oftelie has been collecting historical postcards for about 30 years. A frequenter of local farm and estate sales and member of the Twin City Postcard Club of Minneapolis, he's managed to amass about 1,200 cards from around the Becker County area, particularly from old resorts. It's a passion of his: the 67-year-old Detroit Lakes man is a lifelong lover of history, and a collector since boyhood.
First Lutheran Church in Detroit Lakes is ringing in the holiday season with a series of lunchtime Advent Mini Concerts, continuing a 17-year-long tradition at the church. Free and open to the public, the concerts will run from 12:05-12:35 p.m. on the three Wednesdays that lead up to Christmas—December 6, 13 and 20. A light lunch will follow each concert, with free will donations accepted for the lunch.
Kalie Wright says she’s “still coming down from Cloud Nine” after being named the new Miss Minnesota USA on Sunday. The Eagle Bend contestant was crowned at the culmination of the 2018 pageant, held at the Ames Center in Burnsville Nov. 25 and 26. During that big moment -- literally the ‘crowning moment’ of the competition -- Wright was “shouting and screaming with excitement,” she recalls. “I just lost it.” She still sounded a little hoarse days later.