It was a feast that would make anybody's mouth water: A long countertop covered from corner to corner with big bowls and dishes full of fresh, colorful foods. There was a sweet carrot-and-pineapple concoction, a crisp broccoli-cauliflower salad, strawberry and blueberry yogurt parfaits, tossed pasta salads with various greens, breadsticks topped with dill, basil and thyme, and loads of other healthy goodies. Hard to believe this was what they call, "Dinner From Dirt." An unceremonious name for such a tasty and creative menu, but accurate - everything on that countertop was grown in a garden
A 23-year-old Fergus Falls man has been found dead in a parked vehicle. The Otter Tail County Sheriff's Office received a report on Friday of an unresponsive male inside a vehicle parked in a driveway on Veitenheimer Road near Dalton. Sheriff's deputies, along with Ringdahl Ambulance and Dalton Rescue, were dispatched to the scene and found Thomas Rasmussen deceased in the vehicle. Foul play is not suspected at this time; cause of death is yet unknown. The death is currently under investigation by the sheriff's office.
Anyone who's driven south of Perham in the last week or so has probably noticed a lot of truck traffic coming in and out of the city's wastewater treatment facility. These trucks are loading and hauling fill materials from the facility over to where the new interchange is being built, just west of town at the intersection of U.S. Highway 10 and County State Aid Highway 34. The accompanying drawing shows what the interchange project will look like when finished. The road running west-east is Highway 10; cutting through that at an angle is Highway 34.
Workers with Lake Country Power and Lake Region Electric Cooperative have been putting up new nesting towers for ospreys in the east Otter Tail County area. The tall, human-made nesting sites mimic the telephone poles and other tower structures that ospreys like to nest on - but without the danger. The newest nesting tower made by the local power companies just went up a couple weeks ago along Highway 78 just north of Ottertail, but a few others have been put up over the last couple of years.
The Focus received reports late last week of a dumpster full of books sitting behind Perham High School. Superintendent Mitch Anderson said the books were left over from the school's recent purge to make room for improvements to the media center. In the process, many older and rarely checked-out books were donated to the Perham Area Library and given to the elementary and middle schools; however, others were unwanted and were hauled out to be recycled.
New home construction in Perham has fluctuated in the wake of the national housing market crash. After a slump during the recent recession, city officials say there is still a demand for new housing units - though the numbers are not as great as they once were. So far this year, there have been eight new home construction permits issued in the city of Perham. This is up from the city's low of four permits in 2010, but still quite a bit lower than its peak of 21 in 2006 (right before the bubble burst). At the height of the recession, in 2007-2008, the city issued seven permits.
Crazy Days was held last Friday and Saturday in Perham, and by all reports it was, indeed, crazy. Several business owners said later that it was one of the best Crazy Days weekends they'd ever seen. Sales were better than anyone anticipated, and people were coming out to buy, not just to browse, store owners said.
There's a new kid on the block - and he's brought a new business with him. Matt Capecchi, age 22, has just moved to Perham to open Puzzles Bar and Grille, located at the back end of The Station House on Main Street. The Cottage Grove, Minn., native said he's "always wanted to own a business, especially a bar." So when he heard in late June that there was an opportunity to start one here, he jumped at the chance.
This year's Dreams For Kids Ride has raised enough money to grant the wishes of not just the two boys the group had already planned to sponsor, but the wishes of two additional children, as well. According to Wanda Smith, one of the event's leading organizers, more than $26,000 was raised through the 7th Annual Ride. The ride was held on July 28, with a celebration afterward at Pioneer Village in Perham. The cost of sponsoring a wish is about $6,500 per child.
A total of 10 contestants will compete in this year's Miss Perham and Miss Heart of the Lakes pageants - five will vie for the title of Miss Perham, and five for Miss Heart of the Lakes. The pageant will be held this Friday, Aug. 10 at 7 p.m. in the Perham High School Auditorium. Winners will go on to compete next June at Miss Minnesota 2013, and will be highly visible in the public eye as they promote their platforms in the coming year. Miss Perham 2011, Paige Meyer, and Miss Heart of the Lakes, Caitlyn Thompson, will be performing at the pageant.