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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Most people know Don Seifert as the 'Voice of the Yellowjackets.' For more than 20 years, the Perham native announced at football games in town. He also spent time behind the mic for basketball, wrestling, track and other sports. Those who didn't know him for his evening gig at games probably knew him for his day job at the school. Now retired, he's still well respected as a longtime business manager at Perham-Dent School District, a post he held for 32 years. "My first budget was $250,000 when I started," he recalls today. "When I ended, it was $8 million."
A new career unit is giving Perham High School seniors an important lesson in after-school life. Students in Amy Braukmann's 12th grade English class just finished a four-week unit designed to teach them how to find and snag a job after graduation. Over the past month, they've searched for jobs online, filled out mock applications, written cover letters, developed resumes and reference pages, and taken part in mock interviews with real-life professionals. After the interviews, they sent out follow-up emails or thank-you letters.
Perham resident Doug Huebsch is keeping his seat on the Otter Tail County Board of Commissioners. With all 17 precincts reporting late Tuesday, Huebsch won the race for the District 1 seat on the board with 59 percent of the vote (3,827 votes) in his favor out of a total 6,466 votes. The incumbent's challenger, Richard Snelgrove, of New York Mills, received 2,622 votes, or 40 percent. There were 17 write-in candidates.
Two Perham City Council candidates and the mayoral candidate, all of them incumbents, faced no opponents in this year's election and will be back for another term. Perham's Mayor will remain Tim Meehl, who received 1,280 votes. There were 24 write-in candidates for mayor. James Johnson and Eric Spencer will both return to the city council. Johnson garnered 1,041 votes, while Spencer got 927. Fourteen voters wrote in other candidates.
Bongards has plans to relocate and expand its cheese store in Perham. The creamery company has purchased the empty log building on the corner of Main Street and 2nd Avenue SE, kitty-corner from the Perham Chamber office, for the operation of its retail shop. Daryl Larson, plant manager in Perham, said Bongards closed on the new building in October. Remodeling is slated to begin soon and will continue through the winter. The company is hoping for an early spring opening.
Aaron Wegscheid has reached the highest pinnacle of scouting. After nearly a decade of active involvement in Cub Scouts and Boy Scouts, the Perham High School junior just received official word last week that he is now an Eagle Scout. Eagle Scout is the highest rank attainable in the Boy Scouts of America scouting program. Only 4 percent of scouts achieve the distinguished title.
Nest: everybody's been chirping about it; now they can check it out. The highly-anticipated and buzzed-about new coffee shop and kitchen retailer opened Tuesday in Perham. A steady crowd of customers flocked to Nest for its soft opening, curious to see its interior look and feel, and excited to find out what's on the store shelves. Among them were Shirley Mayfield, of Frazee, and Myrna Wenaas, of Perham, who enjoyed some laughs over coffee Tuesday morning. The two said they liked the new building's fun atmosphere. "It's a cool place," said Mayfield.
A program in Perham has been offering people a ray of light as they struggle through dark times. For the past two years, Celebrate Recovery has provided a sense of human connection, empathy and support to those feeling unhappy, scared and alone. Every Tuesday evening at Calvary Lutheran Church, anywhere from 30 to 50 people from Perham and the surrounding area gather to get real and honest about difficulties they're facing in life. The program offers a safe and confidential space for them, where they can speak freely without judgment or fear.
The message is loud and clear when it comes to high-speed broadband internet services in Otter Tail County: "Please wait... Your options are still loading." The county has some catching up to do. Currently, Otter Tail is the fourth-worst in the state when it comes to fixed, non-mobile broadband internet service speeds, ranking 84th out of Minnesota's 87 counties.
Emily Dreyer is just one of six women featured in the 2016 edition of Luminous, which highlights some of the movers and the shakers in Perham. This year, Focus staff looked at young women in leadership roles within the community. Pick up your Luminous at the Focus office or at locations throughout the area. It's a good thing Emily Dreyer likes to be busy, because she's had a whirlwind year.