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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The last time the Focus checked in with Ted Meinhover, he was on his way to Beijing, China, to work as a foreign diplomat for the U.S. That was three years ago, and a lot has happened in China in the last three years—much of which Meinhover has witnessed, researched and reported on to government leaders back home, in an effort to build rapport between the two countries. Last week, the 2001 Perham High School graduate was back in town for a visit, and he stopped by the Focus to update us on his many undertakings in Beijing and beyond.
Editor's note: This is the final story in a weekly series of feature articles on new teachers in Perham this year. David Ogroske says teaching at St. Henry's Area School in Perham is "like a homecoming for me." A product of Perham, Ogroske is a former St. Henry's student himself. He returned to the school this year as a fifth grade teacher, standing in front of the desks instead of sitting behind one like he did as a kid all those years ago. He also teaches fourth grade science.
The 89-year-old Otter Tail County man who had been missing since Sept. 28 was found deceased Thursday, Oct. 13, and an autopsy indicated he died of natural causes. The Otter Tail County Sheriff's Office reports that the body of Thomas Allstopp was located shortly after noon on Thursday, Oct. 13, in Leaf Mountain Township near Urbank and west of Parkers Prairie, approximately two miles from his cabin where he went missing. Midwest Medical Examiners Office in Anoka conducted the autopsy. The case remains under investigation.
Birds, Blossoms and Beyond is undergoing a transformation. After 11 years of owning and operating the Perham garden center, Nick and Jodi Theroux have sold the business. Chris and Shelly Mensing, of Lakes Country Landscaping and Irrigation, purchased the property in July, and will officially take ownership on Jan. 1, 2017. "It's exciting," said Jodi Theroux in a recent interview with both couples. "It's good for them and it's good for us. It's a good fit."
4-H is a longstanding tradition in the Hendrickx family. Mom Kris serves as a 4-H club leader, dad Pat has been involved in one way or another since he was a kid, and their sons, Ben, 15, and Isaac, 12, have both been active members for years. The family says 4-H has been an important social and educational outlet for them — a way to meet people, learn new skills, share ideas and information, and grow and develop into community leaders.
The Perham Focus is planning a new series of feature stories, tentatively titled, "Characters, kind folks and curmudgeons: Portraits of some of the Perham area's best-known residents, living or otherwise." We're seeking stand-out personalities, those larger-than-life people who are easy to meet and hard to forget, for better or for worse. Do you know someone like this? It could be anyone, of any age, who currently lives in the Perham/East Otter Tail County area or ever once considered the area home.
The Perham area just got another Little Free Library. Aerovilla Road residents (on Devil's Lake northwest of Perham) are invited to a ribbon-cutting for the new little structure this Saturday, Sept. 24 at 4 p.m., at its location at the end of Marion and Donna Gill's driveway, at 40122 Aerovilla Road. Attendees are asked to bring a book to share. Donna Gill, who helped initiate this latest Little Free Library, said it's intended for everyone in the neighborhood, young and old, so books for all ages are needed.
Local governments are helping Thumper Pond Resort get back on its feet after a catastrophic roof collapse last year. Leaders from both Otter Tail County and the city of Ottertail, where the popular resort is located, have recently shown their support for reconstruction efforts, agreeing to temporary reductions in Thumper Pond's city and county taxes.
A new volunteer program that teaches kids how to handcraft kayaks is about so much more than just building boats. It's about building skills. Building connections. Building confidence. So far, three local boys are learning the craft, and more are expected to take part in the future. Once complete, each of the boys' kayaks will be donated to Kinship of the Perham Area, for use by kids during Kinship's summer get-togethers and on field trips.
An important step in the Star Lake resort and casino development process was made last week, and another opportunity for public comment on the project is coming up next week. The two separate but related matters — a recently submitted Environmental Assessment Worksheet, or EAW, and the public hearing — were both discussed at an Otter Tail County Board of Commissioners meeting on Tuesday. EAW submitted