Marie Johnson joined the Perham Focus more than five years ago, and has since worn many hats as writer, editor and page designer. She lives in rural Frazee with her husband, Dan, their one-year-old son, Simon, and their yellow lab, Louisa.
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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.
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.