Perham Focus Newsroom
A new reporter started at the Perham Focus this week. Born and raised in south Minneapolis, Joe Bowen is a 2009 graduate of the College of Saint Benedict-Saint John’s University. He has worked as a community organizer in politics and as an editor for the Icelandic-American newsletter, The Posturinn.
The Yellowjacket Speech Team took first at Sections in Underwood on Saturday. The team sent 33 competitors from the Sub-section to the Section tournament. At Sections, 18 competitors made it into the final rounds. Perham scored more than 35 points over the second place team of Parkers Prairie and more than 65 points over the third place team from Breckenridge.
Dr. Patrick Mendis, a former AFS exchange scholar from Sri Lanka to Perham High School (1978-79), was recently named an Alumnus of Notable Achievement at the University of Minnesota College of Liberal Arts. Mendis graduated from the college in 1989 with a Ph.D. in geography/applied economics, and also earned a master’s degree in international development and foreign policy from the University’s Hubert H. Humphrey School of Public Affairs.
Callista Wengel has been selected to represent Minnesota at the 2013 Miss American Junior Teen Pageant. The 16-year-old Perham girl competed against girls from around the state on March 23-24 in Minneapolis, and won the title of Miss North Star State Junior Teen 2013. Wengel will be attending the national pageant for her age group in Florida during the week of Thanksgiving. There, she will compete for the title of Miss American Junior Teen, along with thousands of dollars in cash awards, prizes and scholarships.
With April, May and June combining for the highest percentage of unbelted teen traffic deaths during the past three years, the Minnesota Department of Public Safety’s Office of Traffic Safety is urging parents to reinforce safe driving habits for their kids during prom season and the end of the school year. Over the past three years, there have been 30 teen motor vehicle occupant deaths in April, May and June, and 63 percent of those killed were not buckled up.
Benjamin Anthony Ruther, 22, of Perham, was sentenced in Otter Tail County District Court on April 11 for drug possession. Ruther’s sentence relates to an incident in Perham last July when, according to court records, a search warrant was conducted at his residence and authorities found methamphetamine pipes in his bedroom. One of the pipes later tested positive for meth. Ruther was ordered to serve 13 months in the Minnesota Correctional Facility in St. Cloud, Minn. Information about credit for time already served was not readily available before press time.
Three area individuals, including two from Perham, have won Entrepreneur of the Year awards through M-State’s Business and Entrepreneurial Services program. Perham Health CEO Chuck Hofius and KLN Family Brands owner Kenny Nelson, along with Fergus Foods owner Rob Fuglie, will be honored at an awards banquet at M-State in Detroit Lakes next Friday, according to a press release. Each represents a different entrepreneurial niche:
All Minnesotans can agree that a fair day’s work deserves a fair day’s pay. Unfortunately, hundreds of thousands of hard working Minnesotans, earning at or near the $7.25 per hour minimum wage, do not make enough to support themselves or their families. In fact, when you factor in housing, food, transportation and other necessities, a single adult would need to earn $11.82 per hour to meet their basic needs. That rate goes up to $14.03 per hour for a family of four with two working parents.
A March 22 column in the Alexandria Echo Press titled “Who would oppose raising minimum wage?” in support of the current proposals to raise the minimum wage implied you’d have to be “Scrooge” in order to oppose the idea. While I envy the author’s ability to turn an argument of economic principles into an over-simplified and one-sided storybook tale, the fact still remains that the minimum wage debate is complex and will have lasting implications for low-income workers and the price of goods and services.
Although we still see piles of snow and ice as we look out our windows, warmer temperatures will eventually win out. With the arrival of summer comes the potential for different kinds of severe weather. As this season arrives, state safety officials recommend that all residents establish a plan and practice tornado and severe thunderstorm drills to become familiar with safety actions.