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Michael Achterling

Multimedia News Lead

Multimedia Lead Reporter for the Detroit Lakes Tribune and the Perham Focus.

Michael graduated in 2020 with a Bachelor's Degree in professional journalism from the University of Minnesota - Twin Cities. During his time at the UMN, Michael covered state legislature for the Minnesota Daily and interned at the St. Paul Pioneer Press.

He is also a veteran of the U.S. Navy where he served, from 2011 to 2015, as a Mass Communication Specialist in Boston, Mass., aboard the U.S.S. Constitution, and in Sasebo, Japan, assigned to the U.S.S. Bonhomme Richard (LHD 6).

Michael is originally from Apple Valley, Minnesota and is a proud graduate of the School of Environmental Studies, and Eastview High School.

When not in the newsroom, Michael enjoys spending time his dog: Pepper. He is also an avid video gamer, baseball purist, entertainment sponge, who also dabbles in table-top games.

Email story ideas to Michael at machterling@dlnewspapers.com and follow on Twitter @machterling.

Recent stories by Michael Achterling
Through a brisk wind and intermittent rain, a large excavator demolished the old Becker County Museum building on Wednesday. The museum's new home, attached to the Historic Holmes Theatre, is expected to be open to the public for the first time on Feb. 17 during the 2023 Polar Fest, according to a museum official.
“Less is more. If you stay simple, your house will be beautiful. It’s what you put in it is what makes it,” said Marla Siegert.
The Republican Party of Minnesota filed an official complaint against state Senate District 9 write-in candidate Nathan Miller with the Office of Administrative Hearings on Oct. 14. Miller is being accused by the MN GOP of falsely representing himself as "a Republican candidate" in print materials and online. Jordan Rasmusson defeated Miller, 51.6% to 48.4%, to secure the MN GOP nomination for the race during the primary in August.
As ticket holders began filing into Spanky's Stone Hearth in Vergas, Minn. for a four-course meal and wine pairing event, presented by the Detroit Lakes Breakfast Rotary, on Oct. 11, they expected a delicious evening of adventure for their palates and Head Chef Michael Kasper provided everything they craved.
Breaking News
A large fire erupted in the main building at Maplelag Resort in Callaway, Minn., in the morning hours of Oct. 10. Ten regional fire departments responded to the call for mutual aid to assist the White Earth and Callaway fire departments at the scene.
In interviews with the Detroit Lakes Tribune, Minnesota Senate District 9 candidates gave contrasting thoughts on how they would approach governing and representing residents as the general election draws near and voters head to the polls through early voting.
The United States Space Force adopted "Sempra Supra" as the official anthem of the military branch in a video released on Sept. 20. Check out the new anthem below and also hear from Gen. John "Jay" Raymond, Chief of Space Operations, on how the song came to be.
"One of the old things we used to say is the lake is not a bathtub, it doesn't just lay at one level," said Pete Boulay, a climatologist with the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources. "What I always point out, when people complain that (water levels) have never been this low, just go back farther and you'll find lower water than you have right now."
Travis "Bull" Johnson is running for Minnesota's Seventh Congressional District this November under the Legal Marijuana Now party and hopes his honesty, realism and political outsider status will be enough for voters to send him to Congress.
The PRCA Rodeo packed the Double S Arena in Detroit Lakes on Aug. 27 and featured a night of riding, roping and kids chasing calves.
As more health facilities acquire 3-D mammogram technology, providers are seeing an increased detection in noninvasive breast cancer and a sharp reduction in the need for patient recalls. Every woman, especially those with dense breast tissue — which includes 40% of all women — can benefit from having a 3-D mammogram, according to the lead mammographer at Essentia Health St. Mary's in Detroit Lakes.
Hundreds of thirsty craft connoisseurs sampled beers, 2 oz. at a time, as the Detroit Lakes Craft Beer Tour, hosted by Leighton Events, stopped at Washington Ballpark in Detroit Lakes on Aug. 20.
Rep. Michelle Fischbach, currently in the middle of a district-wide tour during the congressional August recess, made a variety of stops in Detroit Lakes on Aug. 17 as she met with local business and civic leaders to discuss their concerns. She even had time to sit down for an exclusive one-on-one interview with the Detroit Lakes Tribune.
Hundreds attended Pioneer Fest in Perham on Aug. 13 and were treated to steam engines, a threshing demonstration and nearly 100 entries in the event's antique tractor pull.
GOP primaries in Minnesota Senate Districts 4, 5 and 9, and House District 5B, have finalized the legislative candidates for the November election. One senate candidate said he's excited to get out and meet as many residents as possible over the next three months.
Thousands of country music fans gathered at Soo Pass Ranch, outside of Detroit Lakes, on Thursday for the annual WE Fest country music festival, which runs through Aug. 6. Country music superstar Jason Aldean headlined the first night's music, which also included performances from: Chris Janson, Blanco Brown, Elvie Shane, and Hitchville, throughout the day.
Event attendees enjoyed exotic reptiles, a myriad of carnival rides and games, and 4-H members competing in the annual Barnyard Olympics as part of the East Otter Tail County Fair in Perham on Saturday, July 23.
Check out all of the photo and video coverage from the East Otter Tail County Fair in Perham from July 22-24.
Fireballs, smoke and costume changes all featured prominently during Friday night's Bash on the Beach in Detroit Lakes as Hairball performed the classics and thrilled the outdoor, sold-out crowd as part of the 86th Northwest Water Carnival on July 15.
For all a patient's medical accessories needs, Sanford Health Equip in Detroit Lakes is hoping to become a local one-stop shop for home care in the lakes area. The store will have its grand opening and ribbon cutting on July 12 at 1 p.m.
The 86th Northwest Water Carnival is officially underway as October Road and Born Too Late played to kick-off party concertgoers on Detroit Lakes' City Beach on Friday, July 8.
The Bemidji man who escaped the Becker County Courthouse on July 6, after being sentenced to 20-months for a previous escape attempt, was arrested outside Casey's General Store on Highway 34 about eight hours after fleeing from custody.
Videos, aerial images and photographs: Fourth of July celebrations across the Greater Minnesota lakes area dazzle onlookers as the country celebrates Independence Day.
Candidate filing will open Aug. 2 for 23 school board seats, spread across six lakes area school districts, and 11 city council seats in Detroit Lakes, Perham and Wadena. Candidates must pay up to a $5 filing fee, verify their address and complete registration for those elections before filing closes on Aug. 16 at 5 p.m., said one city clerk.
The Detroit Record used to advertise hair food. Yes, you read that right. Ayer's Hair Vigor, food for the hair that cured dandruff, falling hair and restored all of the hair's rich color of early life was advertised in a 1905 issue of the paper, but as one Sanford Health family nurse practitioner said, men experiencing baldness today should probably stick to Rogaine or Minoxidil.
Speaking at the end of a Detroit Lakes City Council meeting on June 14, the city's public utilities general manager, and chairman of the board for Missouri River Energy Services, presented the grim news that regional power generation may not meet the expected demand over the summer and rolling blackouts across the region are possible.
SCORE Prairie and Lakes, based in Fargo, N.D., offers free mentorship opportunities and a large resource library for businesses of all sizes who may need help improving their operations. SCORE also provides a start-up consultations for new business owners to ensure they have all the knowledge they need before officially signing on the bottom line, one SCORE official said.
A residence and attached garage caught fire at Country Fields Greenhouse in rural Detroit Lakes on Friday, June 10 at about 10 a.m.
More than 100 classic automobiles and their owners descended on Detroit Lakes' City Park this Wednesday, June 8 to participate in the first DL Cruise Night of 2022, hosted by the Detroit Lakes Regional Chamber of Commerce. Check out the 6-minute video walkthrough with all of the cars.
About 120 racers participated across a dozen racing classes at the 5th Annual Turf Wars Racing. The event brought adrenaline seekers from across the region to the Becker County Fairgrounds on Saturday, June 4.

The Fighting Alliance Championship 14 is bringing a worldwide television audience, UFC Fight Pass, to the Kent Freeman Arena in Detroit Lakes for a night of ultimate fighting on May 20. Doors for the event open at 5:30 p.m. The preliminary fights start at 6:30 with the UFC Fight Pass main event broadcast beginning at 9 p.m.
More than 400 acres of farm land, homesteads and outbuildings in Frazee, Minnesota will be auctioned off live on May 4 beginning at 10 a.m. during an event hosted by Bachmann Auctioneers of Perham. The total 2022 assessed value of the six land parcels is $1,391,800.
After nearly 100 years of family ownership, the Sprafkas are preparing to move out of their historic Detroit Lakes home, designed by renowned Polish architect Victor Cordella and completed in 1924.
It's likely that under any one of the new plans, all five county commissioners will need to run for reelection this November.
All property types across Otter Tail County will see their estimated market values rise between 15-30%, according to an Otter Tail County Assessor's Office report. The county's chief deputy assessor said their new valuations are based on sales from the previous year and are entirely dependent on market forces.
Exclusive
Minnesota gubernatorial candidate Cory Hepola laid out his three major campaign 'pillars' in a speech to the Perham Noon Rotary on Thursday, March 24. He also addressed how his campaign plans to inspire voters by focusing on commonalities instead of differences.
In a Wednesday post on the group's Facebook page, the Frazee-Vergas VFW Post 7702 announced that it is closing down until further notice. Meetings for VFW and AMVETS members will still take place as scheduled, but the bar and club side of the business will cease operations until a new business plan for the bar can be established.
The ice palace in Detroit Lakes was demolished by heavy equipment on March 1 following the conclusion of Polar Fest 2022, which ran from Feb. 11 to Feb. 27.
With their Feb. 15 filing, the Minnesota Judicial Special Redistricting Panel has redrawn the congressional and legislative boundaries for the next 10 years using data compiled during the 2020 U.S. Census. In the new maps, Becker County will be split into three legislative districts, instead of its current two, and also split into two different congressional districts, losing its northern half, the White Earth Reservation, to congressional district eight.
A group of four women and two men participated in a bikini radar run on Little Detroit Lake in Detroit Lakes on Feb. 19 to raise money for Pink Ribbon Riders, a breast cancer patient assistance organization. The group will be holding another fundraising event on March 12 in Fosston, Minnesota.