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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 and follow on Twitter @machterling.

Recent stories by Michael Achterling
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.
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.
New garage camera video provided to the Tribune shows the moment two trains derail near Frazee, Minn., on Feb. 17. No injuries were reported in the incident and no hazardous materials were compromised, according to a statement from the railway company.
In a statement from Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railway, the company expects rail traffic to resume late Friday on one of the rail lines following a derailment in Frazee, Minn., on Feb. 17. No hazardous materials were compromised in the incident, according to the statement.
Two trains were involved in a derailment between Frazee and Detroit Lakes on Feb. 17, blocking rail traffic in both directions. No injuries were reported at the scene and nearby residents were evacuated by law enforcement as a precaution while investigators assessed the content of the derailed cars.
After signing their lease on Feb. 1, Bucks Mill Brewery finally has its location in the former Homestyle Crafts and Fabrics store on Washington Avenue, and connected to the Washington Square Mall, in Detroit Lakes. The brewery founders said they want their new space to be family-friendly with a game room, and other amenities, but also the best place in town for beer.
A 61-year-old Detroit Lakes woman was killed, and two other residents were transported with possible smoke inhalation, during an apartment fire in Detroit Lakes on Jan. 29. Firefighters were dispatched at 10:26 a.m. to a call of smoke at the 24-unit Pelican River Apartment building on Loring Avenue.
Firefighters were dispatched to a call of smoke at the 24-unit Pelican River Apartment building on Loring Avenue in Detroit Lakes on Jan 29. They extinguished the blaze within five minutes. Two people were taken to a nearby medical clinic to be treated for possible smoke inhalation.
More than 80 competitors raced vintage snowmobiles across the frozen surface of Detroit Lake in Detroit Lakes on Jan. 22.
Since Dec. 29, 2021, the state reported an additional 33,913 COVID-19 cases, a 50% increase compared to the previous week, totaling 1,049,310 for the entire pandemic. Also, 203 new deaths were reported by the state in the last seven days, 11 fewer than the previous week, totaling 10,671 for the entire pandemic. Currently, Becker County reported 76 active cases, an increase of 5 active cases since Dec. 29. Statewide COVID-19 data is not being released on federal holidays, Saturdays and Sundays.
Members of the city council viewed preliminary upgrade plans for the Kent Freeman Arena during their work session on Dec. 21. The upgrade would feature a linked concourse for both arenas, added seating in arena two, new locker rooms and a two-floor performance training area that could be a partnership opportunity in the proposed expansion.
One person was found dead after a fire collapsed a home north of Frazee on Dec. 22. The name of the victim is being withheld until their identity is confirmed and their family has been notified.
One person was found dead after a fire collapsed a home north of Frazee on Dec. 22. The name of the victim is being withheld until their identity is confirmed and their family has been notified.
ALDI grocery in Detroit Lakes opened around 8:30 a.m. on Saturday, Dec. 18 to prevent a Black Friday-style rush of customers for their planned 9 a.m. opening. One ALDI official said customers began coming to line up at the door around 7 a.m. and they didn't want a mad dash at their opening so they let them in a little bit early, which was easier on the employees and got the customers out of the cold.
ALDI grocery will open their doors to the public for the first time on Saturday, Dec. 18 at 9 a.m., at their location off Highway 10, near the Boys and Girls Club Thrift Store in Detroit Lakes. One company official said customers should expect a smaller-than-typical grocery store with competitive prices and daily-delivered produce.
Turf Wars drag racing is back in Cormorant, Minn., on Dec. 18 with their first winter racing event featuring snowmobiles of all varieties; open ATV and mod classes; and a womens' class. The event will cost $10 for adults, $5 for children under 12, and $40 to register a sled and driver in a racing class.
The man, whose name has not yet been released, had not responded to any messages or phone calls from family members for several days.
These traveling nurses book their temporary contracts, usually about 13 weeks, through various agencies and can make as much in a week as a regular staff nurse earns in a month, according to one of the travelers. However, a human resources director at Essentia Health said much of the demand is being driven by the pandemic and, once the case numbers recede, many of those contractual positions will no longer be necessary.
Becker County could be moving into a new congressional district as the Minnesota House Redistricting Committee released their proposed congressional redistricting map on Nov. 23. The new eighth district would be focused on northern Minnesota as a whole and encompass nearly a third of the state; however, most of neighboring Clay and Otter Tail Counties would remain in the seventh congressional district, which moved more south and to the east along the Iowa border.
Every 10 years, legislative maps across the nation are redrawn to reflect the changing demographics of the U.S. Census, and how those lines are drawn may change the political power make-up of each district. In Minnesota, the 2020 census showed a sharp increase in Twin Cities metro area population at the expense of Greater Minnesota, which may change the political power makeup of the state, according to a Twin Cities political science professor.
Coach watching to see which young players step up.
With less than one week since the first practice of the season, the Perham High School girl's tennis team opened their season with a invitational tournament with other regional schools and was co-hosted by Perham and Wadena-Deer Creek High School.

A bison that had broken loose from a nearby property in Waubun, Minnesota, was killed with the approval of the animal's owner because it had been off the property for too long to return safely.
A 45-year-old Waubun man was arrested Aug. 20 in connection with a dual-pedestrian hit-and-run that injured two last week. The pedestrians needed to be airlifted to a Fargo medical center for treatment due to the severity of their injuries.
Becker County Sheriff Todd Glander said the teen has been found safe.
With headliners Florida Georgia Line, Dierks Bentley and Blake Shelton bringing concertgoers to their feet over the weekend, WE Fest General Manager Mark Bjerke says they were quite pleased with the overall attendance and feedback they received, and are already looking ahead to 2022.
WE Fest officially kicked-off Wednesday night, Aug. 4, 2021 with a pre-festival bash featuring performances on the Barn Stage and dancing in the Ranch House. On Thursday, Aug. 5, emerging artist Ingrid Andress performed on the Main Stage as one of the opening acts for first night headliner Florida Georgia Line.
While stream beds and topsoil in the area may be running dry, it hasn't affected the water levels of area lakes, according to officials.
The 2007 murder of Chad Swedberg in rural Ogema will be featured on the next episode of "Reasonable Doubt," an ID Network show that re-examines controversial murder cases, on Monday, July 19 at 9 p.m. Kenneth Andersen has been serving a life sentence without the possibility of parole after being convicted of Swedberg's murder in 2008.
Frazee, Detroit Lakes, Wolf Lake and Vergas firefighters battled a large blaze for nearly 6 hours at a large hog containment building outside of Frazee on Friday night, July 9. All farm personnel were evacuated from the building, but up to 7,500 hogs were killed due to fire and smoke inhalation, according to a law enforcement incident report.
The Northwest Water Carnival is in full swing: Highlights so far include the Fly-in and Drive-in at the airport, a 5-round demolition derby at the county fairgrounds, frog and turtle races, a raft building competition and the puppy plunge from a dock on City Beach where the longest jump of the day was 25 feet by Aspen, a 5-year-old black lab.
Members of the public are invited to attend the ribbon cutting for the Heartland State Trail on July 1, 2021 at 10:30 a.m., at the site of trail's bridge across Highway 10 on the western entrance into Frazee. State legislators, officials from Detroit Lakes and Frazee, Becker County officials, as well as representatives from the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources and Minnesota Department of Transportation will be on hand for the dedication, according to a press release from the Detroit Lakes Tourism Bureau.