A fire wasn't about to stop Pizza Ranch customers in Perham from enjoying lunch Tuesday afternoon. Pizza Ranch employee Michelle Elk Nation said when smoke started pouring in above the buffet area, people were still trying to eat. "I'm like, 'there's a fire, exit the building,'" Elk Nation said. When firefighters from Perham and New York Mills arrived on the scene they discovered black smoke coming into the restaurant and off the roof. Assistant Fire Chief Mark Ebeling said the fire originated from the roof and was put out with a fire extinguisher.
What should Otter Tail County look like in 20 years? That question is what county commissioners started asking themselves before embarking on the county's first long-range strategic plan. At an open house meeting at the PACC on Wednesday, March 13, residents provided input and heard answers about the planning process that will soon guide decision making at all levels of county government.
Facing a decision to grant Patrick Honer a liquor license for his new Suds location at 138 W Main St., the Perham City Council tabled the discussion until the Committee of the Whole meeting on March 27. Over 20 Suds employees and patrons were present to support Honer. During a public hearing, Marilyn Hovland said she's been coming to Suds for over 20 years. "I think Pat Honer is very by the book, follow the rules kind of a guy," she said. "He doesn't take a lot of guff from anyone, I've seen him bend over backwards trying to follow all rules."
Margaret Huebsch learned how to embroider in grade school, but fell out of practice when life got in the way. "I was raising all these kids, I didn't have time to embroider," said the 96-year-old Huebsch alongside her daughter, Jan. "You were too busy patching our clothes and darting our socks," Jan said, laughing. After stockpiling a cabinet full of embroidered pillow cases, Jan thought it was time to start her mom on a long-term project.
While a new app takes the world by storm on a weekly basis, it's nearly impossible for parents to keep up with what their kids are capable of doing online. "It's amazing how much is available," said Dave Eisenmann, director of instructional technology and media services for Minnetonka Public Schools, who was recently in Perham to talk to the community about screen time. "The tools are changing, but what doesn't change is the important role we, as parents, have to guide our kids through this world of tech."
They say the pain of losing a child doesn't ever go away, it just changes. This coming Wednesday, it will have been 31 years exactly since life changed that way for two local families. It was Sunday, March 13, 1988 when a house fire outside Richville took the lives of 3-year-old Jenny Rust, 8-year-old Robert Rust and their babysitter, 12-year-old Annetonette Wallace. "She was a beautiful girl who loved rainbows and yellow roses," said Annetonette's mother, Mary.
Where do you turn to if you or your elderly loved one needs a ride to the doctor? Instead of fruitlessly browsing around on the internet, a new local service is connecting seniors with a variety of support services. The Connection is a free "one-stop-shop" for questions on local services or even what's available in the area, said Connection Program Manager Maggie Fresonke. Fresonke said The Connection lives up to its name, connecting callers to "anything from snow plowing to dog walking to hand bar installment, even assisted living and financial programs".
A few miles north of Perham, past Little Pine Lake, resides an everyday man with an extraordinary collection. Dozens of antique tractors are housed inside his modest home; there are Minneapolis-Molines, antique steam threshers, Farmalls and John Deeres from every era. While they're solid steel, they never harvested crops or plowed snow; they're models handmade by Rod Swanson.
A new dentist office is hoping to keep Perham's faces smiling. Reuter Family Dentistry is now open in Perham. The Reuter practice has been in Wadena since 2010, but they are expanding into Perham to better serve their growing client base. Practice Manager Ryan Reuter said they've spent the last six years looking for the right space in Perham. "We always had our eyes on coming back here," he said. Dr. Heidi Reuter and dental partner Dr. Brandon Kvidt offer a wide variety of services including wisdom teeth removal, dental implants and root canals.
Otter Tail County Commissioners held a public meeting to discuss the planned reconstruction of 5.9 miles of County Highway 34 between County Highway 35 and U.S Highway 10. The plan also includes the construction of a new bike trail spanning 6.4 miles along County Highway 34. About 80 local residents were present in a conference room at the PACC to hear the plan and how construction will affect their property.