Paula Quam is the editor for Forum Communications Co. newspapers in Detroit Lakes and Perham, both in Minnesota.
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Twenty five year-old-Dillon Wilson left his Detroit Lakes house Monday morning in his normal way — saying a quick goodbye to his longtime girlfriend, Amber Bauer, and their son, four-year-old Waylon. "I got to hug him...at least I got to say goodbye to him," said a teary Bauer.
Denise Warweg was cooking up some bacon in her kitchen on the north side of Cotton Lake Monday night, despite her neighbor's warning. "They said, 'Don't be cookin' bacon if there's a bear around.''' Warweg says she'd been hearing about a large black bear that had been "terrorizing" bird feeders in the neighborhood, but the thing was, she was hoping he'd come around. "I'd been wanting to take a picture of him for a long time," she said, adding she assumed he was a "he" based on the bear's size and the fact that there were no cubs with it.
This is no ordinary house. "And behind here we've got a hidden room," said Heather Ware Nelson, as she pushes open a bookcase to reveal a secret room. It's just storage — nothing creepy or exciting — but the house at 51097 East Wymer Lake Road is more than 10,000 square feet of unique nooks and crannies that has visitors amazed and sometimes lost. The estate is currently being transformed from a home that everybody knows about in Frazee to a vacation rental that will soon be ready for the world to explore.
A middle of the night fire broke out at the Baer Trucking building, located between Audubon and Lake Park, with firefighters getting the call sometime after 4 a.m. Saturday. "When we got here it was fully engulfed," said Lake Park Fire Chief Dave Coufal, whose fire department was one of the ones called in to help the Audubon Fire Department. Standing outside a massive, smoldering steel building charred with damage, Coufal says the good news was that nobody was in the building at the time. The bad news is, there's tons of property that was destroyed.
So, we're not trying to toot our own horn (maybe a little), but the Perham Focus did pretty darn well this year in terms of bringing home some hardware from the Minnesota Newspaper Association Minnesota Better Newspaper Contest. We brought home 10 state awards, far more than what we've taken home in the past. And for a small town newspaper that has seen some personnel turnover as well as a physical office move across town, we're pretty proud of that. We are little, but we do our best to be fierce.
Staff from the Perham Focus recently walked away with 10 awards from the Minnesota Newspaper Association Better Newspaper Contest. The statewide competition judges a variety of categories within news content, photography, advertising and layout and design.
There will be a short informational meeting during conference night Monday, January 7 at 5:30 p.m.
Editor's note: We live in a time of rapid change — change that does not entirely skip over small Minnesota towns like this one. Today, more than ever, people here in this community are bypassing our neighbors' small shops in favor of an internet search and an out-of-town buy. Consumer preference is changing; we are changing. However, we are not powerless in this evolution. We, as a community, can decide how we want to navigate these new times to create a place we'd still want to live 10, 20, 50 years from now.
Perham may be a small town with a lot of small businesses, but these days small shops are no place for small ambitions. Business owners in less advantaged mom and pop shops are now forced to operate with as much savvy as the big boys if they want to stay profitable. Big online retailers are encroaching into their territory, and in Perham, there are several shop owners who mean business.