Paula Quam is the editor for Forum Communications Co. newspapers in Detroit Lakes and Perham, both in Minnesota.
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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.
Perham, with all of its quaint shops and variety of goods and services, is one of those bustling small towns that has remained vibrant and healthy throughout the years. This is easy to identify, as one walks downtown where empty retail spots are nearly impossible to come by.
It was a little too close for comfort. The Otter Tail County Auditor has announced that they will be recounting the votes in the sheriff's race that had current Chief Deputy Barry Fitzgibbons narrowly winning over Fergus Falls Police Chief Kile Bergren by only six votes. In an expected move, Bergren filed for the recount, which will happen Dec. 3 at 9 a.m. in the Commissioners'/Otter Tail Lake Room of the Government Services Center, located at 515 Fir Ave. W. in Fergus Falls. This recount will be open to the public and candidates may be represented by counsel.
Current Chief Deputy Barry Fitzgibbons is the next sheriff of Otter Tail County. In a tight race, he edged out opponent and Fergus Falls Police Chief Kile Bergren with 49.93 percent of the vote, or 12,711 to Bergren's 49.9 percent or 12,705 votes.
The Perham City Council will keep its two incumbents, Brad Schmidt and Fred Lehmkuhl. The results are: Brad Schmidt: 41 percent, or 774 votes Fred Lehmkuhl: 35.4 percent, or 668 votes Jeffrey Fritz: 22.7 percent, or 428 votes. Schmidt complimented Fritz on his run, saying he loved to see somebody like him getting involved, and in fact it's something he wishes more people would do.
Child abuse. Spousal abuse. Sex trafficking. Labor trafficking. Child exploitation. Elder abuse. "We deal with it all," said Anita Mycke, crime advocate for Someplace Safe in Perham. "I had always heard that things like this happened around here, but not until I started working here in May did I realize it happens to the extent that it does."
Autumn has set in and the city of Perham is ready to celebrate. This year's Harvest Fest is set to be the best one yet with new featured attractions including a nearby corn maze, homemade ice cream, and chocolate bars stuffed with golden tickets straight out of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. Put on by the Perham Events Committee, Roxanne Harthan is one of the chairpersons for the festival, which is set for Friday and Saturday, Oct. 5 and 6.