Stories in the Rear View Mirror

Delta Daggett

I just finished reading the August 23rd issue of the Frazee-Vergas Forum. This privately owned paper is another issue chock full of local news. Perham and Detroit Lakes used to have good locally-owned papers, but are now owned by Forum Publishing in Fargo. Advertising will keep Frazee-Vergas Forum locally-owned.

The Frazee-Vergas Forum headline story is the sale and September reopening of the Palace Cafe. The way it was worded almost sounds like the Streiffs are charitably willing to keep the café going. No folks, they need to make a profit and will need community support to keep the doors open.  Specials like hamburger nights filled the café for the past owner. I am told the Loon’s Nest in Vergas has pie and coffee specials in the afternoons. My belly does not need any more pie, but Carmel Roll Thursdays or Cinnamon Roll Tuesdays in Frazee would bring me to town. This couple has lots of restaurant experience. Now they are making an investment with their commitment and experience. We all hope they will be successful. Another business stays locally-owned.

Every town needs a café, gas station, grocery store, hardware store, drug store, a bar, post office and bank. The basics. Frazee has many extras that serve the locals and bring people in, a clinic, lumber yard, Ketters, Backyard Station, insurance and real estate agents, barber and beauticians, used car dealer, repair and body shops. Now an exercise facility is catching on. A couple more stores would help keep the main street busy. How about a bakery?

I was parked in front of Seip Drug Store for 15 minutes one day while Karen was in the store and post office. I was surprised as to how much traffic passed through that intersection. Out of town truck traffic on highway 87 and car traffic from all directions. Most vehicles obeyed the stop signs. None blew the stop and sailed through at speeds. But many cars and pickups just made rolling stops, maybe having bad brakes. The local mechanics should run some brake specials.

Be prepared for new congestion at the intersection under construction of Hwy 87 and county Road 10 near Anderson Bus. Anybody that has watched trucks, buses and campers make a turn can see this will be a challenge for them. Right hand turns will take up both lanes of each turning lane. Left hand turns will also be tight. If a truck is turning, stay back or your fender might be kissed by a truck tire.

The Highway District Office in Detroit Lakes was contacted about making some changes, but in the response we’re told the project is behind schedule and over budget already so unable and unwilling to do so.

When the construction is done, trucks will be encouraged to drive straight ahead through a residential area to the highway 10 overpass, rather than leave town on a rural county road which most drivers prefer. 

Ted Anderson was told the intersection was designed that way because of the new walking/biking trail that will be passing through Frazee. That has produced much disruption in town. Businesses losing parking spaces and now this intersection design. I think trucks have contributed more to our local economy than any walker/biker will. But who knows, that might change in the coming years.

The hiking/biking trails will bring people to town. We do not have to go get them, they are coming on their own because of the trails. Frazee should take advantage of this opportunity.  They will be thirsty, hungry and need to use a restroom.

The Hostel Hornet (Baer Building) is the perfect location for a Hostel – rest stop with the trail running past the front door. If this historic building can be renovated to include a healthy juice/sandwich bar with fresh fruit could become a destination stop for area hikers/bikers. Herbal tea and latte machines, long and round tables so people could sit and exchange stories about their experiences. Another place to become a local gathering place. Snowmobile routes could be designated in town for winter enthusiasts with beer, snacks and sandwiches. Hot chocolate and wine for cross country skiers. A place for card players when the golf course is closed. Hikers/bikers are enthused about their activities.  

Grandson Ian Andersen, (Mark and Polly) biked from Prudow Bay, Alaska to the most southern city in South America several years ago. The journey took him 16 months and several flat tires.  His next trip is planned for January 2023, starting in Cape Town, South Africa, then heading north. I am proud that he self funds his travels through savings and bikes with no support vehicle.

The North Country trail passes through Frazee. This is the longest hiking trail in the U.S. and runs between Vermont and central North Dakota on a circuitous route. Crossing New York to Southern Ohio, then up through Michigan and the Upper Peninsula of Michigan before heading west towards Duluth and then almost to the South Dakota border before heading north again.    

Long distance hikers on this type of trail need showers, bunks and washer-dryers as they are usually self supporting travelers. Frazee could become an oasis on their journey. 

These ideas sound weird now but might actually work in the future. The more people that visit Frazee, the better chance they will visit our local stores.

We all know the taxes a car pays for the roads and I know how much trucks pay. Hiking/ biking trails are paid by the state which gets its revenue from taxpayers. So, we all pay for the trails. The Highway Departments get stuck for some of the costs. People that live along Acorn Lake have told me they are disappointed by the trash, bottles and wrappers that are discarded along the trail in front of their homes. If people put out trash cans, as Gary Ware did for many years at the Wymer/Graham lake culvert, they might be used.

The Forum issue contained a letter from a lady in New York Mills as to how bad Trump is and how much he lies. Hey, it is easy to tell when any politician lies – their mouth is moving! Think about it, the aggressive countries in the world, Russia, China, North Korea, Iran, Cuba are all led by bullies. Do we want to be bullied or do we want a bigger bully to speak for us.

Good story and picture on the back page about how the small staff at the Forum keeps the paper operating. The Koenens are lucky to have found Robert and Carly. Glad they are here.