County commissioners, on Jan. 2, convened two public meetings on feedlot expansions, on behalf of the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA). County board members reminded attendees that testimony summaries are sent to the MPCA in St. Paul, with final decisions made at the state level and not the county level. The MPCA is responsible for issuing permits for proposed feedlot expansions.
Sheriff deputies reported that five John Deere tractors were destroyed Dec. 31 in a fire on the north side of Prairie Lake, north of Pelican Rapids. The location was close to 450th Street and the time of the fire was 11:41 a.m. "Our office and first responders received a report of a shed on fire. The owner had a tractor block heater plugged in and when he went outside to start a tractor he noticed flames," said County Sheriff Administrative Lt. Keith Van Dyke. Attempts to get other tractors out of the shed were unsuccessful and the fire consumed the shed.
The year 2018 will be very special for Otter Tail County as residents celebrate the county's 150th anniversary, dating back to 1868. An exhibit will open on Feb. 9 at the Otter Tail County museum (historical society) on the west side of Fergus Falls. The first group of non-Native American settlers, Cutlerites, came to Clitherall Lake in the spring of 1865 to become permanent settlers. About 35 men, women and children made the trip from Manti, Iowa, on May 6. A second group arrived on July 31.
Otter Tail County commissioners have responded to opposition to proposed wind and solar projects in Scambler and Dunn townships, north of Pelican Rapids. Commissioners expressed disappointment in seeing opposition to the projects from townships, lake property owners and lake associations. The concerns of county board members will be addressed by the County Public Works Committee.
A Perham area resident was scammed and lost $9,000, thinking there would be a large inheritance. Sheriff deputies on Dec. 29 said they have suspects in mind. Authorities warn residents of Otter Tail County to beware of people who contact you posing as attorneys or banking personnel, saying you are entitled to a large inheritance from a distant relative or wealthy individual. A county resident could be provided with fake bank statements, birth certificates and other fake documents if one questions the legitimacy of the offer.
Sheriff deputies again warn county residents not to fall for what's widely known as "the grandparent scam." The potential scam starts when a caller calls a county resident to say his or her grandchild is in trouble, and possibly in jail," says County Sheriff Administrative Lt. Keith Van Dyke. "The next thing the caller says is that your grandchild needs money. This should raise a red flag," says Van Dyke. Because most grandparents have tender hearts when it comes to their beloved grandchildren, a first tendency is to help.
Residents of Otter Tail County, and those who live farther away, can and should take advantage of winter travels to Maplewood State Park east of Pelican Rapids and to Glendalough State Park northeast of Battle Lake. The trips are well worth it, whether it's just for drives through these state parks to admire winter beauty or stopping to take part in many winter activities. These locations are popular for hikers, cross-country skiers and others.
Tax forfeited lands, HRA policies reviewed County commissioners, on Dec. 19, met with representatives of the Housing and Redevelopment Authority (HRA) to discuss tax forfeited land and the role of the HRA in acquiring properties to assist low-income families. In many counties in Minnesota, Otter Tail County included, tax-forfeited properties, acquired by the HRA, are converted into affordable housing.
Truck falls through ice at Marion Lake A truck fell through ice near the public access at Marion Lake, southwest of Perham, at 10:37 a.m. on Dec. 25. There were no injuries, since the driver and passenger were not in the vehicle when it crashed through the ice. The exact location was near Kleins Drive. Thieves linked to two county burglaries
Man pulled from icy waters at Walker Lake A man was pulled from cold water at Walker Lake, just north of Otter Tail Lake, after his snowmobile crashed through thin ice on Dec. 16 close to noon. Ottertail city rescue crews pulled the man, Hubert Hovland, out of the water and transported him to the hospital in Perham. "The victim had been in the water for about a half hour and suffered severe hypothermia," said County Sheriff Administrative Lt. Keith Van Dyke.