The County Board of Commissioners, on Feb. 27 and acting on behalf of the Prairie Lakes Municipal Solid Waste Joint Powers Board, approved the sale of $1.06 million in general obligation waste disposal revenue bonds. This followed a competitive sales process and relates to improvements at the multi-county owned refuse burner in Perham. The low bid of 2.87 percent, covering repayment over 10 years, came from Hutchinson, Shockley, Erley and Company of Chicago. This was coordinated by county bond consultant Nick Anhut of Ehlers and Associates of St. Paul.
County commissioners and county employees, on Feb. 27, met in Fergus Falls with representatives of the Minnesota Department of Human Services staff to discuss psychiatric residential treatment facility services. The main issue was use of the Community Addiction Recovery Enterprise (CARE) building in northwest Fergus Falls. The building is currently not being utilized for chemical dependency treatment services. Clinicare has interest in providing Psychiatric Residential Treatment (PRT) services in the Fergus Falls facility.
Final payment to contractors for the addition of five new holding cells at the county jail, and the addition of a new elevator, has been submitted in the amount of $116,324. County commissioners were told that the overall project came in under budget. The final figure is $1.16 million, well below the original budget of $1.30 million. "We only had two change orders," said Terry Hoff, Otter Tail County's physical plant manager. Commissioners praised Hoff and county employees along with the architect, project manager and contractors for a job well done.
Minnesota's Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) is a program to help low-income families stretch their household food budgets. For a family in Otter Tail County, SNAP is not intended to meet all of the household's foods needs. Rather, it is a supplement. Reviewing this program at the county board meeting on Feb. 13 were Cheryl Ranum and Stacy Shebeck, financial assistance supervisors for Otter Tail County, along with County Human Services Director Deb Sjostrom.
Sheriff deputies reported on Feb. 19 that a Richville man died after paraskiing on West Battle Lake on Saturday, Feb. 17. The man was identified as 64-year-old Dennis Stanford of Richville, a community located southwest of Perham. "He was found unconscious and unresponsive on the ice," said County Sheriff Administrative Lt. Keith Van Dyke. "It was not immediately known whether he had a medical event or if there was an accident while paraskiing." Stanford was wearing safety equipment, including a helmet.
A felony conviction of use of a dangerous weapon for Melvin Alan Spooner, 25, of New York Mills, will be reduced to a misdemeanor if he remains law abiding under probation for four years. The judge ruled this procedure as part of a stay of imposition for Spooner during a Feb. 1 court hearing in Fergus Falls. He pled guilty on Nov. 13, 2017. The original case dates back to Dec. 31, 2016. Local confinement in the county jail, Fergus Falls, is 30 days which Spooner began serving on Feb. 1. Work release was part of his sentence.
The Prairie Lakes Municipal Solid Waste Joint Powers Board, which includes representative from Otter Tail County and four neighboring counties, will acquire and install an evaporator and complete related improvements at the refuse burner in Perham. The project will be financed through debt obligations issued by Otter Tail County. Terms include up to $1.1 million of general obligation bonds to be issued by Otter Tail County to finance the project.
A drug bust took place Saturday afternoon, Feb. 10, about 1:30 p.m. near the Big Chief truck stop south of Fergus Falls, close to Interstate 94. County sheriff deputies referred media outlets to the State Highway Patrol. Later, area news outlets reported that State Patrol officers, with k-9 dog assistance, checked a vehicle and removed 13 to 15 garbage bags believed to be containing marijuana. Witnesses said a vehicle had Oregon license plates. Two people, a man and woman, were handcuffed and taken away in a State Highway Patrol vehicle.
Sheriff deputies reported five seasonal cabin break-ins on the southwest side of South Turtle Lake, east of Underwood. County Sheriff Administrative Lt. Keith Van Dyke said the break-ins likely took place between late Sunday evening, Feb. 4, and early Tuesday morning, Feb. 6. The location was along Birch Loop and Oakdale Road. "Some of the cabins were vandalized, in addition to the thefts," said Van Dyke. The investigation was continuing as of Wednesday morning, Feb. 7.
Fergus Falls-based West Central Initiative, always keeping an open mind to new ideas, has launched "Live Wide Open" which showcases opportunities for rewarding careers in Otter Tail County and other areas of west central Minnesota. "Live Wide Open" can mean opening up one's capacity to do what you love or what you've always dreamed of doing, says West Central Initiative Communications Director Sheri Booms Holm. "There are a lot of opportunities for work and for starting your business in west central Minnesota," she points out.