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.
A judge in Otter Tail County ordered Stay of Impositions in late January for three area residents who had faced felony convictions. Each of the three will have a felony charge reduced to a misdemeanor if the person remains law abiding during a probationary period. Amy King, 20, of Underwood, received a Stay of Imposition on Jan. 29 related to a felony conviction of theft and transfer of movable property. The offense dates back to Jan. 4, 2017.
County commissioners were informed on Feb. 6 that deconstruction (selective dismantlement) of the now-empty Fergus Falls Regional Treatment Center (RTC) will commence this winter. The good news, according to Fergus Falls City Administrator Andrew Bremseth, is that the city plans to keep the main tower as a permanent reminder of the community's history. To the west of the landmark tower is the County Government Services Center. "We appreciate hearing first hand about your plans," said County Board Chairman Wayne Johnson to Bremseth.
Sheriff deputies reported that two vehicles crashed through thin ice on Otter Tail Lake Saturday evening. Feb. 3. One incident took place on the north side of the lake and the other on the south side. Occupants of both vehicles were able to escape, unharmed. The first incident took place near open water at 9:37 p.m. on the north side of Otter Tail Lake, near Walker Lake. The second incident took place at 11:11 p.m. near Balmoral and near the intersection of Highways 78 and 128. Alcohol was a factor in the vehicle incident on the north side of the lake.
County commissioners voted to to approve an agreement between the University of Minnesota and Otter Tail County to support an additional 4-H Program Coordinator position and a .2 full-time equivalent master gardener position. The resolution came from Commissioner Doug Huebsch of Perham and was seconded by Commissioner John Lindquist of Dalton. AIS funding requests approved Approved by county commissioners were two motions related to the fight against Aquatic Invasive Species (AIS).
The Otter Tail County Aquatic Invasive Species (AIS) Task Force continues to take a proactive approach in stopping the spread of invasives throughout the county. The task force already is making plans for summer 2018. Two of the main enemies are Zebra Mussels which attach themselves to boats and Starry Stonewort which grows into dense mats than can cover surfaces of shallow water.
Each year Otter Tail County's Emergency Operations Plan is updated to reflect the most current information and to enhance existing information, documentation and practices. And each year the plan, through County Emergency Manager Patrick Waletzko, is brought to the county board's Internal Services Committee for review and later on to the full county board for approval.