County commissioners hosted public hearings concerning ditch redetermination of benefits for Ditch 17 in Homestead and Blowers Townships, northeast of New York Mills; and Ditch 52 located in St. Olaf and Eagle Lake Townships, southeast of Dalton and south of Battle Lake.

In regard to Ditch 17, County Ditch Inspector Kevin Fellbaum reported on the properties that needed to be reexamined by the county ditch viewers.

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County staff located a culvert that was installed by the DNR in 1980 that is not functioning. The county will work with the DNR to restore the culvert to a functioning condition which should improve drainage benefits to property owners north and west of the Wildlife Management Area (WMA).

This public hearing will reconvene at 10 a.m. on Tuesday, June 4, 2019, at the County Government Services Center in Fergus Falls.

In regard to Ditch 52, the public hearing was continued from the original hearing on March 18, 2019.

Fellbaum reviewed how crop prices and production were calculated by the ditch viewers to determine land value and the reason Eagle, Middle and Torgerson Lakes were not included in the benefitted area.

At the original hearing, total benefits for Ditch 52 were reported as $1.3 million with total benefits at $861,851 after the Distance Adjustment Factor was applied.

After the crop prices adjustment, the total benefits were reported as $1.2 million with total benefits at $759,732 after the Distance Adjustment Factor is applied.

The Ditch 52 public hearing will be continued at 7 p.m., Monday, August 26.

Program works to ensure healthy families in county

Otter Tail County Public Health Director Jody Lien and Assistant Director Kristi Wentworth submitted statistics for the Partnership4Health Healthy Families America (HFA) program including Otter Tail, Clay, Becker and Wilkin counties.

The HFA program began in Minnesota in 1982 to promote child well-being through intensive home visits for at risk children.

"This program started in Otter Tail County in 1992 and requires accreditation from the HFA National Service Office," explained Lien.

She presented to county board members the Minnesota Department of Health evidenced-based home visiting grant that began May 1, 2019, with funding through December 2022.

County board members approved two additional employees, both public health nurses, to work with this program.