Jacob Payson, 35, and Cameron Hanson, 37, put their own lives at risk when they rescued a man who had fallen into open water Dec. 6, 2018, at Wall Lake east of Fergus Falls. Leon Engelhart, 65, had been riding his 4-wheeler when it fell through the ice close to 10:30 p.m. Hanson jumped into the water, grabbed onto Engelhart, and pulled him to the edge of the ice where they both were assisted by Payson. First responders later assisted the men at the lake access.
Sheriff deputies reported thefts called in on Jan. 8, one near Battle Lake and the others near New York Mills and Perham. The theft near Battle Lake was reported from a location on the east side of West Battle Lake. Several items were taken from a portable fish house. Total value of the items was an estimated $1,000. Thieves took items from a vacant farmhouse north of New York Mills, west of Highway 67 in Homestead Township. The location is also east of Big Pine Lake.
Sheriff deputies reported that a man, unaware that his truck was in reverse, exited the vehicle. The ice fisherman slipped on the ice and then the vehicle rolled on top of his legs, pinning them underneath the front driver-side wheel. The victim, on the west side of Otter Tail Lake, was able to use his cell phone and dial 911. His leg injuries were non-life-threatening and he was taken to Lake Region Healthcare in Fergus Falls. The victim was 70-year-old Gary Anderson of Battle Lake. The accident took place close to 2 p.m. on Jan. 9.
Otter Tail County Human Services Supervisor Michelle Fischer, Lead Worker Jenny Krueger and Long-Term Care (LTC) social workers and public health nurses presented the 2017 LTC and MnCHOICES Annual Report to county commissioners. The county contracts with Blue Plus and UCARE health plans to provide care coordination for the elderly and nursing facility recipients on medical assistance.
New County Sheriff Barry Fitzgibbons took the oath of office at noon on Jan. 8 from Judge Barbara Hanson. The ceremony was held during the meeting of the Otter Tail County Board of Commissioners at the Otter Tail County Government Services Center in northwest Fergus Falls.
Pickup strikes bridge north of Rush Lake The driver of a pickup lost control of his vehicle north of Rush Lake on Jan. 1 and collided with a bridge over the Otter Tail River. Sheriff deputies said the driver of the pickup, 36-year-old James Ritter of Perham, was not injured but there was minor damage to the bridge. There was moderate damage to the pickup which was owned by Steve's Sanitation of Perham.
County Commissioner Doug Huebsch of Perham, back right, was elected on Jan. 8 as chairperson of the county board of commissioners for 2019. Elected vice chair for 2019 was Commissioner Lee Rogness of Fergus Falls, lower right. Back left is Commissioner Wayne Johnson of Pelican Rapids. Front left are Commissioners John Lindquist of Dalton and Betty Murphy of Maine Township.
Tordenskjold Township, southeast of Underwood, was named in honor of Peder Tordenskjold, a renowned Norwegian admiral who lived in the late 1600s and early 1700s. Otter Tail County residents who visit Scandinavia will see the name Tordenskjold displayed at various locations. He was a veteran of military battles and was honored by Norway's King Frederick IV in 1716.
One injured in ATV mishap Sheriff deputies reported that one person was injured Dec. 23 in an ATV accident north of Parkers Prairie. The accident and injury took place at 4:38 p.m. near Highway 6. Injured was 30-year-old Amanda Dahlbeck of Blomkest, Minn., south of Willmar.
The year 2018 was another successful year for the Otter Tail County Coalition of Lake Associations (COLA). This was especially true with water quality sampling and analysis. "Thanks to COLA members and dedicated volunteers who take the samples, the data from 2009 to 2018 has been compiled, analyzed and now has been integrated into a multi-year trend analysis report for each member lake," said COLA spokesman John Kruse to members of the County Board of Commissioners on Dec. 18.