Camper destroyed by fire Fire destroyed a camper at Sybil Lake, south of Vergas. The incident was reported to sheriff deputies on May 14. The Vergas fire chief, in communication with County Sheriff Administrative Lt. Keith Van Dyke, said the items lost inside the 8-by-24-foot camper totaled close to $20,000. "The camper was about 12 years old," said Van Dyke. "A neighbor heard a small explosion, saw smoke, and called authorities." Area firefighters responded to the scene of the fire. Scam averted
Chris LeClair has assumed duties as the new director for the County Land and Resources Office. He replaces the recently retired Bill Kalar. LeClair previously worked for Washington County, near St. Paul, as a senior environmental health specialist pertaining to septic inspections. His employment for the county, which includes the city of Stillwater, spanned 21.5 years. He and his family resided at nearby White Bear Lake.
A judge in Otter Tail County ordered a Stay of Imposition on March 30 for a Pelican Rapids man, 55-year-old William Donald Dayton. He will have a felony charge reduced to a misdemeanor if the he remains law abiding during a five-year probationary period. Dayton had been convicted of a felony of receiving stolen property. The offense dates back to July 8, 2017. He had pled guilty on Feb. 5, 2018. Local confinement is 30 days. Fee totals for the defendant is $660. The judge also ordered a chemical assessment through Otter Tail County Human Services.
Thefts in rural Perham, Henning Appliances were taken from a vacant dairy farm north of Perham. The incident was reported to sheriff deputies on May 9. The location of the theft was along Highway 51, near Little Pine Lake. Two gopher traps were taken from a garage south of Ottertail city and northwest of Henning. This incident was reported to authorities on May 9. Otter Tail resident scammed out of $3,000 Sheriff deputies said on May 9 that a county resident, northeast of Pelican Rapids, was scammed and has lost $3,000.
This is the time of year when organizations in Otter Tail County and the surrounding area serve smelt. Three of them were held by the Parkers Prairie Lions Club, on April 7-8; the Fergus Falls Eagles Club, on April 28; and the Ashby American Legion, on May 5. Some first timers at smelt fries are surprised when they learn that good-eating smelt only weigh about three ounces and are three to four inches in length.
County residents who overcame addiction to alcohol, through the Otter Tail County DWI Court program, conveyed their success stories to county commissioners on May 1. This was part of the 10-year recognition of the county DWI Court. "When we started here in 2008, we were one of only three counties in the state of Minnesota with a DWI Court program," said administrator Tria Mann. "Now we have 16 counties in Minnesota that have similar programs." DWI Courts have provided counseling and positive reinforcement to people convicted of DWIs.
Two garages were destroyed by fires on May 6 in different parts of Otter Tail County. One fire took place at 1:13 p.m. southeast of New York Mills and the other fire was located northeast of Perham, The fire near New York Mills took place near Highway 76. Nothing of significance was destroyed in the unattached garage. Cause of the fire is believed to be due to an improperly extinguished fire from previous days. Coming to the scene were firefighters from New York Mills and Bluffton.
County Ditch Inspector Kevin Fellbaum reported on, during a continued public hearing, the redetermination of benefits for Ditch 55 in Star Lake Township. The benefits of Ditch 55 were reduced from $494,569 to $448,190. This is part of a county ditch viewers report. Once the benefited property owners are determined, all costs incurred by the ditch system (for repairs, maintenance and inspections) are assessed back to the benefited property owners.
A teenage passenger on an ATV was injured at 6:30 p.m. on April 25 on 500th Street northeast of New York Mills, in the extreme northeastern section of Otter Tail County. Another teenager, age 16, was driving the ATV but was not injured. The injured passenger was transported by ambulance to a hospital in Park Rapids. The injures were believed to be non-life threatening. "The operator of the ATV lost control and both the driver and passenger were thrown from the ATV," said County Sheriff Administrative Lt. Keith VanDyke. "The teenagers were not wearing helmets."
Chuck Grotte is the new county highway engineer for Otter Tail County. He replaces Rick West who has assumed a new position as county public works director. Grotte, who was an assistant for West, heads operations of the county highway department. Otter Tail County is larger in size than the state of Rhode Island and paved roads total 1,062 miles. The 2018 roadway budget is $37.6 million. Toward this end, $18 million comes from the state of Minnesota through grants and $1.3 million from the federal government through grants.