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$5.6 million Pelican Valley project  to proceed with Bremer as lender

Renovation and expansion projects at Pelican Valley Health Center, totalling about $5.6 million, moved another step foward last week.
A lender for the project was approved by the Pelican Valley Hospital District Board, at an April 8 special meeting.
A $1.8 million addition; $1.8 million remodeling  of existing rooms;  a new boiler and renovated kitchen are among the improvements.
Bremer Bank was selected as the the preferred lender, based on an interest rate of 2.27 percent–locked in for the first five years. The rate ranges up to 3.9 percent in the first ten years–depending on trends.
Also submitting proposals were Minnesota National Bank, which proposed a  higher rate of 2.6 percent for the first five years.  Bell Bank also presented a proposal, with a base interest rate  of 2.87 percent, with market-based adjustments after five years.  read entire story. . . .

Freeze-up threat; heavy water flow

City to share cost of March water bills for a few high-volume users
About a dozen property owners with unusually high water bills will receive some relief from the Pelican Rapids City Council.
Property owners with water lines at risk of freezing were urged to run their faucet continuously during March as a preventative measure.  
One of those homeowners, Pete Hart, had the local record:  He ran a pencil-width stream of water in March, which totalled 50,000 gallons.
In reviewing the 900-some accounts on city water, there were fewer than a dozen that were unusually high, the Pelican council learned at the April 8 meeting.  read entire story. . . .

Pelican native Rogelstad named new president of Otter Tail Power

Tim Rogelstad, a 1985 graduate of Pelican Rapids High School, was named the new president of Otter Tail Power Company on Monday, April 14. The announcement took place during the Otter Tail Corporation annual meeting of shareholders in Fergus Falls.
Rogelstad, who has been serving OTP as Vice President of Asset Management, succeeds Chuck MacFarlane who was promoted to the corporate level as President and Chief Operating Officer (COO). A year from now, MacFarlane will succeed Jim McIntyre as president and Chief Executive Office (CEO) of Otter Tail Corporation.  read entire story. . . .

DNR: Wet, snowy conditions will require temporary road and trail closures

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources will need to close many roads and trails temporarily in state forests, state parks, recreation areas and wildlife management areas, due to wet, snowy conditions. Road and trail conditions are deteriorating rapidly this spring, and many are not yet firm enough to support vehicle traffic without being damaged. The temporary closures could remain in effect until sometime in May, depending on weather conditions.

“These are normal spring closures that happen when roads and trails become wet and fragile,” said Richard Peterson, recreation program coordinator for the DNR’s Forestry Division. “We ask that people use good judgment, obey the closures and frequently check the DNR website for updates.”
 read entire story. . . .

Cub Scouts  take to the track for annual  Pinewood Derby

Obsessed kids–and dads–rolled out their ingenuity and industrious spirit at the annual Pack 313 Pinewood Derby race April 12.
The derby is an annual father-son Cub Scout project, as they work on car design and aerodynamics for weeks ahead of the race.  
Above, a view trackside at the event–which was hosted at the Pelican Rapids Fire Hall.  There were 16 racers in total with about 75 spectators.  
At left, Tanner Nelson and Cale Richardson, who took first among the Wolf Pack Cub Scouts.  
The fastest car honor went to the entry created by Dakota Pare and his father Wes.  Pare and another parent Scott Richardson were two of the parents active in organizing the annual event this year.

Topics diverse, crowd small for  Pelican school input session

Report on school’s future to be presented at April 30 board meeting
Improving academics; more emphasis on vocational education; and in general an emphasis on reading, writing and arithmitic.
Those were among the objectives identified by a small group of Pelican Rapids area residents who attended the strategic planning meeting April 12.
Community input is being sought as school officials plan a vision for the future.  Attendance was light at the Saturday morning session, as a small group of seven discussed positives, negatives, priorities for the schools.  read entire story. . . .

Road upkeep at  ‘crisis stage'

Otter Tail road meeting draws large crowd for discussion in Pelican
The “road show” returned to Pelican Rapids April 10, as Otter Tail County continued on its second tour of the county to gather input on the future of the deteriorating road network.
The session in Pelican Rapids was well attended, with more than 50 in the audience–similar numbers to the first session back in January.
The county is hiring a consultant, and will be preparing a 20 year plan for Otter Tail’s roads, according to Wayne Johnson, county commissioner representing the Pelican area.  The 20 year plan is expected to be completed by early 2015.  read entire story. . . .

Ditch analysis lists Dead Lake  as a priority for Otter Tail County

Benefits of ditches in Otter Tail County, from time to time, need to be re-determined. This is done so that county officials know what lands are benefitted from the ditches and who will pay for future maintenance and upkeep.
Ditches 23 and 28, in the Dead Lake area, and Ditch 15 in Maine Township, will have priority with re-determination. That’s because they are downstream from Ditch 25.
An outlet plan for Little McDonald, Kerbs and Paul lakes, west of Perham, ties into Ditch 25.
This topic was reviewed Tuesday, April 1, during the weekly meeting of the Otter Tail County Board of Commissioners. Addressing the five-person county board was County Ditch Inspector Kevin Fellbaum.  read entire story. . . .

Public input meetings set  on county water management plan

Otter Tail County is seeking input from its resident’s on Priority Concern’s for the update of the County’s Local Water Management Plan.   The purpose of the Local Water Management Plan is to evaluate the quality of our surface and ground water resources and identify the existing and potential hazards to these resources.  
Once these priority concerns are identified the plan will be amended to address the current problems and to prevent future problems.  read entire story. . . .

Otter Tail Human Services  annual budget is $17.3 million

Human Services is one of 18 county departments serving 57,581 residents of Otter Tail County. The focus is to help fellow citizens who are most in need.
“Many people in need of services often are children or the elderly,” said Interim Human Services Director Deb Sjostrom to county board members on Tuesday, April 8. “We estimate that 12.2 percent of county residents live at or below the poverty level.”  read entire story. . . .

AgCountry Farm Credit donates to area food pantries

AgCountry Farm Credit Services has donated over $14,000 toward hunger relief efforts in eastern North Dakota and northwest and west central Minnesota.
The Fergus Falls office made a contribution to the Fergus Falls Community Food Shelf, Battle Lake Food Shelf, Henning Community Food Shelf, Pelican Rapids Community Food, Prairie Food Shelf, Perham Area Food Shelf, Staples Area Food Shelf, Wadena Project Share Food Shelf and New York Mills Area Food Shelf.  This is the 24th year AgCountry FCS has donated funds to local hunger relief efforts.  read entire story. . . .

Interstate 94 bridge work near Fergus Falls begins April 14

Motorists on Interstate 94 northwest of Fergus Falls will experience lane closures and possible delays beginning Monday, April 14, weather permitting.
Crews will reconstruct the westbound bridge deck on I-94 over Otter Tail County Road 21.
For approximately two weeks, motorists will experience lane closures while crews prepare the work site.
For the remainder of the project, all traffic on I-94 will shift to the eastbound lanes while crews reconstruct the westbound bridge.  read entire story. . . .

April 21 – 25 is Severe Weather Awareness Week

“What If….?” Thinking it through now could be a life saver later
After the long cold winters and relatively short mild summers of the past few years, many people have simply forgotten how to react when severe weather warnings and events occur. But taking just a few moments to remind ourselves now can save time – and possibly lives – when it really matters. And Otter Tail County Emergency Management is here to help!  read entire story. . . .