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Renaissance Festival

Soccer Town USA: Pelican is regional hub for global game

Soccer: A global sport for the ages–and for all ages–is fast becoming a signature for Pelican Rapids.
Reflecting Pelican’s position as a geographic hub for soccer and multi-cultural diversity are these youngsters, Omar and Tony Morelos, from the Melrose area, who traveled with their parents to the community for the summer adult league championship game August 21. Playing for the title in Pelican were a team of Somali players from the Fargo-Moorhead area, and a predominately Hispanic team from Melrose.
This is a big week for “Soccer Town USA,” with the first Viking high school soccer team taking to the turf August 27, 1 p.m. at the Chauncey Martin football field; followed the next day with the third annual Pelican American Cancer Society soccer fundraiser.     PHOTO BY LOUIS HOGLUND  read entire story. . . .

Work at feverish pace at renewed Pelican schools

By Louis Hoglund

From milk and lunch prices--to  buildings and facilities that have been significantly renovated–all the little and big details for the start of the 2016-17 school year are taking shape in Pelican Rapids.
“What we did with $22  to $23 million is amazing,” said  building superintendent Trevor Steeves, as he led the Pelican school board on a tour of the new gym, auditorium, science rooms and renovated hallways.  “Every improvement has been important, not just lipstick.”
Superintendent Deb Wanek said she is anxious to host an open house for the general public–but a date has not been set. “There have been some snags here and there,” said Wanek, “But we’re excited to show it off.”
“Substantial completion”of the project will be  reached by school start, which is Sept. 6, but there will be dozens of small projects remaining, said Wanek.
The new gym, for example, cannot be used until state inspectors sign off on a certificate of occupancy. The bleachers and seating for the gym were being installed last week. The first home volleyball games of the season will be held in the existing, “Legends” gym.  read entire story. . . .

OT Lake Coalition honors Lida’s John McMillen as Volunteer of Year

By Tom Hintgen
Otter Tail County Correspondent

The Otter Tail County Coalition of Lake Associations (COLA) has honored John McMillen, past president of the Lake Lida Property Owners Association, east of Pelican Rapids, with the Volunteer of the Year award
The award was presented Thursday evening, Aug. 18, during COLA’s gathering at the community room in Ottertail
“John has spent more than 200 hours at our public boat access, distributing aquatic species information,” said Peggy Peterson who nominated McMillen for the award. “He also spearheaded the effort that resulted in the training of six volunteer boat inspectors.”
McMillen has given presentations on how lake property owners can create buffers along their shoreline, and also how rainwater can be collected to prevent runoff.
“John has a passion for protecting our lake, and wants to educate others to see the benefits of native plantings as lakeshore buffers,” said Peterson.  read entire story. . . .

Presidential candidates on hand for Duke’s  Cormorant inauguration

It was Duke the Dog’s third inauguration as “mayor” of Cormorant Village and this year, the occasion attracted two special guests with international notoriety.
Pictured with Duke, who won the election 52-3, are Hillary Clinton, left, and Donald Trump, after the pooch was sworn in August 20 during Cormorant Daze. (Playing the role of the presidential candidates, Mary Rappa and Kath Thom.) Preventing Duke from a total, unanimous landslide vote were two ballots for an ordinary human–and one ballot cast for Lassie.
Background, Duke’s “publicist” David Rick and Cormorant Township officer Steve Sorenson, who swore in Duke. The Great White Pyrenese, a familiar sight in Cormorant, captured international attention when the Cormorant community elected Duke mayor as a gag.

‘Bridging the Gap’

Pedestrian traffic was constant in Cormorant as new bridge introduced to masses at summer festival

The centerpiece of the 2016 Cormorant Daze celebration August 20 was the new bridge, connecting the village’s “uptown and downtown.”
Hordes of visitors walked the pedestrian bridge, from the community center to the Kiddeland Amusement Park, car show, retail stores and other activities on the east side.
A decorative fountain was also added to the wetland.  Heavy rains on August 18 turned the park area into a muddy landscape. Superior Lakeside went to work on Friday, putting down beds of straw and string mesh for dry walking area’s–before visitors swarmed into the village Saturday.
Also pictured at the bridge, Cormorant clowns Jo Downs and Nick Bates.
The Cormorant Township Board completed the bridge, along with landscaping and beautification, for about $50,000.
“Bridging the Gap” was the theme for the 2016 Cormorant Daze, and limited edition t-shirts were created with the slogan–and image of the the bridge and Mayor Duke, the famous dog that has been voted to the post in three consecutive gag elections.  read entire story. . . .

Early morning walk-run in rural  Cormorant was for a healthy cause

Area Special Olympics athletes and Global Missions benefitted from the annual Cormorant Daze 5K Run/Walk on August 20.
About 40 participants enjoyed a back road trek out of Cormorant Village, on a pleasant–but slightly cool morning.
Cormorant Lutheran Church hosts the event annually as a fundraiser.

Election 2016 New candidate seeks school seat; ballots set for city, hospital district

Ballots for local elections are coming into focus, following the August 16 filing deadline.
For the first time in several election cycles, there will be a contested Pelican Rapids School Board race.
Four candidates have filed for three open seats.
Challenging the three incumbents is Anne Peterson.
Meanwhile, three current board members all filed for re-election: Michael Forsgren, Jon Karger and Mitch Monson.
Question on clerk will be on Dunn Twsp. ballot
In Dunn Township, there are no contests for four elected positions.
However, township voters will have a question on the ballot.  The question will determine whether the board can appoint a clerk as a staff position, rather than the conventional election of a clerk.  
Specifically, the ballot question will read: “Shall Option B, providing for the appointment of the clerk by the town board, be adopted for the government of the town?”
Until the vote on the clerk question is determined, Doug Winter has filed and will be on the Dunn ballot.  
Meanwhile, incumbent Dunn Township supervisors Bob Dalman and David Johnson will run unopposed for the two elected supervisor seats. The lone filing for township treasurer was incumbent Sue Peplnjak.
Five file for six seats on  read entire story. . . .

County makes strides to stop spread of AIS

By Tom Hintgen
Otter Tail County Correspondent

“Stop Aquatic Hitchhikers: Clean, Drain Dry” is a sign in place near Swan Lake and other lakes throughout Otter Tail County.
County AIS Specialist Spencer McGrew, making a recent stop at Swan Lake, is proud of the Otter Tail County Aquatic Invasive Species (AIS) Task Force, lake associations and county residents in general who are working hard to stop the spread of invasive species.
Since 2012 Otter Tail County, led by the County Board of Commissioners in association with the AIS Task Force and area lake associations, has taken the lead in the fight against aquatic invasive species.
Boaters and fishermen throughout Otter Tail County, residents and visitors alike, have the responsibility to inspect boats, trailers and equipment and remove visible aquatic plants, zebra mussels and mud.
“The next step, before leaving a lake, is to drain water from boats, motors and livewells,” said McGrew. “Boat owners also are urged to perform water draining away from boat ramps.
“Lake water stays at the lake. Subsequent steps include disposing of unwanted live bait and worms in the trash.”  read entire story. . . .

Turkey Milestones

George Gorton: 50 years with turkeys

Father’s death in 1966 ended ‘California Dreamin’ as young Gorton returned home to
guide family turkey business

By Louis Hoglund

The Beach Boys were in the recording studio, putting finishing touches on the soon-to-be huge radio hit “Good Vibrations.” That was when George Gorton, a Minnesota transplant to sunny Calfornia, received the sad call from his former home in Pelican Rapids.  
There couldn’t have been a better time to be  “California  Dreamin’” than the summer of 1966.
The news from the homefront: His father Thomas Gorton died. It was August 6. And...somebody had to run the turkey farm back in Pelican Rapids.
“I was on the west coast working with my brother. It was Monterey, which was like heaven on earth,” laughed George.  “I left that to come back to the turkey farm.”
Five decades later, George is still on the farm–and marking a 50-year milestone in the turkey business.
“We love Pelican...We’ve had a great life here,” said Gorton. Turkeys provided a comfortable living, and the Gortons raised their family here, including son John and daugher Elaine Kelly, both Pelican graduates.
But the truth is: “I had no intention of entering the turkey business,” said Gorton, who graduated from Pelican Rapids High School in 1961. After attending Jamestown College, where he met his wife Sharon, Gorton went west to work with his brother, who operated a construction firm in the Monterey area. “My career was going to be joining my brother in construction.”  read entire story. . . .

Jennie-O: 75th birthday party at plant

By Louis Hoglund

It’s a year of celebration for two of Minnesota’s best-known food brands: Jennie-O turkey is marking its 75th year and Hormel, its 125th.
Both companies were born in Minnesota, and became part of the same corporation when Hormel bought Jennie-O in 2001.
Joining the circuit of parties was Pelican Rapids, where the West Central Turkeys Jennie-O plant converted its parking lot to a carnival midway and picnic grounds.
More than 1,000 were served–including most of the 725 employees at the Pelican Rapids operation. Their families joined, too, as children, moms and dads enjoyed the August 11 event.
The plant even interrupted production for part of the day, which gave virtually all of the employees and their families time to enjoy the picnic.
Workers had the opportunity to drench their bosses and supervisors, taking tosses at the dunk tank feature.  
Standing a safe distance from the dunk tank–at least early in the afternoon–were plant manager Todd Kampstra  and president of the entire 7,000-employee Jennie-O company, Glenn Leitch. No neckties or dark suits for these executives at the 75th celebration picnic.  read entire story. . . .

Inn at Dunvilla

Doors opened for public

By Louis Hoglund

The Inn at Dunvilla opened the doors to the general public August 11–the front doors as well as the entrances to 30 hotel units.
Long anticipated in the greater Pelican lake country, the Inn is modern in accommodations–but steeped in the past in its interior design and art selections.
The rich resort, hospitality and recreation history of the Dunvilla and Lake Lizzie areas is evident in the lobby and all 30 of the units–with photos of the old Dunn Lodge resort, images of Pelican Rapids, vintage Minnesota tourism posters, and lake scenes from throughout the area.
The first guests were accommodated in early August, including 15 rooms occupied for We Fest Weekend.  By August 12, the Inn was almost fully booked, said Linda Grefsrud, who owns and operates with her husband John.
Construction delays and complications stalled the originally-planned June opening. The pool and spa area is not open yet, but virtually every other room was open for viewing, as a large crowd of visitors toured the Inn at a special open house August 11.
Landscaping work will continue through the fall, said Linda.
“We have reservations through the entire year,” she added. “We are really excited to be this busy right away.”  read entire story. . . .

Lida owner cut deep road to lake–with no permit

Otter Tail County will likely seek reclamation, restoration to prevent erosion, run-off to lake

By Louis Hoglund

A Lake Lida property owner who carved a passage through the woods and down to the lakefront–without a permit–will be required to stabilize and restore the site.
Trees and brush were removed, a bluff altered and a path excavated at depths of up to four feet at the lot, in the Cross Point Lane area of South Lida.
A “deep ravine” is how one Lida neighbor described the pathway; “wide enough for a pickup truck to easily drive on it.”
Also at issue is a small cabin that was placed near the shoreline.
“I will be outraged if this owner is not required to remove the cabin and restore the bluff to its original state,” wrote Sonja Jenson to the Otter Tail County Planning and Zoning Commission.
Runoff and erosion is not only flooding into the lake, but also on her property, said Leslie Kisch, an adjacant neighbor at the Aug. 10 meeting in Fergus Falls.
Another Lida resident Jim Shipp, who is a real estate broker and longtime Lida property owner, described it as among the most extreme cases of lake lot and shore alteration he had ever encountered.
A notice was posted on the lot June 27, that states in effect that all further action  or site work on the lot be halted–by order of the Otter Tail Land and Resource Management office.
The ten member planning commission evidently agreed, because members voted unanimously and with little discussion.
On the table was a request from the lot owner, Keith Holland, for an “after the fact” conditional use permit for topographic alteration and lake access.
Holland said he did not realize he needed a permit for the lake access path, which is now about 195 feet long and six to seven feet wide. A bluff  was also altered to accommodate the small building and lake access.  read entire story. . . .