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Man charged with cruelty to animals

The Mahnomen County Attorney’s Office has filed two misdemeanor charges against a Moorhead boater following an investigation by the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources.

Steven William Timm, 55, allegedly used a pontoon to chase a large buck that was swimming Tulaby Lake in Mahnomen County on Sept. 6, causing the deer to swim further out into the lake and eventually drown.

Timm is charged with one count of animal cruelty and one count of prohibited use of a motor vehicle to chase wild animals. Each carries a maximum fine of $1,000, 90 days in jail or both if convicted.

Using a motor vehicle to chase, run, or kill a wild animal is illegal with a citation issued and restitution for the illegally taken animal. A deer has a $500 restitution value, and the restitution is $1,000 if the animal is a trophy animal.
A state conservation officer was called by a citizen who witnessed Timm drive the pontoon between the deer and shoreline preventing the animal from reaching safety. The witness drove his pontoon to Timm’s location and asked why Timm had done it, but Timm responded, “What do you think I am a deer killer?”
The officer later talked to Timm who said he noticed something in the water, drove his pontoon there to investigate, and attempted to turn the deer back to shore, but the animal swam further out into the lake.
 read entire story. . . .

Pelican firefighters host open house Wednesday, Oct. 7, to kick off Oktoberfest activities

Oktoberfest kicks off Wednesday, with the annual open house hosted by the Pelican Rapids Volunteer Fire Department. The open house, including a light supper served by firefighters, will be from 4-7 p.m, Oct. 7, at the fire hall.
For a salute to the fire department, look for the Oct. 7 print edition

Pelican Rapids: Soccer Town U.S.A.

With Viking varsity soccer coming in fall 2016; city and school lay plans for three-field complex

A soccer complex, rivaling that of any similar-sized city in the state, is the vision as Pelican’s reputation as a basketball-football-baseball town extends to include soccer.
A plan to reconfigure the Brown Field site to create three soccer fields was discussed at the Pelican Rapids City Council meeting Sept. 29.
Fueling the plan is the recent announcement that the Pelican Rapids High School would front its own varsity team in 2016. Through this season, Pelican students have had a paired arrangement with Hillcrest Lutheran Academy, Fergus Falls. But in recent years, Pelican has largely dominated the starting line-up. According to Pelican high school activities director, there are nearly 25 boys out for soccer.  This is sufficient to field a varsity team now, and more participation is anticipated in coming years.  read entire story. . . .

Shakin'...All Over

Oktoberfest show will be swan song for retiring rockers ‘The Shakers’

There comes a time in careers where the end is closer than the beginning. For local band The Shakers, the beginning was a distant 28 years ago in 1987, but the end is clearly in sight.  
The Shakers have announced that their final public performance will be at Pelican Rapids’ Oktoberfest on Saturday, October 10 at the VFW. They take the stage for the final time at 8:30 p.m.
Local Shakers member Steve Babb said that between the four members of the band, they have over 250 years of performance experience and said that the band members remain the best of friends. The band is made up of Babb, Donny Miller, Dave Swang and Gary Bitzer.
“We’re not breaking up. We’re just retiring. We get along great,” said Babb.  read entire story. . . .

Pelican Valley-Children’s Corner child care collaboration launched

Facility seeking families at Riverfront day care location

A new child care option, with certification for up to 24 infants, toddlers and pre-schoolers, will be opening in Pelican Rapids.
Non-profit child care provider Children’s Corner Learning Center has forged a relationship with Pelican Valley Health Center.  Nearly the entire lower level of “Riverfront on Main” (formerly the Good Samaritan Center) has been renovated for child care. The upper level continues as assisted living facilities for the elderly.
An open house at the Pelican daycare center is scheduled for Oct. 12, 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Parents and families can learn about the various features, including the collaboration with the Mahube-Otwa Head Start program and options for child care subsidies and scholarships that help make the program more affordable for families.
Children’s Corner, which was established about 40 years ago at a time when women were increasingly entering the workforce, operates three facilities in Fergus Falls and one in Perham, according to Sue Stafki, executive director.  
 read entire story. . . .

Casino plan spurs discussion all across Otter Tail County

The proposed casino is generating discussion from the halls of Otter Tail County government to the coffee shops to the shoreline neighborhoods of Star Lake.  
The White Earth Tribal Council stated that they are planning to start construction on their third casino in Otter Tail County as soon as 2016.
“Building of a casino in this area would be absolutely devastating to all these people, many of which share my opinion related to Star Lake and the need to preserve its current, natural state,” wrote one Star Lake area resident, in a letter to Otter Tail County. The news hit the area like a thunderbolt, since nobody locally seemed to know anything about the proposed development. Otter Tail county has not granted any permits, and there was nothing on the record about the proposal.  read entire story. . . .

Great Plains files natural gas rate increase request

Great Plains Natural Gas filed a natural gas rate increase request with the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission Wednesday.
If approved, it would increase a residential customer’s monthly bill by an average of about $3 a month for customers served in the north district and approximately $5.25 per month for customers located in the south district.
Great Plains is proposing to combine the north and south rate districts as part of the rate case. The north district includes Crookston, Fergus Falls, Pelican Rapids, Vergas and Breckenridge. The company’s south district includes Dawson, Boyd, Clarkfield, Marshall, Montevideo, Granite Falls, Wood Lake, Sacred Heart, Echo, Belview, Renville, Danube and Redwood Falls.
The company’s last natural gas rate increase, which was filed in October 2004, was an overall 1.3 percent increase, effective in January 2007.  read entire story. . . .

Pelican-Maplewood-Perham trail sales pitch delivered

Representatives for projects in and near Pelican Rapids, Perham, Parkers Prairie and Henning addressed members of the Minnesota Senate Capital Bonding Committee on Sept. 29.
The gathering was held on the campus of M State, Fergus Falls.
One of the committee members is State Sen. Bill Ingebrigtsen who represents Otter Tail County in the state legislature.
Speaking on behalf of the proposed recreational trail from Pelican Rapids to Perham, running through Maplewood State Park, was County Commissioner Wayne Johnson of Pelican Rapids. Trail proponents seek $3.5 million in state dollars in 2016 and another $3.5 million in 2018.  read entire story. . . .

Hunt for Mr. and Mrs. Oktoberfest: Clues lead to Ellen Haugrud, Don Perrin

Reigning as Mr and Mrs. Oktoberfest for 2015 are Ellen Haugrud and Don Perrin, seated at center.  The hunt for the Oktoberfest Royalty has become an annual tradition in Pelican Rapids, with clues published weekly.  
Seated at far left is Peggy Gilbertson, who cracked the code that lead to Haugrud.  Seated far right, Jaime Paulson, who followed the clues to Don Perrin.
Oktoberfest committee members pictured in the back row, from left, are Mimsi Weckwerth, Winnie Mortinson, Maxine Ballard, Mary Olson and Renee Evenson.

Standing, backgrond, members of the Oktoberfest committee.

County board weighs in on debate over muskies

A person knows that muskies is a hot topic when it’s brought up more than taxes to members of the Otter Tail County Board of Commissioners.
The issue of muskies took center stage at the county board meeting on Tuesday, Sept. 22.
Even though muskies are not new to Otter Tail County, a plan to stock more muskies in county lakes in September 2016 is at the center of the current debate.
Muskies were introduced in the 1960s and 1970s to Pelican Lake, West Battle Lake and Beers Lake at Maplewood State Park.
Now, a plan by the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) calls for stocking of more muskies in one of three county lakes next year. On the list are Franklin Lake and Lake Lizzie northeast of Pelican Rapids and Loon Lake near Vergas.  read entire story. . . .

Former Muskies Inc. officer contends anti-muskie wave fueled by Pelican Lake ‘protectionists’

assault around the state.
Pelican Lake, as well as Franklin and Lizzie–which have been proposed for muskie management–have become the epicenter of the muskie debate.
Life member of Muskies Incorporated, Ron Honrud, contends that the issue is being driven by protectionist lakeshore property owners.  
“It’s propaganda; it’s a myth–that voracious muskies are eating all the walleyes on the lake,” said Honrud, a Pelican Rapids area native and seasonal resident on the Cormorant chain.  He’s not active in the organization today, but has been over the years–including as vice president. He said his views were his own, and not necessarily those of Muskies Inc.
He points to numerous studies that indicate that walleye is a very small part of the muskie diet.
The “anti-muskie” movement was launched, in large part, by some member of the Pelican Lake Property Owners Association, said Honrud.  read entire story. . . .

Maplewood: The place of the rustling leaf–and prairie grass

Ribbon cutting on acres of tall native grasses marks revitalization of habitat that once spanned Minnesota

Maplewood State Park will live up to its alternative name, “Place of the Rustling Leaf” in the coming weeks–as the fall color season begins to fully bloom.
The near 10,000 acre state park is also returning–slowly but surely–to one of its other personalities: “The Place of the Rustling Grass.”
Native prairie restoration projects, which now total nearly 600 acres with more proposed in the future, were celebrated Sept. 26 at Maplewood.  read entire story. . . .

Low test scores dominate school bd. discussion

Test scores that came in below state average in almost all grade levels were the dominant discussion at the Pelican Rapids School Board meeting Sept. 21.
“We’re not happy...We’re diligently looking at we need to know and how to get the students there,” said Superintendent Deb Wanek, following discussions at the board meeting.  “We’re trying not to leave any stone unturned.”
An overview of the test scores, which included grades 3-6 and 7, 8, 10 and 11 in reading, math and science:
Math: Pelican’s scores ranged from 4.4 percent to 21 percent below state averages.  The grade 7 math scores were actually 8.9 percent above the state average, but grade 11 students tested at 21.1 percent below the state average. At the elementary school, math scores ranged from 4 to 12 percent below state averages.  read entire story. . . .

Casino plan a surprise; officials sorting out information

The prospect of a casino, dead center in the  lakes area, could represent “the biggest economic change in Otter Tail County in the last 100 years.”
That was the assessment of Wayne Johnson, Otter Tail County Commissioner, following news that White Earth Nation plans to build a gambling, lodging and recreation complex on Star Lake–opening as soon as 2017.
“What it means environmentally; we need to be cautious,” said Johnson. But based on comments he has heard from the business community, there  is  “optimism that it could be a positive thing for Otter Tail County.”
The Star Lake casino would be the White Earth Nation's third casino under the umbrella of the Shooting Star Casino, Hotel and Entertainment company. The tribe, which already owns the Shooting Star Casino in Mahnomen, plans to finish building a casino near Bagley this spring.  read entire story. . . .