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County Veterans Services upgrades programs

By Tom Hintgen
Otter Tail County Correspondent

Charlie Kampa, County Veterans Service officer, addressed the county board of commissioners and said he and his staff in Fergus Falls and New York Mills continue to upgrade their services to the veterans in Otter Tail County.
Kampa and his staff assist veterans with entitlements that include compensation for service-connected disabilities, non-service connected pensions, death benefits, educational assistance, home loan guarantees and comprehensive medical care for physical and mental health conditions.
“Our vets office in New York Mills underwent some remodeling, but we still served veterans at a temporary location in the same building,” said Kampa to county board members.
Plans called for the vets service staff to be back in their permanent home in New York Mills on Sept. 21.
“Otter Tail County Veterans Service is similar to other counties that are addressing veterans’ homelessness and providing assistance to low-income veterans,” said Kampa.  read entire story. . . .

Search for Mrs. Otter Tail County announced

Applications are being accepted for the title of Mrs. Otter Tail County.
Mrs. Otter Tail County    will have the honor of representing her county at the Mrs. Minnesota pageant, which will be held at “Wellstone Center,” April 29  in St. Paul.
The woman chosen as “Mrs. Otter Tail County” will become an ambassador from the Otter Tail County area and will receive the official title and sash!
The woman chosen as Mrs. Minnesota will receive a prize package worth $7,000 and the chance to represent Minnesota at the “2017 Mrs. International Pageant” in August in Charleston, WV.
The American Heart Association’s “Go Red for Women” is the Official charity of the Mrs. Minnesota pageant. To learn more visit: www.goredforwomen.org.
The current reigning “2016  Mrs. Minnesota” is Morgan Bredde   of Woodbury, MN.  
Traveling all across the state, Bredde speaks on her platform “No Matter the Minutes: Hospice Care for Children,”  for  700+ children who die annually in Minnesota who now will have the safe haven that they deserve through Crescent Cove’s  child-based hospice care.
For more information go to: www.CrescentCove.org.  read entire story. . . .

Rifles, shotguns stolen near Pelican

By Tom Hintgen
Otter Tail County Correspondent

The sheriff’s office, on Sept. 19, reported the theft of three firearms near an unoccupied building on 260th Avenue east of Pelican Rapids.
The location is south of Lake Lida. The call came into the sheriff’s office on Sept. 16. An investigation is continuing.

Juvenile apprehended in Clitherall heroin case
Sheriff deputies took a juvenile into custody after a search for heroin was conducted near Clitherall Lake, east of Battle Lake, on Sept. 16.
Found at a residence were heroin paraphernalia and heroin.
A youth was arrested at 11:29 p.m. and charged with fifth degree drug possession. The juvenile was taken to Lake Region Health Care in Fergus Falls and then transported to the juvenile center in Moorhead.
Otter Tail County is among several counties that contract with the juvenile center in Moorhead. That’s where youths are housed for a short stay before appearing in juvenile court, Fergus Falls.  read entire story. . . .

Otter Tail Sheriff’s office ‘Citizens Academy’ to start

The Otter Tail County Sheriff’s Office will host its annual Citizens Academy from Oct. 5 through Nov. 30, on Wednesday evenings.
“Each session will have representatives from various departments and specialty units making presentations,” said Sheriff Brian Schlueter.
He said the Sheriff’s Office is proud of its commitment to work with county residents to create a better quality of life.
“To do this effectively, it’s important for citizens to understand the policies, procedures and protocol of the Sheriff’s Department,” said Schlueter. “County residents also need to understand what it is like to be one of the men or women sworn to protect and serve Otter Tail County.”
People interested in attending the Citizens Academy (sessions ranging from 2.5 to 3 hours each Wednesday evening over the 8-week period) can contact Julie at the Sheriff’s Office at 218-998-8522.

Olson Funeral Home bringing elder law attorney to area

Elder law is a hot topic these days with the growing population of senior citizens in Otter Tail County.  
Updates are constantly happening with laws and regulations that can directly impact the elderly. To inform and educate our aging population their care givers and the community at large, Olson Funeral Home is excited to bring elder law attorney, Lisa Pluto to Fergus Falls to present information and updates on estate and medical assistance rules. Lisa will be speaking at a free seminar at Olson Funeral Home on October 11, at 2:00 p.m.
The presentation is called “Peace of Mind: The Importance of Pre-Planning Your Funeral & End-of-Life Wishes.” The public is invited to attend this free seminar.   Lisa Pluto will be joined by Crystal Herman, Collections Officer from the Otter Tail County Attorney’s Office and Al Kremeier, Funeral Home Director and Pre-Planning Specialist from Olson Funeral Home.  Information covered will include:
• Nine Important Things to Know about Estate Planning
• Medical Assistance and Estate Recovery
• Prefunding vehicles for funeral and burial expenses
•Cremation and Funeral Service options
Presenters will be available for open questions and answers following their presentations.
There is no cost to attend this event. Reservations are not required but are appreciated by calling (218) 736-7586 or e-mailing at info@OlsonFuneralHome.com.
Lisa Pluto is licensed in Minnesota and Iowa. She concentrates her practice in the areas of Medical Assistance and Estate Planning.

 read entire story. . . .

Jost to chair Governor’s Early Learning Council

Nancy Jost, early childhood coordinator for West Central Initiative (WCI), has been appointed by Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton to the Early Learning Council and will serve as its chair. The Early Learning Council makes recommendations to the Governor, Children’s Cabinet and Legislature, including proposed legislation on how to effectively create a high-quality early childhood system in Minnesota to ensure all children arrive at kindergarten school-ready.    
As WCI’s early childhood coordinator, Jost oversees 10 Early Childhood Initiative coalitions in the region, as well as the Early Childhood Dental Network and Early Childhood Mental Health Network. She works to increase communication and partnership between early childhood stakeholders, such as families, care providers, businesses, law enforcement, health care professionals, schools, public officials and more. She is a tireless advocate for quality early childhood care, education and policy development—locally, statewide and nationally.
Jost is a graduate of the University of Minnesota—Morris, with a B.A. degree in sociology with an emphasis in Family/Child development, and a licensure in Early Childhood/Family Education. She has worked in the area of early childhood since 1972. Her background includes family and center child care, preschool, early childhood special education, Child Care Resource and Referral (now Child Care Aware) and Early Childhood Family Education.  read entire story. . . .

Extra help for paying Medicare Drug plan costs

By Karin Haugrud
Land of the Dancing Sky
Agency on Aging, Fergus Falls
Senior LinkAge Line® Specialist

Don’t forget…Medicare beneficiaries can sign up for, or change their Medicare Part D prescription drug plans beginning October 15 until December 7, 2016.  Plans may have different costs and benefits from year to year, thus it is advisable for all beneficiaries to consider their options and make the best choice they can for the coming year.  The change will take effect on January 1 as long as the plan gets your request by December 7.
Remember, anyone who has Medicare can get Medicare prescription drug coverage. Some people with limited resources and income also may be able to get Extra Help to pay for the costs—monthly premiums, annual deductibles, and prescription co-payments—related to a Medicare prescription drug plan. The Extra Help is estimated to be worth about $4,000 per year. Many people qualify for these big savings and don’t even know it.              
To qualify for Extra Help you must reside in one of the 50 states or the District of Columbia. Your  read entire story. . . .

Over 2,400 military service members still eligible to claim 2012 military tax credit

The Credit for Military Service in a Combat Zone for service in 2012 will expire for most qualifying service members on October 15, 2016. The Minnesota Department of Revenue is reminding Minnesota service members to take advantage of the refundable tax credit before it expires. The 2012 credit is $120 per month, or partial month served.
The department recently sent letters explaining how to claim the credit to over 2,400 service members who may qualify. Service members have already claimed more than $2.4 million in refunds for the 2012 credit, with an average refund of $600.
To qualify for the credit, service members must have:
• served in a combat zone or qualified hazardous-duty area anytime on or after January 1, 2012,
• been a Minnesota resident during the time of service, and
• received combat pay which is exempt from federal and Minnesota income tax.
To receive the credit, service members must:
• file Form M99, Credit for Military Service in a Combat Zone, and
• attach corresponding Form DD-214 for each period of qualifying service.
If still on active duty, attach Leave and Earnings statements for each month of qualifying service.
For more information on the military tax credit and to fill out the form, visit our website at www.revenue.state.mn.us. Applications must be postmarked by October 15, 2016.  

 read entire story. . . .

Propane, heating oil, diesel fuel users urged to prepare for heating season

The end of September signals and cooler temps, the agricultural harvest along with corresponding cooler temperatures and the start of a new heating season. The demand increases for propane and diesel fuel for agricultural uses and for propane and heating oil for the Minnesotans who use those fuels to heat their homes.
“Now is the time to buy propane, heating oil or diesel fuel to take advantage of lower prices,” said Commerce Commissioner Mike Rothman. “We also want Minnesotans to know that help is available if they are struggling to pay their heating bills.”
For those Minnesotans who rely on propane, diesel, and heating oil, the Minnesota Department of Commerce recommends the following:
•chr(8194)Buy early. Fill up your fuel tanks to minimize the high-demand prices before the winter months. It’s usually best to buy during the summer and early fall when there is less demand and prices are generally lower.  read entire story. . . .

Pelican Rapids Community Ed offers special classes on  Medicare, Open Enrollment

Special informational courses on Medicare will be offered, in cooperation with Pelican Rapids Community Education and Otter Tail County.
“Welcome to Medicare” is a course for those are turning 65 or nearing the 24th month of social security disability status. The transition to Medicare can be very confusing. This informational class outlines the very basics of Medicare including when to enroll, how to enroll, and which common mistakes to avoid. Questions are encouraged.
Instructor is Nancy Voss, Otter Tail County Coordinator on Aging.
Date is Thursday, October 20 11 am to noon at the Pelican Rapids Public Library.
Offered the same day, following the introductory class is “Medicare 2017: Updates and Considerations for Open Enrollment.”
This informal, informational class outlines premium and coverage changes to Medicare Part A and Part B. The instructor will review the supplemental Medicare health plans, and Medicare prescription drug plans.These changes are published around October 1. Open enrollment begins October 15 and ends December 7.
During open enrollment, Medicare beneficiaries are expected to review the changes and make decisions about the adequacy of their current coverage. Learn the things to watch out for, and where to go for help. Questions are encouraged.
The session is October 20, 1 to 2 p.m. at the library.  read entire story. . . .

Minnesota apple harvest in full swing

Fall is in full swing and so is Minnesota’s apple season. Early season Minnesota hardy varieties like Honeycrisp, Zestar!®, SweeTango®, Sweet Sixteen and Cortland are now available for picking, while traditional Minnesota favorites like Haralson, Regent, McIntosh and Honeygold will ripen later this month. Apple orchards are now open, with limited hours continuing into the end of November or later. Many local grocery stores will also carry Minnesota grown varieties throughout the fall.
Weather conditions throughout the 2016 season resulted in some crop loss for some producers, but most apple orchards are ready for visitors. This year’s overall crop is expected to be slightly smaller than average, so visiting a local orchard or market early in the season is recommended.
John Jacobson of Pine Tree Apple Orchard in White Bear Lake summarized the spring and summer growing season, with a hopeful outlook for fall harvest.  
“This year was especially challenging for many apple growers. Most growers lost at least some of their crop due to a mid-May freeze and some faced additional losses because of severe weather like high winds and hail,” said Jacobson. “Despite these challenges, Minnesotans will still find plenty of crisp, juicy, locally grown apples at their favorite orchards, farmers markets and grocery stores.”
According to Minnesota Grown’s Agricultural Marketing Specialist Jessica Miles, a trip to the apple orchard is about more than just picking apples.
“Taking the family to the orchard is a great way to get kids outside and help them understand where their apples come from and how they grow,” Miles said. “Apple orchards are open for business with fresh apple cider, fall raspberries, pumpkins, squash and other seasonal favorites to enjoy. Some even have fun family activities like hay wagon rides, animals, tours and crop mazes.”
Weather conditions can vary drastically throughout Minnesota and orchard owners recommend calling or checking websites in advance to verify hours and check availability of local apple varieties.
The Minnesota Department of Agriculture’s Minnesota Grown Directory is a free, statewide guide to more than 120 apple orchards. The Directory also includes a comprehensive list of fall raspberry patches, corn mazes, wineries and more. You can search the Directory online at www.minnesotagrown.com or order a free printed copy by calling 1-888-TOURISM.  read entire story. . . .

Come Grow With Us – Become an Extension Master Gardener

If you have an interest in plants and gardening and would enjoy sharing that interest with others, come grow with us! Become a University of Minnesota Extension Master Gardener in West Otter Tail County. Applications are being accepted now until October 1, 2016.
Individuals selected for the program begin an internship that starts with the Master Gardener core course training on January 13, 2017. The course is taught online or in-person at the University of Minnesota Landscape Arboretum. Instructors are University of Minnesota Extension educators and faculty.
Following the course, interns will complete 50 hours of volunteer service, working with local Master Gardener volunteers on a variety of projects that educate the public about gardening and horticulture. Interns might answer plant and insect questions by phone or at an information booth, write a newspaper column, or make a presentation to a community group. The primary projects in West Otter Tail County include Garden Day, held in April every year.
Individuals completing the internship become certified University of Minnesota Extension Master Gardeners. To remain certified, Master Gardeners must contribute at least 25 hours of volunteer service annually, and complete 5 hours of approved continuing education.
For  infomration call the University of Minnesota Extension in West Otter Tail County, at 218-998-8760, or email slfunk@umn.edu. For more information about the Extension Master Gardener program go to www.mg.umn.edu.  read entire story. . . .

No whole deer  carcasses allowed to enter state

Hunters who harvest deer outside the state are reminded that whole deer carcasses are no longer allowed to be brought into Minnesota from anywhere in North America.
This new restriction that includes all members of the deer family (deer, elk, moose and caribou) is an effort by the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources to respond to the increasing prevalence and geographic spread of chronic wasting disease (CWD).
Hunters may bring only the following parts into Minnesota, regardless of where in North America the animal was harvested:
• Meat that is boned out or that is cut and wrapped (either commercially or privately)
•chr(8194)Quarters or other portions of meat with no part of the spinal column or head attached
•chr(8194)Hides and teeth
•chr(8194)Antlers or clean skull plates (no brain tissue attached) with antlers attached
•chr(8194)Finished taxidermy mounts
Nonresidents transporting whole or partial carcasses on a direct route throug  read entire story. . . .

Otter Tail planners to review first  official Star Casino application Sept. 21

The Otter Tail County planners will be hosting the first formal Public Hearing on the Star Lake Resort and Casino project.
The session is Sept 21, 6:30 pm, and on the planning and zoning commission’s agenda will be a Conditional Use Permit application. The hearing location will be the  Commissioner's Room, Government Services Center, 540 West Fir, Fergus Falls.
The permit application is associated with:  Construction of a parking lot and storm water catch basins for the new resort, hotel and casino on adjacent property.
Meanwhile, the public comment period on Otter Tail County’s Limited Area Star Lake Comprehensive Plan continues through Sept 28.
To provide input, the public can view the entire comprehensive plan document at the Otter Tail County website. There is a link to the feedback form which is used to submit comments.

County supports water park rebuild assistance

Tax break to Thumper Pond resort to receive more than $250,000 to rebuild after roof collapse in 2015

By Tom Hintgen
Otter Tail County Correspondent

Thumper Pond, which announced earlier this year plans to rebuild the water park after a roof collapse in 2015, is seeking tax abatement as part of this effort.
Abatements may be either permanent forgiveness or temporary deferral of property taxes.
The city of Ottertail, where Thumper Pond is located, previously approved tax abatement.
County board members, at their Sept. 13 meeting, voiced support for tax abatement but decided to again discuss the issue at their Sept. 20 meeting.
Proponents for Thumper Pond tax abatement expressed optimism that county board members would vote in favor of tax abatement.
Minnesota law authorizes political subdivisions such as communities and county government to grant property tax abatements for economic development.  read entire story. . . .

Making the most  of local produce ­  is class subject

Here is an opportunity to learn from Chef Jan Werkau how to make the most of the produce in season using recipes to eat now and a few to preserve the best of the season for later.
Recipes covered in this class will include tomatoes, squashes, apples and beans. When you’re cooking seasonally, you depend a lot on Mother Nature’s whims. The corn season might extend into September and if it does, the class will make sure we cover a couple of corn recipes.
Bring your freezer­ friendly pint containers to bring home some of the seasonal bounty we will be cooking up. Location is Kennedy Secondary School, Room 1603; Thursday, September 22, from 6 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.
Pre ­registration is required by calling Fergus Falls Community Education at chr(8203)218-­998-­0544, ext. 9200chr(8203), or by visiting our website at chr(8203)ce.fergusotters.org.

Hospice offers free grief program

Hospice of the Red River Valley will offer an educational workshop for adults who have recently experienced the death of a loved one.
Journeying Through Grief is a free grief class for adults. The sessions will focus on understanding the grief process, common grief reactions, taking care of yourself while grieving and embracing memories. Journeying Through Grief will be held at the following location and time:
Wednesday, Oct. 12 from 1-4 p.m.
Hospice of the Red River Valley office, 1111 Highway 10, Detroit Lakes
Pre-registration required by Oct. 5, call (800) 237-4629.
For more information or to register, call (800) 237-4629 or bereavement@hrrv.org. To view the complete fall 2016 grief class schedule, visit: http://www.hrrv.org/grief/fall-2016-classes/.
Hospice of the Red River Valley is an independent, not-for-profit hospice serving all, or portions of, 29 counties in North Dakota and Minnesota. Hospice care is intensive comfort care that alleviates pain and suffering, enhancing the quality of life for patients with life-limiting illnesses and their loved ones by addressing their medical, emotional, spiritual and grief needs. For more information, call toll free 800-237-4629, email questions@hrrv.org or visit www.hrrv.org.  read entire story. . . .

Cycle chase ends in crash near Lake Lida

By Tom Hintgen
Otter Tail County Correspondent

The Sheriff’s Office had assistance from the State Highway Patrol in the chase of a motorcycle after the cycle driver left a traffic stop and eventually crashed near Lake Lida, east of Pelican Rapids, at 12:23 p.m. on Sept. 9.
The State Patrol reported that the cycle driver was pursued at a high rate of speed of 115  miles per hour. The driver lost control and crashed near the intersection of 275th Avenue and 428th Street.
There was a personal injury that was non-life threatening.
Also assisting were members of the Becker County Sheriff’s Office. The driver was riding a Yamaha Motorcycle.
No permit to carry results in arrest
One person was arrested in a tavern in Erhard at 10:36 p.m. on Sept. 10.
Sheriff deputies said a male was intoxicated and was carrying a firearm without a permit. He was taken to the detention center in Fergus Falls.  read entire story. . . .

Dairy research, promotion council seeks candidates

The Minnesota Dairy Research and Promotion Council is seeking candidates to run for board positions in 11 districts. Elected board members represent dairy farmers in their respective districts, and make decisions regarding the expenditure of dairy check-off funds.
The District 4 seat serves Otter Tail and Wilkin. Nominating Chair is Laurie Schroeder, 218-736-6883.
Candidates should be active dairy farmers who are well-informed members of their community and interested in check-off promotion programs. Those interested in running for a seat on the board should contact their local nominating chairs by October 10, 2016.
Please contact Ruth White at 651-201-6494 with any questions.

Richfield artist wins duck stamp contest

A painting of a redhead duck by Richfield artist Timothy Turenne will be featured on the 2017 Minnesota Migratory Waterfowl Stamp, after Turenne won the annual stamp contest sponsored by the Department of Natural Resources.
This was Turenne’s first time winning the duck stamp contest, and he has now won all the DNR-sponsored stamp contests.
The winning painting was selected by judges from among 24 entries. Three entries advanced as finalists that were selected during the Sept. 8 contest. The other finalists were Mark Kness, second place; and Nicholas Markell, third place. The duck stamp contest began in 1977.
The waterfowl stamp validation for hunting is $7.50 and for an extra 75 cents purchasers can receive the pictorial stamp. It also is sold as a collectible. Revenue from stamp sales is dedicated to waterfowl management and habitat work. Stamp sales generate about $700,000 per year for waterfowl habitat enhancement projects on state wildlife management areas and shallow lakes.  read entire story. . . .

One person  injured in crash

By Tom Hintgen
Otter Tail County Correspondent

The Sheriff’s Office reported that one person was injured in a single-vehicle traffic accident southwest of New York Mills at 6:58 a.m. on Sept. 13. The accident took place at the intersection of Highway 54 and 510th Avenue.
The injured individual was 39-year-old Joseph Newborg of New York Mills. His injuries were non life threatening, with cuts and bruises and injury to his right wrist.
Newborg, according to Sheriff Office reports, was traveling eastward on Highway 54 when he lost control of his 2000 Pontiac Grand Am passenger car and entered the ditch. The vehicle overturned and came to rest on its roof.
“The driver was the lone occupant of the vehicle,” said County Sheriff Brian Schlueter.
Authorities said that Newborg left the scene of the accident without contacting law enforcement. He was later located and citations were issued.  read entire story. . . .

Capturing commercial cardboard is new program

The Otter Tail County Solid Waste Department has received an MPCA Environmental Assistance Recycling Grant to collect commercial cardboard. Several collection canisters, free of charge, are now available for businesses to share in local cities.
Businesses in cities with no municipal commercial cardboard pickup that need to recycle cardboard and are willing to share the canister are eligible. Businesses, such as construction, that need a canister for a short period of time for a job that handles a lot of cardboard are encouraged to call to reserve a bin during that project.
The cardboard can be collected free of charge. Cardboard recycling is also available at county transfer stations. Sort demolition loads so cardboard may be recycled on location.
Cardboard is a highly recyclable, closed loop material that needs to be captured for recycling. If we recycle more cardboard we lessen the amount of virgin materials (trees) needed to produce cardboard.
By providing canisters free of charge to commercial customers to recycle cardboard, we foresee increasing cardboard recycling by 10% and removing over 200 tons from the waste stream.
Cardboard recycled in Otter Tail County stays within Minnesota to be recycled into new cardboard boxes. Cardboard can be recycled up to 25 times while holding its fiber value.  read entire story. . . .

Mental health advocate  to speak in area Oct. 15

Key mental health advocate Sue Abderholden, executive director of NAMI Minnesota, will present a free, public education program on building Minnesota's mental health system called Forty Years of Change on Oct. 15, at Southbrook Baptist Church, Wadena from 10:00-11:30 a.m., and at Detroit Lakes Library, from 1:00-2:30 p.m.
The programs are part of a 40-city tour celebrating NAMI Minnesota’s 40th Anniversary and its advocacy work to improve mental health services.  
Find out about the impact of mental health advocacy past and present and help create a vision for the future by sharing what your community needs to better support the needs of children and adults living with a mental illness and their families.
 read entire story. . . .