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Otter Tail joins 86 counties to lobby legislature

Road funding sure to top 2016 agenda in St. Paul

lobbying the state legislature for needed funding for roads, economic development, environmental protection and other programs.
To that end, Otter Tail County is a member of the Association of Minnesota Counties (AMC) which includes all 87 counties in the state, the Minnesota Inter-County Association (MICA) which is comprised of the 13 larger counties in the state of Minnesota and the Minnesota Rural Counties Caucus (MRCC).
“The issues of Otter Tail County are many, and housing is one of them,” said County Commissioner John Lindquist of Dalton. “At the county level we can only do so much, and state assistance is needed.”
County expenditures are also applied to roads, bridges, human services, public safety, health, culture and recreation, library services, veterans’ affairs and other services.  read entire story. . . .

Active shooter, resuscitation among topics at area emergency medical conference

Time critical calls are the focus of EMS, law enforcement, fire, emergency managers, and health care emergency department personnel every day.  
Lt. Mike Madden was the first responding officer on scene of a mass shooting in San Bernardino, CA. Lt. Madden will be one of the keynote speakers at the 4th Annual Topics in EMS medical education conference held February 13, in Fergus Falls.
Lt. Madden's presentation will be followed by a private Chief's lunch for leadership of our emergency services from around the tri-state area to discuss lessons learned with Lt Madden.  A tragedy we never want to see but it is quite important learning for those agencies who will have to respond to the next disaster, terrorism, or emergency situation.  read entire story. . . .

Driver injured on slippery roads

An icy roadway was a contributing factor in a traffic accident which injured a driver at 10:38 p.m. on Tuesday, Feb. 2, northeast of Parkers Prairie.
The driver of a 2005 Dodge Durango came across an icy patch on the roadway, at the intersection of Highway 42 and 595th Avenue. The driver lost control, left the shoulder of the roadway, struck a tree and the vehicle came to rest upright.
“Fortunately, the driver was wearing a seatbelt and sustained only minor injuries,” said Sheriff Lt. Barry Fitzgibbons. “He said he experienced lower back pain.”
There was damage to the right bumper of the vehicle as well as damage to the windshield, windows, roof and back tire.
The name of the driver was not immediately available.  read entire story. . . .

Adonis Puentes-Cuba Orchestra to perform in Fergus Falls Feb. 13

With contemporary takes on Cuban tradition, Adonis Puentes opens up the marvelous world of Cuban music to his audiences the second they hear his rich voice. When the other players kick in with their tight, multilayered arrangements, it becomes clear that Adonis is also a powerful bandleader. Fronting the all-Cuban acoustic orchestra, Voice of Cuba, Adonis’ vocals are surrounded by guitar, tres, piano, bass, trumpet and percussion.
Adonis Puentes and the Voice of Cuba Orchestra will be performing at 7:30 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 13 at A Center for the Arts in downtown Fergus Falls. This is the fourth performance in AC4TA’s 2015-16 Center Series. Tickets can be purchased online at www.FergusArts.org, by phone at 218-736-5453, or at our box office at 124 W. Lincoln Ave., downtown Fergus Falls.  read entire story. . . .

New Sanford  center to open in Fargo 2017

Nursing, staff shortages expected to persist after new 11-story facility opens

The new Sanford hospital, a  massive construction project that has been taking shape in Fargo, is expected to open in 2017.
With 11 floors and 300 rooms, the facility will have all the latest technology.  The challenge, however, may be rounding up enough people to staff the operation. Especially nurses.
That was one of the messages from Sanford spokesman Chuck Gulsvig, who spoke Jan 26 at the Pelican Rapids Area Rotary Club meeting.
“Workforce development” has been the buzz word in many sectors of the economy–from health care to public education.  read entire story. . . .

United Way honors top  supporters in Otter Tail County

Pelican school staff again among top contributors

Raising funds for over 50 programs to improve lives in Otter Tail County is the goal for United Way. The annual campaign invites people and businesses from our area to donate to United Way.  
The United Way of Otter Tail County then funds programs that focus on education, health and financial stability, three building blocks of improving lives.  
Congratulations to all of the wonderful community members, businesses and organizations who received awards at the United Way Of Otter Tail County 2016 Community Impact Luncheon January 13 at Bigwood Event Center.  read entire story. . . .

White Earth Nation, Otter Tail county to partner on casino project

County Public Works Director Rick West reported to the county board of commissioners on Jan. 26 that the Public Works Committee discussed the White Earth Nation’s proposal for the Star Lake Resort and Casino as it relates to possible impacts on Otter Tail County.
SRF Consulting provided a proposal for conducting the Star Lake Resort and Casino Development Review and Assessment.
“White Earth Nation has indicated that it will partner with the county for this project,” said West.
The recommendation from the Public Works Committee to the county board was to proceed with this review and assessment.  read entire story. . . .

Red Cross has emergency need for blood, platelet donations

Donors needed after severe winter weather forces blood drive cancellations

The American Red Cross has an emergency need for blood and platelet donors. Severe winter weather since Jan. 1 has forced the cancellation of more than 300 blood drives across 20 states, resulting in more than 9,500 donations uncollected, further depleting an already low winter supply. Blood donation appointments can be quickly and easily scheduled by using the Red Cross Blood Donor App, visiting redcrossblood.org or calling 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767).
“Blood products are being delivered to hospitals as quickly as donations are coming in,” said Sue Thesenga, Communications Manager of the North Central Blood Services. “Eligible donors are urged to make an appointment to give blood or platelets now and help ensure blood products are available for patients locally, and across the country, including areas severely impacted by winter weather.”  read entire story. . . .

Hunger-fighters in OTC raise $80,000+

The Friends of Friends Fighting Hunger Charity event continues to attract sold out crowds. Generous attendees came out to support the Friends of Friends Fighting Hunger 8th Annual Charity Event on January 23, 2016 at Thumper Pond Resort, Ottertail.
This past event marked a milestone for this committee raising over $500,000 since the inception of the group in 2008.
Our eight local food shelves and North Country Food Bank, Inc., through its partnership with Friends of Friends Fighting Hunger, have been able to increase the amount of food distributed in Otter Tail County. As a result of the generosity of local supporters, North Country distributed 754,406 pounds of food in Otter Tail County in 2015, which is equivalent to approximately 589,379 meals. This is a 11% increase over the 2014 food distribution number. The cost of food and transportation are increasing, and the need in each community is also still on an upward trend.  read entire story. . . .

Stop sign violations on highways costly

Sheriff deputies, always doing their best to promote highway safety, inform motorists that violations of the law can be costly. An example relates to fines for stop sign violations.
On Jan. 26, east of Parkers Prairie, a semi went through a stop sign at the intersection of Highways 46 and 69. The semi ended up about 100 yards away in a field.
“The driver was issued a citation for failure to stop,” said Sheriff Lt. Barry Fitzgibbons. “Citations such as this one can cost drivers $125, more or less depending on the individual situation.”
The lesson, said Fitzgibbons, is for motorists to follow the law and keep roadways safe for everyone.  read entire story. . . .

Living landscapes bring surprising health benefits

Studies show that green space and landscaping contribute to health, happiness and intellect

As much of the country deals with winter weather, it’s natural to long for spring when our yards, parks and other natural spaces bloom.
Did you know, there’s a good reason you may pine for green?
Living landscapes are an important part of the outdoor lifestyle that Americans enjoy, but the benefits go beyond the barbecue and backyard baseball. Green spaces are necessary for your health.
“The advantages of grass and landscaping surpass the usual physical benefits that result from outdoor activity,” said Kris Kiser, president and CEO, Outdoor Power Equipment Institute (OPEI). “Numerous studies have found that people who spend more time outside or are exposed to living landscapes are happier, healthier and smarter.”  read entire story. . . .

Author, missionary to seek  7th District Congress seat

Author Amanda Lynn Hinson, filed with the Federal Elections Commission  January 27 to declare her candidacy for U.S. House of Representatives in Minnesota’s 7th District.
The Congressional seat is held by incumbent Collin Peterson.
Hinson has served 14 years volunteering in ministry leadership. She served as a pastor and missionary since 2008 and is ready to expand her public service.
“I realized last year that I can help more people, here and abroad, if I run for Congress,” Hinson said.
In Far East Russia, Hinson led humanitarian efforts with her husband while learning the cultures, histories and languages of Russia and Asia. Hinson gave birth to their fourth child in Russia and went on to write the book “Wide Open Curtains: A Journal of a Pregnant Woman in Russia.”  read entire story. . . .

Central MN farmers to attend irrigation & nutrient workshop

The  2016 Central Minnesota Irrigation &chr(8200)Nutrient Management Workshop is an opportunity for local farmers to learn about new irrigation and nutrient management technologies that have the potential to positively impact their bottom line and reduce their impact on the environment.
The event will take place February 11, at Thumper Pond in Ottertail. The theme for this year’s workshop is “Variability in Your Field:chr(8200)The Challenge and the Opportunity”chr(8200)and it will address the ways that farmers can manage their fields for increased profitability and reduced environmental impact. The keynote speaker for 2016 is David Muth, Senior Vice President of Analytics at AgSolver, Inc. His company focuses on the profitability of fields, rather than their production, and how that translates to better economic and environmental outcomes.  read entire story. . . .

County Board gives support to Family Services Collaborative

It is the vision of the Otter Tail Family Services Collaborative to be a responsive and flexible system of education, support and services that focus on the needs, strengths and potential of each child and family throughout Otter Tail County.
Lending its support to the collaborative on Tuesday, Jan. 26, was the Otter Tail County Board of Commissioners.
Collaborative partners include county agencies such as public health and human services. These agencies work with schools and other entities such as Lutheran Social Services, Lakeland Mental Health Center and Lakes Country Service Cooperative.
“Partnerships and awareness are key factors as we work to fulfill our vision of helping children and families here in Otter Tail County,” said Troy Haugen to county board members.  read entire story. . . .

County juvenile restitution program change approved

Otter Tail County Probation Director Chuck Kitzman proposed to the county board a change in the hourly pay as part of the Juvenile Restitution Program.
Previously, participants in the program worked off restitution owed to victims at a rate of $6 per hour.
Kitzman recommended that this amount be increased to $8 per hour, which is consistent with what adults are paid for community service work.
The county board unanimously approved a motion to set the new rate of $8 per hour through the Juvenile Restitution Work Program.
In previous years, said Kitzman, the county had been cognizant of prevailing wage rates throughout Otter Tail County and did not want juvenile participants to exceed those rates.  read entire story. . . .