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Juvenile injured, struck in boating-tubing mishap

By Tom Hintgen
Otter Tail County Correspondent

A 12-year-old youth was injured Sunday, July 17, in a boating accident on Clitherall Lake near the town of Clitherall in south central Otter Tail County.
The juvenile had fallen from a tube while being towed and was later struck by a passing boat.
The sheriff’s office reported that Seth Lebrecque, 21, of Grand Forks, was towing a tube with two juveniles riding upon it. Both juveniles fell from the tube into the water.
Reports say that as Lebrecque waited for the individuals to climb back onto the tube, one was struck by a 1976 motor boat operated by David Thorson, 62, of Fargo.
“Lebrecque reportedly attempted to get the attention of Thorson by waving his arms, but to no avail,” said Sheriff Lt. Barry Fitzgibbons.
Thorson, who did not clearly see the warning,  accidentally struck one of the juveniles before continuing on.
“Sheriff deputies soon located the driver (Thorson) of what was described as a fishing boat, quite some distance away,” said Fitzgibbons.  read entire story. . . .

Area accident results in injury

By Tom Hintgen
Otter Tail County Correspondent

A driver lost control of his vehicle at 8:16 a.m. Tuesday, July 19, southwest of Dalton. He was not wearing a seatbelt, was ejected from the vehicle and was seriously injured.
The injured party was Joshua David Wilson, 33, of rural Fergus Falls.
“His injuries did not appear to be life threatening,” said Sheriff Lt. Barry Fitzgibbons during a news media briefing on July 20. “He reportedly suffered broken bones and possibly a broken hip.”
The driver was the only occupant of the vehicle and alcohol was a factor in the incident, said Fitzgibbons.
Ashby Ambulance transported the victim to Lake Region Healthcare in Fergus Falls. Wilson was later transported to Sanford Hospital in Fargo.
The accident took place at the intersection of Highway 35 and Norway Pine Road. Wilson was driving a 1993 Chevrolet Corsica passenger car.

Kayak stolen in
Lake Lizzie area
A resident of Poss Beach Road at Lake Lizzie, northeast of Pelican Rapids, reported the theft of a kayak and paddle. Value was listed at $350.
The incident was reported on July 19.
Sheriff deputies said the owner knows it was a theft and that the kayak did not drift away. Also, the owner said the paddle was in a secure location near the dock.
An investigation was continuing as of July 20.

Town hall meeting to address skills gap

An upcoming town hall meeting co-hosted by Rep. Bud Nornes, R-Fergus Falls, will address efforts by Fergus Falls groups to mitigate the skills gap so workers can fill positions employers are making available.
The forum will showcase how Fergus Falls’ employers, educators, elected officials and civic activists are collaborating to help workers develop the skills necessary to meet the demands of our evolving workforce.
“The goal is to do a better job of putting workers in position to fill valuable roles that employers are offering,” Nornes said. “Many employers in Minnesota are looking for good help and there are workers in need of jobs, but too often their skills do not match the job requirements. We hear this story time and again from both sides. The meeting will be 1:30 to 3 p.m. Thursday in the Kennedy Secondary School’s Roosevelt Education Center Media Center. Nornes will co-host the event with Center of the American Experiment, a Twin Cities-based think tank.


Buffer program nearing completion in OT County

By Tom Hintgen
Otter Tail County Correspondent

Otter Tail County has a three-phase buffer initiative implementation schedule.
Conservation buffers are best described as strips or other areas of land in permanent vegetation that help control pollutants. Examples include field borders, field windbreaks, shelterbelts and contour grass strips.
“Phase I is close to completion,” said Brad Mergens, manager of the West Otter Tail  Soil and Water Conservation District, to members of the Otter Tail County Board of Commissioners on July 12.
The Otter Tail County buffer initiative aims to assist landowners in moving towards 100 percent voluntary compliance.
Soil and Water Conservation District offices in Fergus Falls and Perham provide technical and financial assistance to landowners for the design and implementation of required buffers.
Part of Phase I includes working with participating landowners to identify buffer boundary and assist them with program eligibility and enrollment.  read entire story. . . .

Pistols stolen near Pelican

Otter Tail County Correspondent

A man who fished for two hours at Prairie Lake near Pelican Rapids returned to his vehicle at the public boat access on July 22 and discovered that two pistols were taken from the center console.
Also taken were two firearm magazines. The incident was still under investigation by the sheriff’s office as of July 25.

Cycle driver injured near
Glendalough State Park
A 45-year-old Henning woman, Rebecca Lhotak, was injured in a motorcycle accident just before 9 p.m. on Saturday, July 23.
She avoided a first de  read entire story. . . .

Buffer directive may be minimal

Minnesota farmers, including those in Otter Tail County, may not need to install as many mandated buffer strips as originally thought.
After announcing that a new map is available showing where buffers are required, Department of Natural Resources (DNR) Commissioner Tom Landwehr quoted a new Otter Tail County study that showed just 1,041 acres of land will need to be transformed into buffers to slow water pollution.  
“The impact on an individual likely will be quite small,” Landwehr said.
He noted that Otter Tail County is one of the state’s largest and most “water rich” counties.
Landwehr also noted that private ditches are not included in the buffer law, although discussions continue about what is public and what is private.
The buffer map is online at www.mndnr.gov/buffers.

Hope for Recovery Workshop set

NAMI Minnesota (National Alliance on Mental Illness) will hold a free, interactive workshop that provides families and individuals with information on mental illnesses, practical coping strategies, and hope for recovery.
The workshop will be held in Perham at The Church of Saint Henry, 234 2nd Ave. SW on Saturday, August 27, from 9:00 to 3:00.
For information or to register, call 651-645-2948 or go to namihelps.org.


Mother Nature turned from potential foe to friend July 23, the day Pelican Rapids hosted perhaps its

Staying healthy while swimming takes just a few simple steps, health officials say

The Fourth of July holiday is expected to once again be a busy time for Minnesota’s beaches and pools. State health officials are taking the opportunity to remind Minnesotans that we all have a role to play when it comes to keeping swimming healthy and fun.
“Germs in and on swimmers’ bodies end up in the water and can make other people sick,” said Trisha Robinson, Waterborne Diseases Unit Supervisor for the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH). “The best way to prevent recreational water illnesses is to keep germs out of the water in the first place.”
Swimmers can protect themselves and others by following these simple steps:
• Stay out of the water if you have diarrhea.
• Shower before you get in the water.
• Don’t swallow the water.
Between 2006 and 2015 in Minnesota, there were 42 reported outbreaks tied to recreational water, such as beaches, pools or splash pads, resulting in almost 700 illnesses. More than half of the waterborne outbreaks in the past 10 years were caused by the germ Cryptosporidium. It is a chlorine-resistant parasite that can survive and spread even in a properly maintained pool or splash pad.
The most common symptom of illness caused by germs in the water is diarrhea, w  read entire story. . . .

Heat wave Stay cool, hydrated  during hot summer weather streaks

Health officials encourage Minnesotans to stay cool this week and avoid heat-related illness.
Young athletes and older Minnesotans are among those most at risk.
While storms and floods may get more attention, in a typical year extreme heat kills more people in the U.S. than any other weather phenomenon. With that in mind, health officials urge Minnesotans to take steps to avoid heat-related illness during the unusually hot and humid conditions forecast in the coming days.
Extreme heat can cause health problems ranging from heat rash and cramps to life-threatening conditions like heatstroke. Heat exhaustion is a common heat-related illness. Signs and symptoms of heat exhaustion include dizziness, thirst, fatigue, headache, nausea, vomiting, weakness and confusion. Untreated heat exhaustion can lead to heatstroke.
According to Infectious Disease Epidemiology, Prevention and Control Division Medical Director Raj Mody, athletes and people working outside face a higher risk for heat-related illness.

Stay Cool
• Electric fans will not prevent heat-related illness when temperatures are very hot, so use air conditioning or spend time in air-conditioned locations during extremely hot weather.
• If you plan to exercise outdoors, consider doing it in the morning before temperatures rise.  read entire story. . . .

West Otter Tail Farm Service  elections set; nominations sought

The West Otter Tail FSA Office is preparing for the County Committee (COC) election to be held this fall. West Otter Tail is divided into three Local Administrative Areas (LAA’s).  
Each LAA is represented by one member on the County Committee. Nominations will be accepted from June 15 – August 1, 2016.
Nominations will be accepted from eligible individuals residing in townships from LAA #3: Friberg, Maine, Amor, Sverdrup, Everts, Clitherall, Nidaros, Eagle Lake, Leaf Mountain, and Effington townships. FSA county committees play a vital and relevant role in delivering important farm programs. Your participation in the election process is an important part of the county committee system that serves all producers.  
Nomination forms are available on our website or from the FSA County Office. Forms must be postmarked or delivered to the county office by August 1, 2016. Voting takes place this fall. Contact Leon Johnson at the West Otter Tail FSA Office with questions concerning the nomination and election process.
More than 8,000 county committee members serve in more than 2,300 local FSA offices nationwide.

Police chase  ends in Wadena

By Tom Hintgen
Otter Tail Correspondent

A gas drive-off in Perham resulted in the chase of a vehicle that had been stolen in Detroit Lakes on July 12.
“The chase ensued along Highway 10 between Perham and Wadena,” said Otter Tail County Sheriff Lt. Barry Fitzgibbons. “The chase ended and an arrest was made at a construction area in Wadena.”
Arrested was 22-year-old Brooke Louise Johnson-Jenkins.
The chase began by law enforcement at 10:55 a.m. after the gas drive-off in Perham. The suspect drove a stolen pickup.
Law enforcement in both Otter Tail and Wadena counties worked in coordination to catch and apprehend the suspect.


Fish house dispute
under investigation
An inmate at the county detention center had a friend go to a residence on Mallard Drive at Loon Lake, south of Vergas, on July 13. The friend had been asked to pick up a fish house.
The resident, however, said the fish house had been sold.
The inmate told authorities that he surmised the fish house was still at the property near Vergas. The issue as of July 14 remained under investigation.

Theft near Battle Lake
The sheriff’s office, on July 14, received a report of a theft of various items at a location near Highway 83.
Taken in the previous two weeks were a white surfing board with fluorescent orange O’Brien sail, valued at $900, burgundy drums and close to 150 vinyl records valued from $50 to $100.