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‘Inner Otter’ is outreach tool to promote tourism, business

Initiative aims at boosting profile of area, while marketing for Otter Tail County’s number two industry––tourism

Finding Your Inner Otter is a business, tourism and community promotional tool that got its start in 2014.
The website itself is a catchy, fun on-line survey that directs you to identify your “Inner Otter” type and directs you to fun activities or businesses in Otter Tail County. It is closely linked to the Otter Tail Lakes Country Tourism site.
Nick Leonard, Otter Tail County Director of Tourism and Economic Development and Mark Hanson, West Central Development Alliance, met with Pelican Rapids business owners, the City and the Chamber on Wednesday September 23 to update the community on the cooperative marketing effort.  read entire story. . . .

Man dies after accident near Dent

The county Sheriff’s Office reported that a 65-year-old Underwood man, Russell Llewellyn Mitlyng, died following a traffic accident north of Dent.
The mishap took place at 8:53 p.m. on Thursday, Sept. 24.
Sheriff deputies said Mitlyng was driving southbound on Highway 35, between Big McDonald and Little McDonald Lakes, when his vehicle left the roadway and struck an approach. The vehicle, a 2011 Toyota Tundra pickup truck, entered into a roll and struck a utility pole.
“The driver (Mitlyng) was extricated from the vehicle by responding firefighters and EMS before being transported to the Perham hospital,” said Sheriff Lt. Barry Fitzgibbons.
The driver was pronounced deceased at the hospital.

Bank protects Vergas resident from scam

The Sheriff’s Office reported that a local bank stopped a scam artist from stealing money from a bank customer who resides in Vergas.
The bank customer reported to the sheriff’s office, on Sept. 18, that someone tried to wire money from the Vergas resident’s bank account. The suspect had access to the customer’s Social Security number and other personal information.
Bank employees had suspicions and did not complete the transaction. Thus the customer did not experience any loss of money.
Employees at the bank advised the customer about protective measures that also are endorsed by law enforcement.  read entire story. . . .

Audubon group program looks at climate change

Prairie Lakes Audubon Chapter has announced a special presentation which will look at the ongoing issue of “Climate Change and how it is, and will, affect our Minnesota Birds.”
The program is Tuesday, October 6 at Alexandria Senior and Community Center, Alexandria at 7 p.m.
Speaker is Matthew Anderson, CEO, Audubon Minnesota and Vice President, National Audubon Society.
The public is welcome.
The Prairie Lakes Audubon Chapter is a local Chapter for ANYONE interested in birds within a 50 mile radius (flexible) of Alexandria. We have casual formal meetings monthly and at least one birding field trip each month.

Scam warnings issued by Sheriff

he county Sheriff’s Office continues to urge residents to be aware of possible scams. If something by phone or mail appears to be suspicious, do not give out personal information.
Instead, call the Sheriff’s Office to report the incident. The phone number is 218-998-8555.
The latest incident, in which a scam was averted, was reported on Sept. 23 by a resident in rural Vergas.
A scam phone call came in, with the party saying he represented the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD). On the same day, a mailing arrived stating the party represented Chase Paymentech.
“The Vergas area resident did the right thing by not giving out any personal information,” said Sheriff Lt. Barry Fitzgibbons. “New types of scams keep cropping up and we continually need to warn county residents.”
The rule of thumb is if something seems too good to be true, the warning flag should be raised.  read entire story. . . .

County half-cent sales tax  for road projects approved

The County Board of Commissioners, at its Tuesday, Sept. 22 meeting, approved a half-cent sales tax that will be used for roadway projects in Otter Tail County.
The half-cent tax, taking effect in 2016, will be added to the state sales tax that currently stands at 6.875 percent. The tax is on items sold by various businesses throughout the state, including Otter Tail County.
Proceeds from the new one-half cent sales tax are expected to yield between $3.5 million and $4.3 million in Otter Tail County on an annual basis.
The money will be used for roadway repairs and maintenance in Otter Tail County. Area counties which already have half-cent sales taxes for roadways include Becker, Douglas and Wadena counties.
More money for roadways in the county will come, starting in 2016, from a charge of $10 added to vehicle license tab renewals. This fee is expected to add $586,650 annually for roadway maintenance in Otter Tail County.  read entire story. . . .

‘Minnecanos’ Mexican-American history  explored in theater program Oct. 6

Mixed Blood Theatre brings Minnecanos, its acclaimed Chicano touring production, to the Historic Holmes Theatre in Detroit Lakes for a performance at 7 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 6.
Minnecanos spans four generations and the entire 20th Century in its spirited illumination of Mexican American history.  
It begins at the Minneapolis home Diego Morales has owned for over  forty years.  Encouraged by the bemused ghost of his loving wife, the old man uses the contents of an ancient trunk to ignite his great-granddaughter's interest in their rich cultural heritage.  read entire story. . . .

Maplewood Park visitation up 10 percent–and popular autumn color weekends are yet to come

Boost expected from ‘Leaf Days’

Following statewide trends, Maplewood State Park is also experiencing a vigorous 2015 park visitation season.
A 10 percent increase in total 2015 year to date attendance htas been recorded,  over 2014 numbers, according to Don DelGreco, Maplewood State Park  manager.
If Mother Nature cooperates on the weather front, Maplewood’s gains in visition could increase during the upcoming Leaf Days.  The Sept. 26-27 and Oct. 3-4 autumn celebrations have been among the most popular weekends on the Maplewood schedule.  read entire story. . . .

Maplewood Park Leaf Days

Rare native prairie will be in the spotlight for statewide event launching Maplewood’s annual autumn festival

Our Leaf Days celebration is fast approaching.  It is the time of year to get outside and enjoy the fall fresh air, the beautiful colors of nature, and get some exercise enjoying them.  
The trees and prairie grasses are beginning to provide a beautiful display of fall colors.
For two weekends, September 26-27 and October 3-4, the Friends of Maplewood will be giving wagon rides to view the fall colors.  During the ride Friends members will be telling the story of Maplewood, and about who lived in Maplewood Township before it became a park.  read entire story. . . .

Minnesota parks report big increase

A post-Labor Day report from the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources shows a significant increase in the number of people buying permits and staying overnight at Minnesota state parks and recreation areas in 2015 compared with 2014.
Erika Rivers, director of the DNR’s Parks and Trails Division, expects the upward trend to continue as fall color spreads across the state.
“We are anticipating a lot of visitors at parks this fall, enjoying good weather and fall colors,” she said.
The new report shows that year-to-date (Jan. 1-Sept. 7) sales of one-day permits in 2015 are up 16 percent over the same time period in 2014, and sales of year-round permits are up 12 percent. Overnight stays also are up by 9 percent compared with last year. These results continue the trend of steady increases over the past several years.  read entire story. . . .

Farewell to a country church...

Strandvik Lutheran to celebrate–though dwinding congregation plans to close building in 2016  

It’s a sad day when a rural church shuts its doors, but the congregation of Strandvik Lutheran Church plans to transform its planned demise into a celebration.
The tiny church located five miles south of Lake Park will be looking back on its history, including invitations to former pastors, on Sept. 27, starting at 2 p.m. Special music and lunch will be served.
“When Sunday worhship services in the winter were as low as ten people, the possibility of closing became the ‘elephant in the room,’” said Ila Lindstrom, longtime member of the church.
Strandvik is located five miles south of Lake Park, on County Road 5.
The history of the church dates back to 1895, when a group of neighbor ladies started “Ladies Aid.”  
They met in homes and had dreams of someday building a church, but a church home didn’t materialize until much later.  read entire story. . . .

IRS imposters continue scam calls

From Attorney General’s Office

Tax season may be over, but criminals posing as Internal Revenue Service (“IRS”) agents continue to call Minnesotans and attempt to intimidate them into paying money.  These criminals use a variety of ploys to lure victims, including using fake names, false IRS badge numbers, and even reciting the victim’s mailing address or the last four digits of their Social Security Number.  The callers may threaten arrest, jail time, driver’s license and passport revocation, and other legal action, unless the victim pays for purported back taxes or fines supposedly owed to the IRS.  
In many cases, it can be difficult to detect these fraudsters, who often call from outside the United States.  They use “spoofing” technology to hide the origin of their calls.  Spoofing is used by these scammers to make a Washington D.C. telephone number appear on a resident’s caller ID, thereby masking their identity and evade law enforcement.  read entire story. . . .

Embracing Life:  A Breast Cancer Survivor’s Retreat

The “Embracing Life: A Breast Cancer Survivor’s Retreat” offers breast cancer patients and survivors an opportunity to experience renewal, find encouragement and gain knowledge in a comforting space – surrounded by those who understand. The retreat is Oct. 1 and 2 at the Ramada, 1635 42nd St. S., Fargo.
Thursday, Oct. 1 is a pajama party from 6:30 to 9:30 p.m. Attendees are invited to wear pajamas or comfortable clothes for an evening of networking, music from the Pastry Shop Girls, food and more. Discussions will include strategies for dealing with side effects after breast cancer, ranging from body image to hot flashes to sexual functioning.
Friday, Oct. 2 is a full-day event from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. featuring inspirational stories of survival, educational presentations and breakout sessions for small group discussion. The day’s highlights include meditation, nutrition information, survivor insight, an expert panel to discuss breast cancer myths, and how technology can promote healing.  read entire story. . . .