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Otter Tail taxpayers face 3.1 percent  tax hike

County taxpayers, on Tuesday evening, Dec. 9, voiced their opinions about the proposed 2015 tax levy during a levy and budget hearing, technically referred to as the annual Truth in Taxation public meeting.
The gathering was held at the County Government Services Center in Fergus Falls.
The Otter Tail County Board of Commissioners, on Sept. 30, adopted a preliminary gross property tax levy of $36.7 million for 2015. This represents a 3.13 percent increase over the gross levy of 35.6 million for 2014.
A final decision will be made by the county board at 2:45 p.m. on Tuesday, Dec. 16. The board can decrease the percentage of increase over 2014. However, it cannot raise the increase above the 3.13 percent agreed to (on a preliminary basis).

PHOTO: Wayne Stein  read entire story. . . .

Cormorant seasonal resident  pens new mystery novel

Mythical town ‘Pelican Falls’ features shades of lake country in author L.D. Bergsgaard’s new book ‘First Stone’

The debut novel in the “Pelican Falls” series by L. D. Bergsgaard features Minnesota themes–by an author with ties to the Cormorant area.
The charming and cozy mystery takes place in the village of Pelican Falls, a quaint destination between Cohen Brother’s Fargo and Sinclair Lewis’ Gopher Prairie. Title “First Stone,” it is the latest work by Bergsgaard, a seasonal resident in the greater Pelican Rapids area.  read entire story. . . .

Victims rescued from roof of car after ice break strands them

The Sheriff’s Office received a report of a vehicle that went through ice on the northeast side of Otter Tail Lake. Two people were standing on the roof of a car.
They were rescued after the accident that took place at 9:38 a.m. on Dec. 13. Ottertail Fire and Rescue personnel used a boat and ice rescue suits.
The victims were treated and released at the scene by Henning Ambulance personnel.
The driver was 34-year-old Bryan Franklin of Clitherall. He had spent the night fishing and became disoriented in the dense fog. He could not locate the access to the lake and drove close to the outlet where the vehicle broke through thin ice.
 read entire story. . . .

Brothers plead guilty to deer hunting charges

Two brothers charged with illegal hunting violations in late 2013 recently pleaded guilty in a plea bargain agreement in Nobles County District Court, reports the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources.
On Nov. 18, Steven E. Joens, 53, of Wilmont, and Eric A. Joens, 45, of Reading, pleaded guilty to discharging a firearm at a big game animal from a public highway. Each man was fined $1,000 and had their hunting privileges revoked for three years. Charges dismissed in the plea bargain included unlawful transportation of wild animals, illegally transporting a loaded firearm in a motor vehicle and taking a wild animal with a firearm from a motor vehicle.  read entire story. . . .

Two-vehicle crash leads to DWI

The driver of one vehicle in a two-vehicle accident northeast of Fergus Falls on Dec. 13 was arrested for DWI and criminal vehicular operation. The accident took place on Highway 18 at 6:44 p.m.
Arrested was Jess Wayne Gilje, 42, of Fergus Falls. He was taken to the Otter Tail County Detention Facility.
A passenger in one of the vehicles was transported to Lake Region Hospital, Fergus Falls, after sustaining non-life threatening injuries.
Assisting sheriff deputies were members of the Fergus Falls Fire Department.  read entire story. . . .

Swan sightings–and road deaths–more common with increased population

Motorists on Highway 108 east of Pelican Rapids spotted this swan, evidently killed by a vehicle or a power line collision.
Most of the time, it is power lines,” said DNR Conservation Officer Gary Forsberg, who retrieved the bird.
As sad as it may be to see such a magnificent bird dead, Forsberg said it is much more common  because the population has increased substantially.
“With the effort to reintroduce the bird, the population has really taken off,” said Forsberg, noting that he receives up to a half-dozen calls about downed swans every year.
Swans are much more prevalent in the area, said Forsberg, noting that some of the most frequent viewings of the birds are in the Pelican Lake area and Highway 34 by Dunvilla. There are also many sightings on the Pelican River in and near Pelican Rapids.  read entire story. . . .

Price Loss Coverage workshops  set this month for area farmers

Ag producers have a "one-time" opportunity to update yields and reallocate bases for the new ARC-PLC program.
Even though the updated yields will only be used for payment calculation under the Price Loss Coverage (PLC) option, producers are encouraged to update their yields no matter which program they choose.
The West Otter Tail County FSA office has printed packets which will assist producers in proving yields and deciding whether to reallocate bases.  read entire story. . . .

Fishing gear stolen, anti-theft tips issued

This is the time of year when ice fishermen head to the frozen lakes. Unfortunately, it’s also a busy time for thieves.
Fishing gear was stolen Dec. 3 from a collapsible fish house at Rush Lake, north of Otter Tail Lake and south of Perham. The incident was reported at 1:27 p.m.
Taken were three ice fishing rods and reels valued at close to $160. There were no suspects, according to Sheriff Office deputies.
For those who have average-size fish houses on lakes, owners are urged to reinforce doors and windows in order to prevent thefts.
One fishing expert suggested use of a trailer coupler lock. Thieves would need a sledgehammer to break the lock. This would likely bend the trailer tongue, making the fish house hard to steal.  read entire story. . . .

Otter Tail joins forces with larger counties

Will collaborate on topics common with state’s industrial, population centers

Otter Tail County is a new member of the Minnesota Inter-County Association (MICA) which is comprised of the larger counties in the state of Minnesota.
Providing an overview to county commissioners on Nov. 25 were MICA Executive Director Keith Carlson and MICA Vice President Leigh Lenzmeier.
Lenzmeier also serves as a county commissioner in Stearns County which includes the St. Cloud area.
“Larger counties such as Otter Tail and Stearns have similar issues,” said Lenzmeier.
And while MICA is comprised of 22 larger counties, all of the 87 counties in Minnesota are part of the Association of Minnesota Counties (AMC).
“MICA's member counties encompass a major portion of the state's population and an enormous share of its industrial and high-tech resources,” said Carlson. “Through MICA, county boards of commissioners are able to influence regional and state programs in order to solve common problems.”  read entire story. . . .