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John Dinsmore has dedicated his life to helping others and serving the public good. For over 20 years he worked as a social worker and in 1998 he began his leadership service with Otter Tail County as the director of human services. In 2012, Dinsmore, with a breadth of experience, was select…

Otter Tail County, home to 1,048 lakes, is hosting the 2020 Minnesota Governor’s Fishing Opener May 7 -10. One of the goals of the event will be to highlight the lakes in the county, so anglers from all over are encouraged to fish any body of water in Otter Tail County during the event. Medi…

A new report from LendingTree, an online lending marketplace that connects users to deals on insurance, found that Minnesota is the sixth worst driving state. They based the ranking on factors including driver quality, distracted driving scores, car insurance increases, and road infrastructure.

The Otter Tail County Solid Waste Department and GreenCorps member Brittney Kakac are teaming up to fight food waste in Otter Tail County by sponsoring screenings of the 2017 documentary, “Wasted! The Story of Food Waste” at public libraries across Otter Tail County. Anthony Bourdain narrate…


Radon is the leading environmental cause of cancer deaths in the United States and the leading cause of lung cancer among nonsmokers. More than 21,000 lung cancer deaths are attributed to radon each year in the U.S. About 2 in 5 homes in Minnesota have dangerous levels of radon. Otter Tail C…

The role of snow-plow drivers is to clear the snow and ice off roads and to prepare county highways for safe driving. As a service to mail carriers, drivers plow under mailboxes while maintaining distance from those improperly installed. Sno-plow drivers never intentionally hit mailboxes. Th…


Otter Tail County wants you to build your future here. . .  and you can with local supports for housing investment. A county housing summit was hosted on Dec. 4, to launch “The Big Build” initiative. The goal of “The Big Build” is to build, preserve or rehabilitate 5,000 housing units by 202…

A short-term vacation rental (also called a vacation rental or STR) is most often defined as a rental of a residential dwelling unit or accessory building for periods of less than 30 consecutive days. Vacation rentals have exploded in popularity. Otter Tail County has an estimated 300-plus v…

The Otter Tail County (OTC) Board of Commissioners unanimously approved a resolution appointing Nicole Hansen as the next OTC administrator. The resolution also appointed Nick Leonard as deputy county administrator. The appointments become effective Jan. 1, 2020. John Dinsmore, current count…

Shopping, gift wrapping, entertaining, decorating … the holidays are filled with fun activities and time with family and friends. Unfortunately they are also filled with lots of garbage. Literally. Paper plates and disposable utensils, paper napkins, plastic shopping bags, wrapping paper you…

It is time to sort the trash once again in Fergus Falls. On Thursday, Dec. 12 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. the Otter Tail County Solid Waste Department will conduct a trash sort at the recycling facility at 1115 North Tower Road in Fergus Falls. 

In addition to its observance of Veterans Day on Monday, Nov. 11, Otter Tail County’s New York Mills Office, located at 118 North Main Avenue in New York Mills will also be closed from 2:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Nov. 13 to enable staff to participate in a staff safety training.

It’s that time of year again. . . flu season.  The Minnesota Department of Health recommends, for best protection, to get your flu vaccine in early fall before flu season starts. However, you can still get the vaccine anytime during flu season which is typically October through April. Jessica Metzger, a public health nurse with […]

The local planning committee is happy to announce that Lund Boats is the premiere boat sponsor for the 2020 Minnesota Governor’s Fishing Opener.  Lund will be donating a new Lund 1875 Impact XS to be raffled and will also be making two Pro V Limited boats for the Governor and Lieutenant Governor to fish from […]

Is it time to renew your driver’s license? Are you unsure of what type of license you need? The Otter Tail County License Center in Fergus Falls offers three different types of driver’s licenses: Minnesota driver’s license, Real ID and enhanced. Here are a few tips to help you decide which driver’s license is appropriate […]

County planning and zoning are complex issues that leaders must frequently consider. On Oct. 10-11, the Minnesota Association of County Planning and Zoning Administrators (MACPZA) met to share various topics from their professions. The conference focused on current issues covered by many county planning commissions and boards of adjustment.  The MACPZA group meets biannually with […]

Workforce housing shortages are being addressed statewide. In Otter Tail County, a groundbreaking was held for The Colony, a 36-unit market rate apartment building in Pelican Rapids.  Otter Tail County’s Community Development Agency (CDA) partners with the private sector, community organization, and state and local governments to expand housing opportunities and promote business development. The […]

Otter Tail County’s new Minnesota GreenCorps member Brittney Kakac is not just someone that knows the region, but is very passionate about her line of work. “I grew up in Sabin, and after high school I traveled the country and lived in various places. I began college in 2016 at Fond du Lac Tribal and […]

It’s working! Collaboration among community partners improve lives in Otter Tail County. On Tuesday, Aug. 27 the Otter Tail County Board of Commissioners and other staff members were invited to tour and learn more about the Perham 180 Program sponsored by Productive Alternatives Inc. (PAI). The Perham 180 Program is model of how community partners […]

When the state government elected to outlaw smoking in bars, restaurants and other establishments 12 years ago a decision that pleased some and angered others. Both sides in the fight had cases to make. People supporting the ban pointed out the health benefits of not having to breathe secondhand smoke. Those protesting the ban were […]

Otter Tail County Public Health Department’s Women, Infants and Children (WIC) Program is celebrating Minnesota Breastfeeding Awareness Month in August. This year’s theme focuses on “Empower Parents, Enable Breastfeeding.” Community members, employers and health professionals can do a lot to support women and families, and help mothers and babies get a healthy start. Breastfeeding Awareness […]

Otter Tail County is pleased to announce the hiring of Michael Schommer, director of probation. John Dinsmore, county administrator, welcomes Schommer, “Mike brings wonderful depth and breadth to the probation director role.  His years of experience with the Department of Corrections coupled with a master’s degree in organizational leadership provides an excellent blend of what […]

The county of 1,048 lakes is hosting the Governor’s Fishing Opener (GFO) May 8-10, 2020. Otter Tail County was selected to host the event as a county-wide celebration to showcase Otter Tail County’s diverse outdoor recreation opportunities, the numerous lakes and welcoming communities. Otter Tail Lake will be host to Gov. Tim Walz and other […]

Summer is full of fun events. You could go to a different parade, fair or festival every week if you wanted to! While we all love having a good time, events and parties create a lot of waste. Everything thrown away was once a natural resource, so reducing waste will help conserve natural resources. From […]

County commissioners are elected by and serve the residents of Otter Tail County. In order to engage those they serve, the county commissioners are coming to the residents of District 4 with a board meeting on June 25 at 4 p.m. at the Henning Community Center. Local youth groups and mayors are participating. A meet […]

To provide a safer disposal option for used sharps and needles, the Otter Tail County Household Hazardous Waste (HHW) program is now accepting sharps in puncture-resistant containers. Having a designated disposal site for sharps reduces the risk of accidental needle pricks for recycling and sanitation workers. Previously residents have been instructed to fill puncture-resistant containers […]

Desta Lutzwick, Otter Tail County’s director of probation will retire at the end of May. Lutzwick, a graduate of St. Cloud State University, began her career in Anoka County as a probation officer in 1977.  She has worked for Otter Tail County since 1981 and began her service as the director in 2016. Many people […]

Recently there has been a lot of news coverage about measles and many questions have been asked of Otter Tail County Public Health Department. Jessica Metzger, a public health nurse specializing in disease prevention and control, has some helpful advice for those seeking answers to their questions about measles. There are many resources available to […]

Otter Tail County is celebrating National Drug Court Month. Treatment courts (drug, DWI, and mental health and veteran) have been shown to be one of the most successful justice programs for reducing addiction, crime and recidivism while saving taxpayer dollars. Otter Tail County has operated a DWI treatment court since 2008. DWI court is a […]

Rural homeowners do you have questions about your wells and septic systems? Otter Tail County invites you to attend a free informational session to help you understand the basic principles of how a septic system works.  A Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) representative will be in attendance to provide information and answer questions on private […]

The public’s input is needed for the Otter Tail County Long-Range Strategic Plan for Otter Tail County.  An online survey is available for the community to provide input to shape the planning process. The survey will take approximately 15 minutes to complete and is available at ottertailcountymn.us/LRSP. The county, with input from county residents and […]

In one year, on April 1, 2020, the decennial census will begin. The results of the 2020 Census will have an enormous impact on residents in Minnesota, especially here in greater Minnesota. In order to help maximize our count locally, the Fergus Falls Complete Count Committee will be working hard to share information and opportunities […]

The Kaddatz Galleries, Otter Tail County Solid Waste, The Spot and Springboard for the Arts are teaming up to host the first ever Trashion Fashion show in Otter Tail County. The event will be on April 27 in honor of Earth Day. Teams are invited to sign up to design a garment(s) out of trash […]

Most of us like to think we are good at juggling many tasks at one time. In the Otter Tail County Dispatch Center, multitasking is a fine art. The public can be confident that when an emergency call is placed to 9-1-1 a qualified and well-trained communication officer in the dispatch center will professionally support […]

Capitol Day is an opportunity for elected county officials and leaders to share the voice of their constituents with state legislators. Several leaders from Otter Tail County attended the Legislative Conference in St. Paul. The conference is sponsored by the Association of Minnesota Counties (AMC) and is an opportunity for county leaders to scheduled appointments […]

The Otter Tail County Board of Commissioners is working to get out and meet their constituents in the month of March, setting up several meet and greets. On March 5, the commissioners will meet in Perham for their monthly meeting, convening in the Perham City Hall Chambers at 12 p.m. The commissioners will return to […]

SNAP benefits users are still facing some semblance of limbo after the government has been temporarily reopened as members of Congress work to find a final agreement to keep the government open. Benefit users received their February benefits early via their EBT cards in mid-January after local human services employees worked overtime to get applications […]

Leaders in Otter Tail County are putting together their main legislative priorities to bring to the Minnesota Legislature in St. Paul. The Otter Tail County Board of Commissioners outlined funding priorities and announced their 2019 legislative priorities. The priorities set by the commissioners are to expand broadband infrastructure, asking for funding of the Broadband Development […]

The public is invited to attend open house meetings to discuss the Otter Tail County Long-Range Strategic Plan. These meetings will offer the public an opportunity to provide feedback on the plan’s six elements: Land use, public infrastructure, resilience, economy, natural resources, and parks and trails. The public meeting will be an open house format […]

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has designated January as National Radon Action Month. Otter Tail County Public Health encourages you to test your home for radon. A free radon test kit is available at the Public Health office in Fergus Falls. Radon is a colorless, odorless radioactive gas that seeps up from the earth. […]

Do you have stuff close to the highway right-of-way? Otter Tail County Highway Department reminds you to move property, signs, and items for sale back from the roadway. Public safety for all drivers including snow plow drivers is critical. We do not want your property damaged. Please keep the right-of-way clear. A highway right-of-way is […]

The Otter Tail Board of Commissioners held a public hearing to hear from the public about the tax levy increase for the 2019 fiscal year on Tuesday, Dec. 11. County Auditor Wayne Stein gave a presentation on the tax levy and the history of the tax budget for the public who attended. The total proposed […]

By Shannon Terry Otter Tail County Board of Commissioners welcomed Betty Murphy to its ranks. Judge Barbara Hanson presided over the swearing in of Commissioner Murphy on Tuesday, Nov. 27. Murphy will finish Roger Froemming’s term and will continue her service on the board until January 2023. Murphy was elected in November and will serve […]

In a unanimous vote, the Otter Tail County Board of Commissioners approved the Tobacco 21 ordinance at Tuesday morning’s meeting. The commissioners heard an updated report on the ordinance from public health director Diane Thorson on the ordinance, which included the fees for businesses caught selling those under the age of 21. “We are sending […]

Elections are not merely the outcome of winners and losers. Free, fair and open elections are at the heart of our democracy. Otter Tail County extends appreciation to those involved in this year’s election process. We are fortunate to live in a country that ensures a fair and transparent election process. Thank you, voters. Minnesota […]

The mission of Otter Tail County is to “enrich lives, innovate services, and enhance resources.” With this goal in mind, Otter Tail County has launched a new website. The new website was based on considerable consumer input, including testing and focus groups with Otter Tail County citizens and businesses. The web designers listened. Based on […]

Otter Tail County historically has not had an issue with getting election results out to the public but this year, the county was unable to release results to the public until approximately three and a half hours after the polls closed. Otter Tail County Auditor Wayne Stein, in charge of getting results out to the […]

Roger Froemming, Otter Tail County commissioner vice-chair and District 4 commissioner, passed away on Tuesday, Oct. 30 in hospice care at his home after battling cancer. The Otter Tail County commissioners meeting on Nov. 6 will be held in Parker’s Prairie at the Prairie Event Center to honor Froemming. Froemming served in the U.S. Air […]

Roger Froemming, Otter Tail County commissioner vice-chair and District 4 commissioner, passed away on Tuesday, Oct. 30 in hospice care at his home after battling cancer. Froemming served in the U.S. Air Force from 1955 to 1959 after graduating from Parkers Prairie High School. He worked in many capacities after his honorable discharge from the Air […]

The Otter Tail County Board of Commissioners has approved a preliminary gross (net) tax levy of $40.15 million for 2019. This represents a proposed 3.9 percent tax increase for county residents compared to the 2018 budget. The state of Minnesota previously dropped county aid, resulting in a 2.58 percent loss for Otter Tail County. Even […]

As the Otter Tail County commissioners work on their decision for the proposed Tobacco 21 ordinance, cities around Minnesota have passed their own versions of a Tobacco 21 law. Most recently the city of Minnetonka. Minnetonka is the 12th city in Minnesota to raise the tobacco purchase age to 21. Minnetonka voted unanimously on Sept. […]

Health and Human Services legislative liaison for MICA, Nancy Silesky gave a presentation to the county board last week on Sept. 4 on Health and Human Services cuts statewide. One topic presented was mental health and addiction as a statewide issue. The Minnesota Inter-County Association is a voluntary organization of 14 counties in Minnesota, including […]

CLITHERALL — Celebrating the history of Otter Tail County, the OTC commissioners and other guests started off this momentous weekend with a Kickoff event at Justice Two Coffeehouse and Eatery in Old Town Clitherall. Wednesday, Sept. 12 the OTC Board of Commissioners moved their meeting to the old Cutlerite church on the grounds of the […]

The Otter Tail County commissioners held a second public hearing on Monday night to hear public opinions about the Tobacco 21 ordinance they are considering implementing county wide to restrict access to tobacco and nicotine products to those under the age of 21. Otter Tail County Public Health Director Diane Thorson gave a short presentation […]

Otter Tail County is considering implementing an ordinance that would make it illegal for sellers of tobacco and nicotine products to sell to those under the age of 21 in the county. The county commissioners held a public hearing on Aug. 14 and will have a second one on Monday at 7 p.m. in the […]

August is National Immunization Awareness Month and Otter Tail County is reminding parents to protect their kids before sending them back to school. Find out which vaccines are recommended for your child before going back to school. Parents can find more information about recommended vaccines by visiting cdc.gov/vaccines/parents or co.ottertail.mn.us/499/Immunization-Support-Center.