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The Otter Tail County Community Development Agency is committed to supporting area businesses as they navigate the road ahead. To directly aid in the recovery of small businesses, the board of directors recently dedicated $200,000 to establish a small business relief fund.

Otter Tail County continues to navigate the road ahead in the COVID-19 pandemic. Since the start of the pandemic Jody Lien, public health director, has maintained that “we are in a marathon not a sprint.” Otter Tail County’s first confirmed positive case of COVID-19 was on March 29, 2020. Co…

Public safety officials in Otter Tail County announced Wednesday that Smart911 is now available to all individuals. Smart911 is a free service that allows residents and travelers to sign up for notifications sent from state and local public safety authorities and will provide timely and acti…

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A smoldering lithium battery was found in the recycling at an Otter Tail County Transfer Station last Friday. Employee Scott Mounts observed smoke coming from the single-sort recycling bunker at the Fergus Falls Transfer Station, but was able to alert other staff and contain the hazard befor…

The stay-at-home executive order issued by the state has ended and many businesses are reopening their doors with modifications. In adhering to the Stay Safe Minnesota state guidance Otter Tail County will be reopened in phases and the buildings will remain locked during this time. The main …

Otter Tail County wants you to build your future here... and you can with local supports for housing investment. Be a part of the “The Big Build” initiative launched in December 2019. The goal of The Big Build is to build new or rehabilitate 5,000 housing units by 2025. Building towards the …

The people of Otter Tail County are a resilient group. I am proud to be a member of this county and feel fortunate to call it home. I also am proud to serve the residents of Otter Tail County as a county commissioner.  It is a privilege to work with a skilled and dedicated group of individua…



Otter Tail County is preparing a master plan for Phelps Mill County Park and needs your input! The master plan will create a vision for future park improvements within the existing and expanded park area.  Otter Tail County is expanding the current 55-acre Phelps Mill County Park on the Otte…

Chris LeClair, director of Otter Tail County Land and Resource Management, announced recently that funding is available through a grant from the Clean Water Partnership and the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency for county residents to make repairs to noncompliant septic systems. Beginning M…

Hello Otter Tail County, this is your local GreenCorps member, Brittney Kakac. I am halfway through my service year with the Otter Tail County Solid Waste Department and in Week 4 of the stay-at-home order. During this time, I’ve been thinking a lot about disposability and how we can reduce …

This year, on May 8 Otter Tail County celebrates Licensed Family Child Care Provider Day to honor child care providers for the extraordinary work they do. This special day is intended to recognize all those who nurture, teach and care for children in multiple settings across the county. Chil…

Otter Tail County Public Health, along with local healthcare partners, are encouraging the public not to delay necessary medical care over fear of COVID-19. Delaying medical care may cause mild health issues to become more severe illness. By not addressing your health care needs now, it coul…

The Otter Tail County Board of Commissioners passed a resolution proclaiming May as Foster Care Month. Now is an opportune time to consider becoming a foster parent. An increasing number of children are entering foster care each year. Otter Tail County needs additional quality foster homes f…

Otter Tail County understands the impact and burden of the COVID-19 pandemic on businesses, nonprofits, the public sector and individuals. The economic impact is widespread and touches every facet of daily life. Rural counties and those with large seasonal populations, where many businesses …

The Otter Tail County Board of Commissioners approved a modification to the property tax rebate program for single and two-family homes that are being newly built during their meeting Tuesday, April 7.

Preliminary design for the Tyler Wolers Trail project was unveiled by Apex Engineering’s Bob Schlieman during the Ottertail City Council meeting held Thursday, April 16 through online meeting service Zoom.

The Otter Tail County Public Health Department’s Women, Infants, and Children program (WIC) wants families to know that they are here for them. The WIC program is open for current participants and new participants. WIC is a health and nutrition program and provides a variety of healthy foods…

At a Grant County Board of Commissioners meeting last week, the board discussed options following the temporary suspension of services offered by Grant County DAC with regard to their recycling contract with the county. The DAC, which provides prevocational services designed to help teach pe…

On April 7, the Otter Tail County Board of Commissioners announced that for the now county property taxes will still be due no later than May 15. Any measure by legislators at the state Capitol to change the due date because of the coronavirus impact would need the approval of Gov. Tim Walz.

As Minnesotans, we get excited about the ice “going out.” Warmer weather provides an opportunity to get outdoors, visit the lakes and reconnect with nature. Many seasonal property owners and snowbirds are asking: Can we go to our cabin during the stay at home order? This year going to the ca…

Reports of staggering amounts of food waste have popped up in recent weeks as supply chains have struggled to adapt to a rapidly changing retail landscape in the face of a global pandemic. Food destined for larger clients such as schools and the hospitality industry either has to be rerouted…

The Otter Tail County Commissioners have signed a proclamation to call upon all citizens, community agencies, religious organizations, medical facilities and businesses to increase their participation in efforts to prevent child abuse and neglect, thereby strengthening the communities in whi…

There is an old joke that Minnesotans like to tell each other about seasonal change — “There are only two seasons in the state, winter and road construction.” As we slowly make our way out of winter and into spring, we take a look at that second season. The Daily Journal interviewed Otter Ta…

The outbreak of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) may be stressful for people. Fear and anxiety about a disease can be overwhelming and cause strong emotions in adults and children. Coping with stress will make you, the people you care about, and your community stronger.

Today, Gov. Tim Walz announced that the Governor’s Fishing Opener celebrations will be postponed until next May. The event was to be held in Otter Tail County May 7-10, 2020. The event was appropriately postponed to slow the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic. The 2020 Minnesota fishing opener …

Patrick Waletzko, Otter Tail County (OTC) Emergency Management director, virtually gathered county personnel on Monday, March 23 to announce the opening of the county’s emergency operations center (EOC) in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Otter Tail County Board of Commissioners held an emergency board meeting Friday, March 20 to discuss COVID-19 planning and preparations taking place at the county. The public meeting was held via GoToMeeting (online video conferencing) to ensure social distancing and accommodate the publ…

The second annual Earth Day Trashion Fashion show that was scheduled for April 18 will be canceled/postponed.

Under the authority of the emergency declaration issued by the Otter Tail County Board of Commissioners on March 17, 2020, and through consultation with Otter Tail County Public Health and Emergency Management, Otter Tail County will be limiting access to all public buildings effective immed…

The Otter Tail County Board of Commissioners have changed the location and time of their March 17th, 2020 meeting. An updated agenda has been posted to the Otter Tail County website. The meeting changes are due to emergency circumstances for preparing and responding to the coronavirus pandem…

Otter Tail County Solid Waste, Springboard for the Arts and the Kaddatz Galleries are teaming up again to host a “Trashion Fashion” show in honor of the 50th anniversary of Earth Day. The event will be held on Saturday, April 18 at 6:30 p.m. at the Fergus Falls VFW.

The Otter Tail County Highway Department announced  weight restrictions on Otter Tail County Highways and Fergus Falls city streets will go into effect at 12:01 a.m., Wednesday, March 11, 2020. Restrictions will remain in effect until signs are removed.

During the 2020 Explore Minnesota Tourism Conference, held at Arrowwood Resort, Alexandria, several individuals, organizations and tourism businesses were recognized with Explore Minnesota Tourism Awards for their contributions to the state’s $16 billion travel industry.  Otter Tail County e…

The coronavirus is on the minds of many people. While the reported number of cases in the United States remains relatively small, and Minnesota has yet to identify a case, we must anticipate that COVID-19 will reach Minnesota.

The topic of making Otter Tail County a Second Amendment sanctuary county was brought up at a recent county commissioners board meeting. Although the commissioners said they would review the information and take it under advisement, the item will not be discussed at the Tuesday, Feb. 25 meeting.

Current soil and moisture conditions throughout the county, along with outlooks of continued above normal precipitation suggest flooding conditions throughout the region this spring are more likely than a typical year. However, significant flooding is not yet certain.

The Otter Tail County Safe Communities Coalition is a group of individuals and agencies who work together under funding from the Toward Zero Deaths Safe Roads Program via the Minnesota Department of Public Safety. The mission of the coalition is to raise awareness of traffic safety issues an…

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…