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Tracks move guide service to new level

Large snowstorms can really put a damper on ice fishing. Last winters heavy snows had many people struggled to remove icehouses. Even though Mother Nature has been kinder this year as far as snow accumulation goes, one local fisherman is ready to keep on fishing even in the snowiest winter.
Todd Cameron, of PT’s Guide Service, recently added some accessories to his 1999 Jeep Cherokee to help deal with snow on area lakes. And he didn’t install a plow. Instead, Cameron had the tires on his Jeep Cherokee replaced with a Dominator Track System. These 15” triangle tracks allow him to drive over snow instead of worrying about plowing a road. Using this concept for ice house removal, Cameron attaches skis to the house wheels, which allows the fish house to glide over the snow.
In a recent interview, Cameron said he first noticed the tracked Jeeps during a fishing trip to Lake Winnipeg in Canada. Cameron and his business partner Phil Jenson decided Jeeps with tracks are a necessity around Otter Tail and Becker County, too. Both men own a Jeep and are available for hire to remove houses off lakes.
Although the fish house removal side of business hasn’t had a high demand due to lack of snow, PT’s Guide Service has stayed relatively busy in its first winter renting ice houses. Cameron has two angling houses, portables and a spearing house on Big Pine Lake, all available to rent. One house is an Ice Castle, complete with bunks and a stove. Cameron is also available for guide services.  read entire story. . . .

City stays with clerk model

Following a split vote, the City of New York Mills will remain with the city clerk structure.
At last week’s regular city council meeting, Mayor Julie Gerber asked the council for a show of hands during the voting process. Josh Hoaby and Marsha Maki voted for the city administrative structure, while Gerber, Betsy Roder and Jeff Oakland voted against the change. Thus, the motion to change to a city administrator structure failed 3 to 2.
The way in which the city is structured has been on the discussion board since last August. Besides lengthy discussions during city council meetings, a public hearing was held on the matter. Though few from the community chose to voice their opinions in a public format, most of the city councilors said they heard personally from residents. According to council members, concerns included cost of the new structure, the need for the change and the problems of taking the power out of the council’s hands.  read entire story. . . .

Hoban resigns from liquor store

The New York Mills municipal liquor store is in the midst of changes in management.
Kim Hoban, who has managed the liquor store for six years, turned in a letter of resignation late last week. During an emergency meeting held on Friday, the NY Mills City Council accepted the resignation and agreed to pay Hoban any remaining vacation time.
The resignation came three days after a two-hour closed city council meeting discussing Hoban. Due to employee privacy laws, the details about the closed meeting were not disclosed once the meeting was opened. Instead, at the end of Tuesday’s meeting, the council quietly passed a resolution that made City Clerk Darla Berry the temporary manager of the liquor store.  
Few details behind the resignation have emerged, however the following information has been confirmed by Berry, council members, Mayor Julie Gerber and/or Hoban.
Following orders from the Liquor Store Committee, the city clerk issued a suspension to Hoban almost two weeks ago. The reason for the suspension is not public data.  read entire story. . . .

Fixing Ottertail’s sidewalks

A proposed downtown sidewalk project in Ottertail could be a little more complicated than originally anticipated.
“We’ve got issues. Plenty of issues,” said City Maintenance Coordinator Loren Hawes, who showed slides of cracked and crumbling sidewalks at the Ottertail City Council meeting on Jan. 15.
Once thought to be a fairly straightforward replacement of city sidewalks, the project’s biggest obstacle seemed to be bringing affected businesses on board. The job now entails the probability of tearing up sidewalk installed just two years ago, complying with the Americans with Disabilities Act and working with the state, whose right-of-way extends into the sidewalks.  
“There are a lot of things in this particular project that are unknown,” said Bob Schlieman, project engineer for Apex Engineering Group, Inc.
The council approved the hiring of Apex Engineering Group, Inc., to prepare a preliminary         engineering design for the council on the downtown project.
 read entire story. . . .

Family Dollar opens in Ottertail

For those in need of laundry detergent, motor oil, clothing or a last minute gift item will have one more place to stop in the area. Ottertail’s newest business, Family Dollar Store, opened to the public on January 8 and features a little bit of everything for shoppers young and old.
Lark Wedde, who is the Ottertail Family Dollar Store manager, said those who have not been in the local store before are “going to be surprised how much we have.”
The store has generated quite a bit of buzz in Ottertail since word spread back in 2013 that the national retail chain was considering opening a store in the community. Construction on the new store began last summer.
After construction was completed, Wedde said 18 people spent the better part of 10 days building and stocking shelves and preparing the store for its opening just over one week ago. The store held its grand opening on Saturday, Jan. 17.  read entire story. . . .