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A day to remember

Each year on Memorial Day, VFW’s, American Legion’s and Ladies Auxiliaries around the area prepare special programs to help communities remember and honor veterans who have died in military actions. Memorial Day is an important day of reflection for many, especially those that have seen war. Through the years, Deann Ament and her husband Andrew would attend these programs.
“Memorial Day means a lot to me because Memorial Day services meant a lot to him,” said Deann, in an interview at her Bluffton home last week.
This year will be different though, as Andrew will be one of the veterans that are remembered. Last November, Andrew died after complications from pancreatic cancer. He was 84-years-old.
Andrew enlisted in the United States Army on August 8, 1952. He served as a military police during the Korean War until his honorable discharge on July 8, 1954. His main duty was transporting the wounded from the front of the lines to the hospitals. Along with others in his company, Andrew would ride a train from the hospital to the war zone and carry the wounded back to the hospital.
“He was really proud to serve in his country,” said Deann, even though many memories haunted him through the years.
Deann described her late husband as a “talker.” Through their 59 years of marriage, he would share memories from those years in Korea. Most of the stories though, Deann wasn’t comfortable sharing as they haunted her husband. She said he had nightmares for many years.  read entire story. . . .

Wheelage tax to increase

In 2015 the County Board of Commissioners, after a public transportation hearing, approved a wheelage tax. This allowed for a charge of $10 added to vehicle license tab renewals, starting in calendar year 2016 in Otter Tail County.
Funds will go to specific county roadway improvement as part of a 25-year transportation plan also approved by county board members.
The wheelage tax will increase to an additional $20 per vehicle starting in calendar year 2018.
“Most counties in Minnesota are like our county and have instituted a wheelage tax of $10,” said Otter Tail County Engineer Rick West.
“This revenue goes directly to the individual counties for road and bridge construction and repair,” he added.
The additional tax will be added onto the vehicle license tabs each time the vehicle registration is renewed.
Otter Tail County is larger in size than the state of Rhode Island and paved roads total 1,062 miles.
“The backbone of the highway system in Otter Tail County requires lots of financial investment,” said County Engineer West.
He said a wheelage tax of $10 per vehicle, authorized for counties by the Minnesota State Legislature, adds close to $600,000 annually for roadway maintenance in Otter Tail County.
In addition, proceeds to Otter Tail County from a one-half cent sales tax will yield close to $4.3 million annually. This money also will be used for road repairs and maintenance.
Area counties which also have half-cent sales taxes for roadways include Becker, Douglas and Wadena counties.  read entire story. . . .

Sperling Modern Home opens in Ottertail

Just one step into Ottertail’s newest business will whisk patrons into a place of endless flooring possibilities. There is a showroom filled with flooring samples, counter tops, trim, drapery, window coverings and just about anything the mind can imagine.
Sperling Modern Home opened in mid-April and brought new life to a building that has been vacant for a number of years. The new business is located near Boll Realty on Highway 78 in town. After an extensive remodel project Thad Sperling and AmyMortenson opened the doors of Sperling Modern Home to customers just in time for spring.
Though Sperling Modern Home is a new business to Ottertail, Sperling has a vast knowledge of the area after installing flooring for the past 13 years. After hearing of a continued request and need from customers for another flooring option in the region, Mortenson said “we decided let’s open a retail store,” and fill that need in the community.
Though there are other flooring companies in the region, Mortenson said one of the things that sets Sperling Modern Home apart is that all of the installations are done by their company. She said some retail flooring companies will sub contract out the installation process to other individuals.  Mortenson said that extra attention from purchase to installation can help to ensure the job is done with the detail that is needed to keep customers coming back.  read entire story. . . .

‘We will do this again...in 13 years'

The New York Mills pre-kindergarten classes graduated last week.
Elementary Principal Judith Brockway and Superintendent Blaine Novak handed out diplomas to 35 students. Prior to the presentation of their diplomas, students performed a selection of songs they learned throughout the school year.
Most of the children will move on to kindergarten next year, becoming the NY Mills Class of 2029.
Right before presenting the diplomas, pre-kindergarten teacher Kendra Geiser said, “We will do this again in 13 years.”
There were two classes of pre-kindergarten this year, with 36 students between the two. Each class attended school two days a week, for a total of 70 days of school throughout the year. In pre-kindergarten, students focused on skills to prepare them to be successful in kindergarten.  For example, students learned how to follow directions, rules, and routines of the school, as well as skills such as sharing, teamwork, cooperation and independence. Through the year they also worked on learning letters, numbers, counting and writing through play.  read entire story. . . .

NY Mills FFA week

This week was FFA Week at the New York Mills High School. Throughout the week, FFA members invited high schoolers to play games during lunch for a chance to win cash prizes. Students could also participate in dress up days and even drive their tractor to school. For a fundraiser, students could put money into jugs with the teacher’s name on them for a Kiss the Kritter contest. Math teacher Harley Jabas (below) kisses a calf as part of the contest.  read entire story. . . .

Bathroom may be installed at pier

On any given night a handful of fishermen young and old flock to the Pelican Bay Fishing Pier in Ottertail.
The fishing pier, which was installed just a couple of years ago has grown into a popular destination during the summer months partially due to its handicapped accessibility.
Despite its popularity the Ottertail City Council heard on Thursday night that one thing is missing from the fishing pier area—a handicapped accessible bathroom. During its regularly scheduled meeting, the council heard from Councilman Ron Grobeck who said the fishing pier has grown in popularity, but lacks a bathroom that could be used for elderly, children and those needing a handicapped bathroom.
The closest bathroom to the fishing pier is located across the highway at the public access on Otter Tail Lake.
“You just don’t want someone to go across Highway 78 with the busy traffic,” said Grobeck. “I think it would be good if the city put a handicapped accessible bathroom.”  read entire story. . . .