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Community Watch

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Filing for City Offices and School Boards Open


Filing for City Council  and school board seats is now open. They close on Tuesday August 12th at 5:00 pm.

 In Fergus Falls, four council member positions are open, one from each ward. The term would begin on January 1, 2015

Apply at city hall during the regular business hours; there is no filing fee for Fergus Falls city offices.   The candidate must be an eligible voter;
 Is, or will be 21 years of age or more when taking office; and will have maintained residence in the City of Fergus Falls for 30 days before the election.

Filing for school board is done at the school’s district office. There is a two-dollar filing fee. Three positions on the six-member board are up for re-election.

The election for these offices will be held on Tuesday November 4th, 2014 between 7:00 am and 8:00 pm.

Diestler Sentenced for Taking Money from ATMs
A Fergus Falls, Minn. man has been sentenced to 21 months in prison after pleading guilty to stealing cash from ATM's in Minnesota and North Dakota. 
Federal prosecutors say Christopher Diestler stole more than $184,000 while he worked as an armored truck driver. The money was taken from ATM's in Alexandria, Breckenridge, Detroit Lakes, Fergus Falls, Morris and Wahpeton.
Diestler was also ordered to pay back the stolen money and serve three years of supervised release.
Diestler has until Sept. 9 to report to the federal prison camp in Yankton, SD.

Man Found in Field
A man is under arrest after he was found passed out in his vehicle in a field Monday morning.
The call came shortly after 6 am.  The caller found the man in a gray station wagon. He had left the roadway near the intersection of Co Hwy 75 & Co Hwy 76 north of Bluffton.  The vehicle was in a hay field and he was not able to get back on the road. Caller said the man was intoxicated and passed out in the vehicle. The sheriff’s office arrested 42-year-old Michael Richard Johnson from New York Mills on DWI, refusal to test and open container charges. 

Police Called to Investigate Juveniles Swimming in Lake Alice
Police were called to Lake Alice in Fergus Falls shortly before 9:30 Monday evening. The caller said there were several loud juveniles that were swearing and swimming in Lake Alice.  Lake Alice is more of a duck pond than a swimming lake. Police found two nine-year olds and an 11 year old that had been in the water.  They denied it at first, but then said they were trying “to save a duck.” 

Third City Deer Hunt to be Held in Fergus Falls
There will be another city deer hunt in Fergus Falls this Fall.  Hunters are selected by a lottery and must pass a proficiency test.  The hunt is conducted only on certain city owned property. Hunters pay a city permit fee of $20 in addition to the DNR license requirements.  They must obey all state hunting regulations plus the city rules.  It is archery hunting only. This is the third year the city has offered the special hunt.  The hunt was started after a council member noted an increasing number of vehicles hitting deer within the city limits.  Applications are available on the Fergus Falls City website; they can also be picked up at the police department. A bow hunt map is also on the website.  Applications need to be turned in by August 15th.

Filing for Perham City Council opens July 29
Three elected positions are open for election this year in Perham.  The terms for Mayor and two City Council members are up for renewal.  Individuals wishing to file for these positions must do so between July 29 and August 12.  The mayor's position is a two-year term while council members are elected for four years.  Elections will take place at the general election on November  4. The salaries for Perham's elected officials were recently increased to $4500 per year for Mayor and $3500 per year for a council person.

Family Dollar Being Bought Out By Competiter Dollar Tree
Family Dollar is being bought out by competiter Dollar Tree and while still needing final approval from Family Dollar shareholders, a buyout of the chain by competiter Dollar Tree appears imminent. The boards of both companies have unanimously approved the deal, Family Dollar has store locations in Wahpeto, Pelican Rapids, and Perham. For now they will not be closures or name changes as they plan to retain the brands seperately

Sheriff Investigating a Rollover
The sheriff’s office is investigating a rollover crash where one person ran away from the vehicle.  The crash happened on Co Hwy 83 Saturday evening.  The full report was not available but according to preliminary information, three people were in the vehicle. One person was taken to the hospital with possible injuries, the other two were not injured but  one person ran from the crash scene. An alcohol test was given to the 32-year-old driver from the Richville area. The vehicle was taken to an evidence garage. 

New Sculpture introduced in New York Mills August 2
A new sculpture will be introduced at the Sculpture Park in New York Mills on Saturday, August 2 from 4 to 6 p.m.  Artist, Gary Wahl, who teaches studio art at the University of Minnesota, Morris, will be on hand to talk about his new piece which is called "Uprooted".  The Sculpture Park is located at the intersection of County 67 and US Highway 10.  Additional information is available on the Cultural Center's website, kulcher dot org (

“Motu” Brings the Sound of the Caribbean to Battle Lake July 31
A concert by "Motu" will bring the sound of the Caribbean to Battle Lake on Thursday, July 31 at the Lakes Area Community Center.  Reggae and Island Music will be provided by Jay Johnson on keyboard, Arlyn Swenson on guitar and Wally Warhol on steel drum and trumpet.  Each Thursday during the summer, the Lakes Area Community Center offers free concerts and programs, beginning at 7:30.  Indoor seating is available in case of rain.  

Flamingos Expected to Land in Fergus Falls Next Week
If you are driving around Fergus Falls, you may see a strange site of 25 pink flamingos in someone’s yard. Katie Johnson from Lake Region Hospital: “The flamingos will land in your yard and you will be asked to make to donation to have them removed from your yard. We don’t have a set price. We are recommending a minimum donation of twenty-five dollars and if you’d like to give more than that we’d welcome that. If you would like to give a little more to suggest which yard they land in next as well would be a lot of fun.”
The money will go to the Cancer Care & Research Center.
They will also take a donation towards flamingo insurance:  “So if you would really rather not have the flamingos land in your yard you can contact us to buy insurance….to make sure that even if someone nominates your yard for the flocking that you have protection against them landing there.”
To purchase insurance or to nominate someone to be flamingo flocked email or call 218 736 8193.
They have two flocks of flamingos. They start Monday and run for two weeks. 

I-LID Systems Now in Place To Combat Invasive Species
 Boaters coming to the boat launches on Otter Tail Lake will now be camera inspected by a device called the I-LIDS or Imagery Library for Intelligent Detection System, boaters within 20 feet will hear an educational message reminding them to clean off weeds and any other evidence of aquatic invasive species as they take their boats in and out of the lake. Using motion sensors, the devices will capture videos of boats and trailers, which get transferred over the internet to a remote server, where they will be processed and made available on a website for review which only authorized users will have access to. The system is being primarily overseen by the county’s AIS Task Force and the Otter Tail County Lake Association who funded the system for Otter Tail Lake. In other areas of Minnesota, I-LIDS have proven to be a cost effective tool to protect lakes. The system will help measure peak traffic periods, provide 24/7 monitoring, raise awareness of Auquatic Invasive Species and attempting to improve boater behavior. Suspected violators of AIS rules will be forwarded to county authorities or the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources for review and could be issued a warning or citation. Those who are caught on camera thoroughly cleaning off their boats may become candidates for rewards and incentives, such as gift certificates.

U-haul Car Trailer Reported At Perham Truck Center
 The Otter Tail County Sheriff's Office is reporting that a U-Haul Car Hauling 4 Wheel Trailer was reported missing by the Perham Truck Center on Ft Thunder Rd outside of Perham. The trailer was last seen by staff on July 3rd. The Sheriff's Office is investigating.

West Fargo Woman Charged in Death of 4-day-old Son
FARGO, N.D. (AP) - A West Fargo woman has been charged with negligent homicide for last month's death of her 4-day-old son.
Court documents show that Reanne Pederson snorted hydrocodone before breastfeeding the baby. Pederson told police she fell asleep and likely suffocated the boy.
The boy died on June 14, a day after he was brought to a Fargo hospital.
Pederson is also charged with ingesting a controlled substance. Documents show that Pederson smoked methamphetamine a few days before the child was born.

Stuff the Bus Collections Started
The collection of school supplies for Stuff the Bus has started.  Items can be dropped off in Fergus Falls at Gate City Bank or YMCA; in Perham United Community bank, Bremer Bank, Shopko and Perham Health are drop off sites. Calvary Lutheran Church accepts school related items year round.
Items can also be dropped off at the Underwood and Battle Lake Schools. 
New York Mills and Pelican Rapids have collections starting in August.
Special events are planned August 5 in Fergus Falls at Triangle Park (North Union and Fir Ave intersection) and at Service Food in Perham.
The school items like pencil boxes, backpacks, notebooks are given to families in need to start the school. Last year over 750 were served county wide by the program. 

Sidewalls Punctured on Vehicles
A warning about vehicles parked in Fergus Falls. Police have taken at least four calls of tires that were punctured in the sidewalls. They think a small pocketknife or other small object was used. The vehicles were parked on Maybelle Avenue, Maple Avenue and Rosemary Avenue.  No connection between the owners or the location of the vehicles or the style of vehicle has been found and police do not have a suspect.
Police suggest that if you have a garage available you should put your vehicle in at night.  They will provide extra patrol in residential areas. As always, if you see something suspicious in your neighborhood, call in right away. 

Pork Chop Argument
Law enforcement was called to an apartment in Deer Creek because of a verbal argument.  It was just before midnight last (Wednesday) night. The officer wrote on the report that the couple were arguing over a pork chop for tomorrow’s lunch.  They agreed to go to bed and be quiet for the rest of the night. 

Robbery Attempt Uncovered as a False Police Report
Fergus Falls Police have come to the conclusion that a robbery attempt reported Sunday did not happen.
The 15 year old male reported that two men in an alley demanded his stuff and he told his mother one of them punched them.  He did have a facial injury and after questioning, he admitted that he made the story up to protect a friend that punched him.
Charges for making a false police report are being considered. 

Taylor Charged with Taking Computer Tablets from Pelican Rapids School
A Pelican Rapids man is charged with taking computer tablets from the Pelican Rapids School.
18-year-old Charles Edward Taylor is charged with felony burglary and felony theft.  According the criminal complaint, the iPad mini tablets went missing June 27th.  School staff and others reported seeing Taylor in the school that day “acting suspicious.” During an interview with law enforcement, Taylor allegedly admitted to officers that he took eight iPads worth $8050 from the school. 

Mikkelson Charged with Assaulting an Officer
A man is accused of assaulting an officer during an arrest.  Police were called to a disturbance at an apartment in Pelican Rapids last Monday.  They found 45-year-old Trevor Charles Mikkelson yelling and swearing outside as well as using racial slurs. Officers tried to talk to Mikkelson and determined that he needed to go to detox.  As they were trying to restrain him, he allegedly swung the apartment door hard and hit a deputy in the head.  He is charged with gross misdemeanor assault of a peace officer, disorderly conduct and obstructing the legal process. 

Walking tour of downtown Perham July 31
Join the Otter Tail County Historical Society and the History and Cultural Association of East Otter Tail County for a tour of downtown Perham on Thursday, July 31, at 6:00 p.m. The tour begins at NP Park. The tour goes beyond architectural details to reveal stories about people and events that make up Perham’s history.  Cost for the tour is $6. Refreshments will be served after the tour at the History Museum of East Otter Tail County, 230 1st Avenue North in Perham.