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Henning FD rings in history

A large bell that dates back to the earliest days of Henning has a new home, a mere feet from where it was once perched atop the former fire hall some 100 years ago. The bell, which was manufactured in the late 1800s, was recently taken out of storage and mounted on a large rock outside of the current fire hall. The bell helps to serve as a reminder as to how much the world has changed over the past century.
Long before phones and pagers alerted fire fighters of an impending emergency, the large bell that was mounted on top of the fire hall loudly rang when its local volunteer fire department was needed.
“It’s the 1900 version of the pager,” said Henning Fire Chief Mike Helle.
The bell was manufactured in 1886 and was placed on top of the city hall when it was constructed in the early 1900s.
Over time the bell, which was rung by firefighters at the fire hall, became obsolete when telephones became a more effective way of alerting firefighters. The telephone was replaced quite some time ago with pagers.
When the bell was taken down from its perch on the former city hall, which now houses the Henning Food Shelf, it was stored in the basement of the city shop. The bell remained there until a recent effort brought new life to the bell. The bell was sandblasted, painted, mounted on a large rock and placed outside of the door of the Henning Community Center and Fire Hall.
“We always thought that was a good history of the fire hall,” said Helle who mentioned that former fire chief Dick Brogard had wanted to place the large bell outside of the fire hall for a number of years.  read entire story. . . .

Body found in Hoot ‘N Holler parking lot

An unattended body was found overnight on September 16 in the access road just east of the Hoot ‘N Holler parking lot in Ottertail.
The body of Joseph Robert Brennan, age 67 of Ottertail, was discovered at 6 a.m. last Friday morning.
Otter Tail County Sheriff Lt. Keith Van Dyke said an autopsy determined that Brennan died of natural causes and ruled out foul play in his death.  read entire story. . . .

Delivering fresh meals every day in Henning

Each day Julie Johnson prepares and delivers meals throughout the Henning area. As part of the Henning Meals on Wheels program, Johnson brings a warm lunch to the doorstep of seniors and individuals in need.
Johnson said the meals “come hot and ready to eat” and include a similar menu to the senior menu that is served each day at the Kountry Korner Kafe. The meals include a meat, vegetable and milk. Individuals can order a meal each day or from time-to-time. During the winter, seniors who typically come to town to eat lunch can also have a meal delivered as opposed to braving the cold or snowy weather outside.
The Meals on Wheels program is available for people, regardless of income, provided they are at least 60 years of age or receive a waiver if they are disabled or home bound. Lunches in Henning are delivered seven days a week and cost just $4.20 apiece.
Currently just one person is part of the Meals on Wheels program in Henning, but Johnson said there were 14 people who were part of the program not-too-long ago.
Meals are delivered up to one mile out of the city limits in Henning and is available to residents of all income levels and background.
In order to be a part of the program, residents should contact the Kountry Korner Kafe each morning to order a meal. The meals are delivered beginning at 11 a.m.  read entire story. . . .

Bridge taken out in Deer Creek Township

Construction crews were busy last week preparing to take out a bridge at 530th Ave. in Deer Creek Township. The bridge has been closed for the better-part of a decade after an inspection found that it was unsafe for traffic. The State of Minnesota will be paying nearly all of the cost to remove the bridge which was located on a minimum maintenance road. At one time the cost to remove the bridge was estimated at $420,000.  read entire story. . . .

County Planning Commission to discuss casino adjoining land

The County Planning Commission, during its meeting starting at 6:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Sept. 21, will address the White Earth Nation’s application for a conditional use permit.
The application pertains to construction of a proposed parking lot on non-Native American land adjacent to tribal land where a new casino is proposed on the southwest side of Star Lake.
The meeting will take place at the County Government Services Center on West Fir Avenue in Fergus Falls, just west of the former Regional Treatment Center grounds on the northwest side of town.
Down the road, following the Sept. 21 meeting and after environmental review of adjacent land near the casino, the county planning commission will make a recommendation on the proposed development of the non-trust tribal land.
The planning commission’s recommendation, through the conditional use permit application from White Earth Nation, will be forwarded to the five-person Otter Tail County Board of Commissioners which will make a final decision.
On September 8 findings from an Environmental Assessment Worksheet (EAW) arrived at the County Land and Resource Office.
County commissioners, on Tuesday, Sept. 13, voted to contract with Fargo-based Houston Engineering for review of the EAW documents for the proposed casino complex development.  read entire story. . . .

County, Ottertail city support water park rebuild assistance

Thumper Pond, which announced earlier this year plans to rebuild the water park after a roof collapse in 2015, is seeking tax abatement as part of this effort.
Abatements may be either permanent forgiveness or temporary deferral of property taxes.
The city of Ottertail, where Thumper Pond is located, previously approved tax abatement.
County board members, at their Sept. 13 meeting, voiced support for tax abatement but decided to again discuss the issue at their September 20 meeting.
Proponents for Thumper Pond tax abatement expressed optimism that county board members would vote in favor of tax abatement.
Minnesota law authorizes political subdivisions such as communities and county government to grant property tax abatements for economic development.
“The water park at Thumper Pond in Ottertail is great for tourism and economic development,” said County Board member Doug Huebsch of Perham.
“The water park brings people to Otter Tail County, especially during the winter months,” said Huebsch. “That’s why I’m in favor of tax abatement for Thumper Pond in order to rebuild the water park.”
And while the town of Ottertail and most likely county government give support to tax abatement, Thumper Pond is not asking for tax abatement from area school districts.
The total amount of the taxes to be abated by the town of Ottertail for 10 years is estimated to be $106,500, with $60,500 of the existing portion of real estate taxes to be repaid over five years.
Otter Tail County, similar to the city of Ottetail, would allow tax abatement for Thumper Pond not to exceed 10 years.
The proposal to county board members called for an amount not to exceed $150,000 and abated in accordance with the County Tax Abatement Program.  read entire story. . . .