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Henning students create robot for competition

One day early in the school year, a group of Henning School students opened two bins containing robotics components.
Inside, they found wires, pipe, plywood, a control unit and motors.
Their challenge: Build a robot that could carry out six tasks, including crossing a bridge, removing obstacles, negotiating rough terrain and assembling a mock wind turbine.
The catch: The bins contained no instructions. No blueprint. No diagram in robot making.
“They tell you what the robot has to do but not how to build it,” said Jacob Pedersen, 14, a ninth-grader who the other students declared the brains behind the project. “You have to come up with the design yourself.”
And the students only had six weeks to figure it out.  read entire story. . . .

Ottertail looks at repairing sidewalks downtown

The City of Ottertail will pick up half the cost of redoing sidewalks along Main Street as part of a revitalization project in town.
At its October 16 meeting, the council unanimously agreed to change its policy of requiring businesses to pay the entire cost of new sidewalks. Officials said under the new policy, which was amended for this project, business owners would pay about $4,000 each instead of the estimated $8,000.  
The city would also pave the parking area and add stripes for more orderly parking. Even though Main Street is a state highway, the city will pay for the work itself without state money because that section of road is not scheduled for work by the state until 2028.
One affected property, the Ottertail Creamery, has already built some new sidewalks at its own expense. Council members said they would be willing to pay the entire cost of the remaining sidewalks next to the Creamery.
“It’s a fairness issue,” said councilman Michael Windey.
The council agreed to form a working group with planning committee members in order to move the project forward.  read entire story. . . .

New PMR takes over in Vining

Each morning, Sherry Wallenberg runs the Clitherall post office for four hours before she heads home to eat lunch and drives to the Vining post office, where she has replaced Phyllis Nyberg as postmaster relief.
Wallenberg, has only worked for the U.S. Postal Service for 13 months, but after Clitherall postmaster Viv Uhren passed away and Nyberg retired, she found herself handling both their jobs, albeit with shortened hours.
“I enjoy the work,” she said. “Getting to know people is nice. Making connections is nice.”
Wallenberg, whose maiden name was Sydow, graduated from Henning School in 1980. Her parents owned Sandy Point Resort on West Leaf Lake and Elaine’s Market, an Ottertail grocery store.
She lived in the Twin Cities for 30-plus years, working as a clerk for Anoka County for 14 of those years until the county’s budget cuts left her unemployed.
“I originally left the area for jobs, for better jobs,” she said. “A lot of us have left the area.”
When she was laid off, she and her husband decided to move back to Otter Tail County.  read entire story. . . .