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Zebra mussels confirmed in Big Cormorant Lake in Becker County

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources has confirmed zebra mussels in Big Cormorant Lake in northwestern Minnesota’s Becker County.
A three-day search by DNR staff and the Becker County Soil and Water Conservation District found three live zebra mussels in different areas of Big Cormorant Lake. The zebra mussels were adults about three-quarters of an inch in size.
"Although low in numbers, zebra mussels are present and distributed around Big Cormorant Lake, not localized in one area," said Mark Ranweiler, DNR assistant invasive species specialist. "Because zebra mussel discoveries were made in various locations in the lake, treatment does not appear to be an option."

The search was conducted following an initial report July 15 from a property owner who saw suspected zebra mussels. DNR aquatic invasive species (AIS) staff searched the area and found the shells of about 60 dead zebra mussels on a pontoon lift.
DNR staff, the property owner and the lake service provider determined the lift was taken out of Crystal Lake in Otter Tail County last fall and had been out of the water for at least eight months before being placed in Big Cormorant Lake.
While the source of the introduction of zebra mussels cannot be confirmed, it is obvious that the lift was not the source. The presence of dead zebra mussels on the pontoon lift is still an important reminder to lakeshore property owners. Anyone who purchases water-related equipment must carefully inspect the equipment for all aquatic invasive species before putting it in any body of water.

For more information on AIS prevention and how to report a suspected infestation, visit www.dnr.state.mn.us/invasives/aquatic.

Pelican Lake ‘dock war’ appears resolved

Pelican Lake ‘dock war’ appears resolved, following intervention by Otter Tail deputies

The Pelican Lake neighborhood dock dispute may be on the path to resolution.
That was the word from the Otter Tail County Sheriff’s Department July 20.  
Neighbors in the Summer Haven Road area, on the southwest shore of Pelican Lake, were visited by an Otter Tail County deputy July 18, where a compromise appears to have been mediated, according to Lt. Barry Fitzgibbons.
Both DNR and Otter Tail lawmen had been on site over the past several weeks in an effort to mediate the “dueling dock” issue. Neighbor Kevin Biffert, who had extended a dock across the front of neighbor John Kvare’s dock, removed two sections over the weekend–evidently under the prospect of a “nusiance” infraction.
There is relatively little firm statute on the books in these situations, but the Otter Tail County Board is considering a dock and surface water-related ordinance that should help address the increasing number of dock, lift, boat and equipment conflicts that are surfacing in a county with more than 1,000 lakes in its boundaries.  read entire story. . . .

Love of 1,000 lakes doesn’t always translate into ‘love thy neighbor,

Love of Otter Tail’s 1,000 lakes doesn’t always translate into ‘love thy neighbor,’ as evidenced by dock dispute
that may change  water surface use ordinances

Two Pelican Lake home owners are engaging in a contest of “dueling docks.”
Sections have extended further into the lake, with a 45 degree angle section now cutting in front of the neighbor’s dock within a boat-shoe’s distance.
If the installations continued, there would be more obstacles  and fortifications on the southwest shore of Pelican than a Normandy beachhead at the D-Day invasion of World War II.
Neighbors John and Chuck Savre and Kevin Biffert are at odds over dock placements and the “imaginary” property line extending from the shore into the lake.
It would be easy to shrug, smile and chuckle at such a seemingly minor neighbor-to-neighbor spat. But there are several reports from around the state, some not entirely confirmed, of dock disputes evolving into violence–and even gun-wielding.
Like any neighborhood borderline dispute, there are two sides to the story. And, it is difficult to be judge and jury–especially when there isn’t much law on the books at the state or county level.
But that may change–soon.  read entire story. . . .

Like fences, dock laws may make better lake neighbors

Don’t let the call of the wild loon, echoing across the waters of some 1,000 lakes in Otter Tail County, deceive you into thinking you’re dwelling the edge of the wilderness.
With an estimated 300,000 people crowding around and in the waters on a July 4th weekend, the Otter Tail lake country has more in common with Minnetonka in the Twin Cities than the Boundary Waters of the great north.
Add another quarter-million or so people in the nearby Becker County lake country on a peak summer weekend–and you’ve created one of the largest “metropolitan” population centers in the state of Minnesota.
“We’re becoming more urban, whether we like it or not,” said Otter Tail County Commissioner Wayne Johnson. “With that, comes stresses...there are a lot of people in a small area, and it creates some social conflict.”
Dock placements, which have become neighborhood issues from Pelican Lake to Otter Tail Lake, are expected to become the focus of a new county-wide ordinance.  Public discussion and rough-draft language could begin by Labor Day, said Johnson.  read entire story. . . .

Proposed ordinance aims at formalizing dock, lift installation rules

Otter Tail County is looking east for a model from which to draft a county-wide dock ordinance.  On the table at this early stage is the Crow Wing County “Water Surface Use Ordinance.”  Crow Wing is home to some of the most developed and heavily-used lakes in the state, such as the Gull and Whitefish Chain–and another premiere lake with a familiar name: Pelican.
“This has been hovering around for a while,” said Otter Tail Commissioner Wayne Johnson, who represents the Pelican-Lizzie-Lida lake country on the board. “Ever since I got on the board there have been complaints.”
The problem, said Johnson, is that the county’s land and resources department has jurisdiction to the water’s edge. From the shore to the deep water–the state DNR takes over.  Unfortunately, neither government body has regulations on the books that adequately tackle neighbor-to-neighbor dock and lift placement conflicts.
Following is the text from the dock section of the broader water use ordinance in Crow Wing.  Commissioner Johnson said that Otter Tail is not likely to be as broad in scope as Crow Wing’s ordinance. “We’re not looking at anything quite as comprehensive as Crow Wing County,” said Johnson. But the discussion, which could gain momentum at the county level by August, may extend into topics like cluster septic systems, campground and resort uses, density and sanitization code revisions, noted Johnson.  read entire story. . . .

Nearly $2 million in upgrading aging school facilities eyed in Pelican

remodeling are on the do list for the Pelican Rapids school district.
Thanks to Minnesota state legislative action that will pump more revenue into schools for “deferred maintenance,” Pelican has begun compiling a list.
The legislature gave schools the go-ahead to levy for additional tax revenues, in part, to try to balance a disparity between metro-urban schools and outstate schools. Metro schools have been receiving substantially more for “brick and mortar” maintenance than rural schools, explained Pelican Superintendent Deb Wanek, at the July 16 school board meting.
Based on preliminary estimates, the school’s list would be about $2 million, which would be financed over 15 years.  For taxpayers, the impact would be about $8 per year for a home valued at $100,000.
“We have 20 year old roofs at the elementary school,” noted Wanek.  read entire story. . . .

Muskies Excoriated

From Pelican to Lizzie to Franklin and across the state; these big, bad predator fish are being bad-mouthed by lakeshore property owners

“Muskies Incorporated” is an organization that  has invested decades fostering and promoting the muskie as the great freshwater trophy fish.  But lakeshore property owners across the state are rebelling, with a “Muskies Excoriated” stance–denouncing the Department of Natural Resources  muskie-promoting ambitions.

Otter Tail lake group calls for curtailing DNR expansion of trophy fishing opportunities

The fish with the reputation of a “freshwater barracuda” is being reduced to the stature of a carp or eelpout.  
Muskies, the trophy fish related to Minnesota’s other big predator, the northern pike, are under assault–not from hefty treble hooks–but from lake associations that don’t want these big-appetite lunkers in “their” waters.
From Pelican Lake to a broader consortium of lake organizations of Otter Tail County to the state level–there is a call for moratoriums on further introduction of muskies.  read entire story. . . .



Sharon Kirkland - Jewelry
Debbie Bengston - Doll clothes, hand & dish towels, bibs, blankets, etc.
Bob Larson - Cedar Bench Sets, Bunk Beds
Brent Halverson - County Line Designs, LLC - Wood based décor
Bruce Martin - Oak name frames
John Hilden - Rhinestone Shirts
Mollie Deckman - Photos, cards, photo gifts
Karen Prischmann - Jewelry, Photos
Yova Yang - Handwork Sand Creatures
Vivian Radi - Magnetic Jewelry
Diane Ernst - Purses, Wallets
Cindy Stensgaard - Towels, bibs  read entire story. . . .

Patriotic Parade Goer

A patriotic youngster displayed the proper protocol as the United States flag passed by in the Pelican Fest parade July 11–showing respect for the red, white and blue with his hand over his heart.
Pelican Rapids was hopping over the Pelican Fest weekend, with activities throughout the days and into the night July 10-11.

More on Pelican Fest inside this week's issue
• Little Miss, Mister Pelican Rapids crowned
• 160 classic cars displayed at car show
• Jaycees Bean Bag tourney winners

• Full page of Pelican Fest photos, sponsored by Pelican-area advertisers, on page 14 of our print edition. Check out our Photo Gallery for more shots!

Zebra mussels confirmed in Clearwater Lake, Ruth Lake; Red River also added to infested waters list

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) will list three water bodies as infested with zebra mussels: Clearwater Lake in Wright and Stearns counties, Ruth Lake in Crow Wing County, and the Red River bordering northwest Minnesota. Zebra mussels likely found their way into these water bodies one of two ways, either overland or downstream spread.

Clearwater Lake and Ruth Lake were infested through overland spread, likely by people moving aquatic invasive species (AIS) attached to boats, docks and other equipment, or water not drained from watercraft. Overland spread is preventable if Minnesota’s AIS laws are followed.

Zebra mussels can also move to new waterways through downstream flow. The Red River infestation illustrates this type of AIS spread. In June, researchers in North Dakota found many larval zebra mussels, called veligers, at six sites on the Red River. On July 9, Fargo city staff found an adult zebra mussel attached to a water intake on the river.

The infestation of the Red River is not surprising because the Otter Tail River in Minnesota, which flows into the Red River, has been infested with zebra mussels since 2012. Zebra mussels likely colonized the Red River by floating downstream during their early life stage when they are small and are carried by currents before they attach to hard objects.
 read entire story. . . .

Pelican ‘Solar Gardens’ touted

Lake Region Electric at forefront of a different sort of community gardening

In urban areas, community gardening has been popular for many years. Folks who don’t have an appropriate yard or apartment dwellers can lease a spot in a larger garden to exercise their green thumb.  Pelican Rapids’ Lake Region Electric Cooperative has been at the forefront of a different sort of community gardening–solar gardens.  
Drive by on US Highway 59 just south of Pelican Rapids and you’ll see now two plots of high tech energy collection winking in the sun through the native prairie grasses.
Over 60 LREC members, state utility company representatives, municipal and state officials, manufacturers and other energy vendors attended a Community Solar Garden Tour and Workshop on Thursday, July 9 at the LREC facility.  Attendees learned about the benefits of solar energy and toured the now 2nd phase of solar development just outside the headquarters building.
“We have enjoyed the whole process of selling renewable energy and have interest from all over the state on what we are doing,” said VP of Energy Services at LREC, Dan Husted.  read entire story. . . .

New ‘Little Free  Library’ now in  Dunvilla-Lizzie  neighborhood

A “Little Free Library” is now stationed in the Dunvilla-Lake Lizzie area. A nationwide movement, a “Little Free Library” is a box where people can stop by at any time to pick up a book (or two) and bring back another book to share. There are several mini-libraries in the greater Pelican Rapids area, including at Maplewood State Park.
The Lake Lizzie area library is located on the property of The Barn at Dunvilla, and is open to all.  The box was donated by two sisters from Pelican Lake, one of whom had received the box as a birthday gift.  
The women stocked the box with books appropriate for all ages -- from Little Golden Books to the latest adult fiction works. They also stop by weekly to restock the supply.  read entire story. . . .

Combatting scams: Program at Mill Pond offers scam prevention advice

Scams, especially targeting the elderly, have been on the increase–and the timing couldn’t be better for an informational meeting on the subject.
Protecting yourself against scams will be the focus of a session July 23, presented by Pelican Rapids Police Chief Jeff Stadum, and hosted at Mill Pond View Apartments.
The program is at 2 p.m. at Mill Pond, and refreshments will be served.
A flurry of telephone scams were reported again in the Pelican Rapids area within the past two months.
The most recent scam involved telephone callers posing as agents of the Internal Revenue Service. The scammers threatened people that their house is going to be foreclosed upon if they don’t withdraw money from their bank and transmit the cash from the nearest Western Union location.  read entire story. . . .

Environmental protection costly to Otter Tail County consumers

Otter Tail Power reports $384 million cost to meet EPA standards

Installation of a new air-quality control system at Big Stone Plant in northeastern South Dakota results in a 2.5 percent rate increase for Otter Tail County residents who are customers of Fergus Falls-based Otter Tail Power Company.
The installation, costing $384 million, was in compliance with requirements by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and state regulatory agencies.
Otter Tail Power has 54 percent ownership in Big Stone Plant, a coal-fired generation station. The company owns 100 percent of coal-based Hoot Lake Plant near Fergus Falls.
OTP has 35 percent ownership of Coyote Station, another coal-fired unit located northwest of Bismarck, N.D.
The new air-quality control system at Big Stone Plant will result in a 90 percent decrease in sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxides and more than 80 percent decrease in mercury emissions.
A group called the Coalition for a Secure Energy Future says that prudent e  read entire story. . . .

Nine tornadoes spotted in Otter Tail County

The Sheriff’s Office, on Monday, July 13, reported that no fewer than nine tornadoes were spotted in areas of Otter Tail late Sunday afternoon and early Sunday evening, July 12.
One of the twisters was spotted clearly near Otter Tail Lake and seen by many summer residents and tourists.
Another twister was clearly seen in the Dalton area, southeast of Fergus Falls.
Many residents of the county experienced strong winds, hail and lots of rainfall. Fortunately, no injuries were reported.
Some areas of the county experienced power outages and fallen tree limbs.
Nearby Grant County (Elbow Lake area) and Wilkin County (Breckenridge) also experienced severe weather and sightings of tornadoes.  read entire story. . . .

Blue-green algae:  If in doubt, stay out

Temperatures are going up, and in Minnesota, many of us are cooling down at our favorite lakes. However, high temperatures combined with rainfall can create the conditions for harmful blue-green algae. This type of algae can harm pets, livestock, and even people.
In late June a child was hospitalized after being exposed to blue-green algae while swimming in Alexandria’s Lake Henry. Earlier in June, multiple dogs were sickened, and two dogs died from exposure to toxic blue-green algae in Red Rock Lake, located in Douglas County. While both of these instances occurred in the Alexandria area, blue-green algae blooms can impact lake waters throughout Minnesota.
The key to solving algae problems is to improve overall water quality by reducing how much phosphorus gets into lakes from urban and agricultural runoff and wastewater treatment systems.

What’s the risk?
The unpleasant odor and appearance of  read entire story. . . .

A parading plethora of presidential personas at Erhard July 4 procession

Erhard’s July 4th procession is well known as one of the biggest-small-town-parades in the region–but even the organizers of the parade for the past 40 years were amazed with the turnout of national digitaries.  
United States presidents–or presidential candidates–spanning two centuries were on hand for the Erhard 4th of July parade.
Can you pick the famous faces in this crowd?
This gang is the extended Jerry and Kim Pederson clan, Erhard area, and it was a hit with the immense crowd. Uncle Sam was portrayed by Blake Pederson. Behind the masks, family members Jason Burns, Erin Hintz, Ryan Hintz; and Marv, Ann, Kim, Abraham, Jody and Jerry Pederson.
See if you can spot Richard Nixon, Abe Lincoln, George Bush Sr., George Bush Jr., Barack Obama, George Washington, Sarah Palin, Hillary Clinton, and Ronald Reagan.



The summer-fall edition of the "Lakes and Lifestyles" magazine are at newsstands and counters. The Pelican Rapids Press specialty publication is a guide to living and playing in the greater Pelican area.

To view our online version of LAKES AND LIFESTYLES, use this link


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