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Cheaper, cleaner power options
Federal regulators were right to insist that Otter Tail Power deal with its Big Stone coal plant pollution.

Unfortunately, state regulators at the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission got their part wrong. The PUC voted to allow Otter Tail to invest nearly half a billion dollars of its customers’ money in Big Stone, rather than phasing it out and replacing the power with natural gas and renewable energy, a cheaper and cleaner alternative.

These investments in a plant nearly 40 years old commit Otter Tail Power to 40 more years of a coal-rich diet. Moreover, Otter Tail’s customers are on the hook for the company’s failure to diversify.

To protect public health and respond to the public desire for cleaner generation, Otter Tail Power needs to make big changes to its energy mix. It currently gets more than 85 percent of its electricity from coal, an increasingly risky proposition.

Now is the time for Otter Tail to rebalance its mix of energy resources, especially as oil prices are forecast to significantly rise in the coming years.

In the wake of its questionable decision on Big Stone, the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission will soon order Otter Tail Power to look at replacing the power generated at its Hoot Lake Coal Plant with lower cost alternatives.

The PUC order will require Otter Tail to study the cost of retiring, versus upgrading, the plant. Otter Tail prefers to burn more coal, spending milions of its customers’ dollars to rehab Hoot Lake, a plant even older than Big Stone.

Later this year, when the study is completed, the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission will have a fresh opportunity to make the right decision.

To protect public health and customer and investor pocketbooks, the PUC must order Otter Tail Power to replace Hoot Lake with a better, cleaner and cheaper alternative.

—Duane Ninneman

Too many fatal crashes in county
It has been a deadly few months in Chippewa County with three fatal crashes. The Southwest Safe Communities Coalition would like to remind drivers of a few basic safety precautions they can take.  

1) Always buckle up even when driving short distances on well known roads. 2) When driving on rural roads obey stop signs as well as other traffic signs. They are there to protect you! 3) Always look for oncoming traffic and slow down at intersections when meeting another vehicle.  4) Be aware and alert at all times.  Drive defensively. 5) Don’t get distracted with other thoughts.  Monitor your surroundings and drive accordingly. 6) Alcohol and driving do not mix, if you drink do not drive.

No one leaves home for the day with the thought that they may never return home. Take a few simple steps to increase your chances of making it home to your family tonight!

The Fatal Review Committee would like to extend their sympathy to those families who lost a loved one on our roadways and hope these efforts prevent future traffic fatalities from occurring.

Southwest Central Safe Communities Coalition:

Wendy Augeson, Chippewa County Montevideo Hospital and Deputy County Coroner

Doug Doty and Mitchell Stueck, Montevideo Fire Department

Sheriff Stacy Tufto, Stephanie Weick, Brian Hanson, Chippewa County Sheriff’s Department

Gwen Kleven Olson, Milan EMS

Kenneth Koenen, Chippewa County Commissioner

Erik Shelstad MD, Chippewa County Coroner

Scott McConkey, Office of Traffic Safety

Amelia Churchill and Dean Herzberg, Minnesota State Patrol

Nick Gunderson, Montevideo Police Department

Steve Kubista, Chippewa County Highway Engineer

Kristin Boike PHN, Countryside Public Health

—Kristin Boike

Thank you, Montevideo
I would like to thank you all for the support and concern regarding the loss of our daughter Vinessa V. Lozano.

Although her life was very short, it is clear that she had a profound impact on our community. Words cannot express how proud we are of her achievements nor can they properly relay our loss.

We find it very difficult to search for words to say thank you to all of her friends and co-workers, members of our township and everyone involved in finding peace and justice in these awful times. Let us just say, the people of Montevideo put the “home”?in “hometown” with all the love and kindness they have shown us in our time of need.

We will love and miss our little girl always and forever.

—Dalton and Robin Savoy and family