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Many Otter Tail customers remain without power Tuesday morning

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news Bemidji, 56619
Bemidji Minnesota P.O. Box 455 56619

Between 3,100 and 3,200 customers of Otter Tail Power remain without electricity this morning after a storm packing winds in excess of 80 mph hit Bemidji and surrounding areas Monday night.

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Cris Kling, a spokeswoman for Otter Tail, said there are 40 power employees here working to restore power, a process slowed by the large number of trees down.

"The primary thing is trees on the lines," said Kling, adding the number of broken poles and transmission crossbars are few considering the storm.

She said the first priority for Otter Tail employees is restoring transmission lines, and then crews will focus on smaller distribution lines.

Many homes are without power after electricity meters were ripped from structures, and Kling said homeowners will need to call electricians to fix meters. She also warned people to stay away from downed lines.

The worst hit area was between the Nymore neighborhood in southeast Bemidji to the Lavinia neighborhood on the northeast side of Lake Bemidji, she said.

Crews were still working to gain access to Lavinia, where trees blocked the roads.

In addition, Kling said all of Cass Lake is without power and homeowners in the south Lake Irving neighborhood sustained heavy damage.

Otter Tail has numerous crews without equipment working, but Kling said there was no estimated time when power would be restored to affected customers.

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Bemidji Pioneer (218) 333-9819 customer support
Grand Forks Herald Editor Steve Wagner can be reached at 701.780.1104 and swagner@gfherald.com. He joined the Herald in April 2013, and previously worked as editor at the Bemidji (Minn.) Pioneer and in several newsroom roles -- including news director, investigative reporter and cops/court reporter - at The Forum of Fargo-Moorhead. His reporting experience includes extensive reporting related to Dru Sjodin's disappearance and the federal death penalty case for her murderer, Alfonso Rodriguez Jr., along with projects about immigration, the fatal 2002 train derailment in Minot, N.D., and the 20th anniversary of Gordon Kahl's massacre of U.S. marshals. Wagner also worked as a reporter at newspapers in the Twin Cities and Iowa. In his spare time, Wagner is an avid runner and occasionally writes about his experiences on his blog, Addicted to Running.
(701) 780-1104
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