March 15, 2018

Attorneys respond against hiring complaint filed against Greenwood Township

by Anthony Sikora

Attorneys representing Greenwood Township's errors and omissions insurance have responded to a Minnesota Department of Labor and Industry (MDL&I) inquest into the recent hiring of Mike Indihar as Assistant Fire Chief. Jeff Maus, the only other applicant for the Assistant Fire Chief position, filed a complaint with MDL&I following the Greenwood Township Board of Supervisors' action approving Indihar for the job on December 12. 
Maus' complaint alleges that the township did not follow its own hiring policy, and that it did not properly follow its own application process and that he was not interviewed for the position in "retaliation for his previously filed whistleblower complaint with Minnesota OSHA," according to the MDL&I query.
Margaret (Molly) R. Ryan, partner at Meagher & Geer, attorneys at law P.L.L.P, Minneapolis  has responded to that complaint and is recommending that the Department of Labor and Industry reject the complaint, according to a Greenwood Township official. Fire Department policy calls for the fire chief to appoint the department's slate of officers and the town board accepts, or rejects the fire chief's appointments. There is no explicit application process for fire department officers and the township rejects the idea that the appointment was retaliatory in any way.
The open position was posted internally by the fire department last autumn and Fire Chief Dave Fazio informed the Greenwood Board at its December meeting that his recommendation was to fill it by hiring Indihar. The fire department was supportive of this selection, and Indihar was a long-time veteran of the fire department, and one of its early founders, the Fire Chief told the board. Although he retired some six years ago before recently re-joining the department, Indihar has 27 years experience as a firefighter. Maus has served Greenwood Fire Department as an active member, Emergency Medical Responder, for 11 years. He served as a Captain in the department until that position was eliminated. 
At its December meeting the Town board rejected a motion by Chairman Dr. John Bassing to hire Maus and instead voted 4-1 to approve the Chief's recommendation of Indihar as the new Assistant Fire Chief. At that time township supervisors acknowledged that they were supportive of the Fire Chief's recommendation, there was no reason to not accept the appointment and that "Mike Indihar's 27 years of service speaks for itself."
The current retaliation complaint is Maus' second such complaint. In 2017 the Greenwood Town Board and the Minnesota Association of Townships Insurance Trust settled with Maus on a 2014 complaint alleging that his position as Captain, in the Greenwood Fire Department, was eliminated because he had made a Minnesota OSHA safety complaint. Others in the fire department reject Maus' retaliation claim, and one former firefighter recently wrote, in The News, that Maus could have solved any safety concerns through his tenure as Captain.
The township paid $12,000 and the insurance trust paid $4,000 towards the $18,000 settlement. The settlement was offered to conclude the issue and avoid further expensive litigation.
Jeff Maus declined The Tower News' offer to make comment on his complaint, however he is quoted in the Ely press as stating, "I am not suing the township. OSHA is investigating my claim of retaliation."

Health insurance counseling offered in March
Answers and education regarding health insurance for Medicare beneficiaries and pre-retirees will be provided by Senior LinkAge Line® through the Arrowhead Regional Development Commission's Area Agency on Aging on Wednesday, March 28, 9 a.m.- noon, at Carefree Assisted Living, 151 4th St. SE, Cook; and 1:30-3:30 p.m., at Carefree Assisted Living, 4576 Lake St., Orr; both are MinnesotaHelp Network™ sites. To schedule an appointment, call Senior LinkAge Line® at 1-800-333-2433.
Senior LinkAge Line® staff and/or volunteers will be available for assistance regarding benefits, appeals, forms, Medicare Savings Programs and the Prescription Drug Program applications, as well as long-term care options counseling. Assistance with searching for Medicare supplements or other insurance policies is also provided.
This program is a no-fee based service. However, donations are accepted and appreciated. Donations help fund the administration of this program provided by the Arrowhead Area Agency on Aging.

Forum on opioids set for March 19 at South Ridge School

The public is invited to a community forum to learn more about the opioid epidemic and its effect on the Northland. The forum is scheduled for Monday, March 19, 6 p.m., at South Ridge School, 8162 Swan Lake Road in Culver.
The evening will include tips on how to recognize possible opioid use, guidance on using Naloxone (Narcan) to save someone who is overdosing, and an opportunity to safely and anonymously turn in unused prescription medication. Various community experts from law enforcement, social services and treatment organizations will present information and be available to answer questions.
The event is free and open to the public. A free community dinner catered by B&B Market, and free childcare will be provided.
The forum is sponsored by ISD 2142 South Ridge Community Education.

Florida's Teacher of the Year Bluntly Writes WHY School Violence Is Out of Control

Kelly Guthrie Raley has been teaching for 20 years and currently educates kids at Eustis Middle School in Lake County, Fla. Just last month she was named the 2017-2018 Teacher of the Year. The day after the horrific shooting that took place at Marjorie Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., she posted a rant on Facebook that has since gone viral. In the post, she talked about parental responsibility, compassion, and respect and more than 823,000 people have "liked" the post and agreed with it, while more than 649,000 have shared it with others.
Here's what Mrs. Raley had to say.
Okay, I'll be the bad guy and say what no one else is brave enough to say, but wants to say. I'll take all the criticism and attacks from everyone because you know what? I'm a TEACHER. I live this life daily. And I wouldn't do anything else! But I also know daily I could end up in an active shooter situation.
Until we, as a country, are willing to get serious and talk about lack of discipline in the home, horrendous lack of parental support when the schools are trying to control horrible behavior at school (oh, no! Not MY KID. What did YOU do to cause my kid to react that way?), mental health issues, lack of available care for the mental health issues, lack of moral values, and yes, I'll say it - violent TV, Movies, Internet, and Cell phone video games that take away all sensitivity to ANY compassion for others' lives, as well as reality TV that makes it commonplace for people to constantly scream up in each other's faces and not value any other person but themselves, we will have a gun problem in school. Our kids don't understand the permanency of death anymore!!!
I grew up with guns. And so do a lot of families today just like yesteryear. Everyone knows that. But you know what? My parents NEVER supported any bad behavior from me. I was terrified of doing something bad at school, as I would have not had a life until I corrected the problem and straightened my ass out. My parents invaded my life. They knew where I was ALL the time. They made me have a curfew. They made me wake them up when I got home. They made me respect their rules. They had full control of their house, and at any time could and would go through every inch of my bedroom, backpack, pockets, anything!
Parents: it's time to STEP UP! Be the parent who actually gives a crap about their children! Be the annoying mom who pries and knows what your kid is doing. STOP being their friend. They have enough "friends" at school. Be their parent. Being the "cool mom" means not a damn thing when either your kid is dead or your kid kills other people because they were allowed to have their space and privacy in YOUR HOME. I'll say it again. My home was filled with guns growing up. For God's sake, my daddy was an 82nd Airborne Ranger who lost half his face serving our country. But you know what? I never dreamed of shooting anyone with his guns. I never dreamed of taking one! I was taught respect for human life, compassion, rules, common decency, and most of all, I was taught that until I moved out, my life and bedroom wasn't mine it was theirs. And they were going to know what was happening because they loved me and wanted the best for me.
There. Say that I'm a horrible person. I didn't bring up gun control, and I will refuse to debate it with anyone. This post wasn't about gun control. This was me, loving the crap out of people and wanting the best for them. This was about my school babies and knowing that God created each one for greatness, and just wanting them to reach their futures. It's about 20 years ago this year I started my teaching career. Violence was not this bad 20 years ago. Lack of compassion wasn't this bad 20 years ago. And God knows 20 years ago that I wasn't afraid daily to call a parent because I KNEW that 9 out of 10 would cuss me out, tell me to go to Hell, call the news on me, call the school board on me, or post all over Facebook about me because I called to let them know what their child chose to do at schoolbecause they are a NORMAL kid!!!!! Those 17 lives mattered. When are we and parents going to take our own responsibility seriously?
Until we do, plan on seeing future school shootings.


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