November 20, 2014

Greenwood Township goes to Duluth for attorney services


The long-standing relationship between Greenwood Township and the Trenti Law Firm of Virginia ended at the regular board meeting last Thursday that started at 6:30 p.m. The board moved to hire Attorney Tim Strom of the Hanft Fride firm in Duluth. The committee had interviewed three attorneys, including one from the Twin Cities, before moving to have Strom as their attorney. The Twin Cities firm noted that they would have four hours of driving time, both ways, at around $175 an hour.
The board approved the finance report that showed the township had $656,689.23 in checking, $250,515.57 in long-term investments, and $308,797.02 in savings for a total of $1,216,001.82. For October, the township had receipts of $35,987.95 for a total of receipts year-to-date of $465,240.54. Claims totaling $44,741.84 were approved.
John Klaers was present to discuss the upcoming Comprehensive Plan for the township. The last Comprehensive Plan was done in 1983. Klaers was the only one who answered a request for a proposal on this plan. There were 21 residents in attendance and they had a lot of questions about the Comprehensive Plan. There was concern over the cost of the plan, which the resident said was $12,000. He was told that the township only had to pay half as they had an IRRRB grant for $6,000, which they accepted after the discussion on the Comprehensive Plan. Klaers was questioned as to his experience with plans where there were lakes and he told of several plans around water that he has done. He said he would start working on the plan in November and December and have a survey ready to send out to all township residents, both year-around and part-time. A committee of residents will have to be formed, so if anyone is interested they should contact the township. The Comprehensive Plan could take up to 8-10 months to be completed. Julia Maki, the planning director, will be working with Klaers.
Fire Department Chief Dave Fazio reported they had training meetings, 12 EMS calls, two training EMS calls, a brush fire, four false alarms, and they pulled the last fire boat out of the lake.
An audience member asked if fire fighters had been terminated. Kirsten Reichel, the vice chair, who was chairing this meeting, said they had eliminated some positions. She was asked if there was a policy on terminations and she didn't know if there was one.
Another question came up on the $50,000 to $60,000 worth of new hose that had been purchased and whether it had been installed yet. Fazio said it hadn't, but would be. Training was their priority now.
Supervisor Rick Worringer brought up the subject of taped meetings. Reichel said they should wait until the new attorney was on board. She noted that they would notify Strom, but he has to accept it.
There were discussions over driveway entrances before the meeting adjourned around 7:30 p.m.

Cook's Country Christmas is Dec. 5

Cook's Country Christmas on Friday, Dec. 5, will include several events this year. The Cook Farmers' Market will be set up in Cook City Hall from 4 to 7 p.m. with several vendors.
The Lights of Love tree-lighting ceremony will take place at 5:30 p.m. at the gazebo in the park, followed by caroling. Virgie Hegg Hospice Partners sponsors this event and will provide cookies and apple cider in the Cook Public Library after the caroling. A Memorial Tree will be on display in the Library for the month of December.
At 5:45 p.m., Santa will arrive at the Comet Theater and be ready to visit with children. Mrs. Claus and helpers will distribute treat bags. At 6:30, a free movie, "Rudolph and the Island of Misfit Toys," will be shown.
There will be a late, regular price showing of "Mockingjay" at the Comet Theater after the children's event.
This evening is supported by area volunteers, insurance covered by The Cook Chamber, and financial resources provided by local businesses and organizations. Come out and enjoy the fun.

Orr Council discusses sale of old school to non-profit


Orr's Nov. 10 City Council meeting was led by councilor Bruce Black in Mayor Joel Astleford's absence.
The probationary period for liquor store manager Charles Nieman ends Nov. 18. In anticipation of that, and satisfaction with his performance, approval was granted for full-time status.
Liquor licenses for Oveson's Pelican Lake Resort and Inn, and the Orr American Legion were approved.
Accepted was the grant from the Department of Natural Resources for Voyageur Trail Society to maintain snowmobile trails for the 2014-15 season. The grant comes with a supplemental amount to raise the total to $124,194.
Medica, with approval from the State, has offered three options to be added to the January renewals. The council approved Option 2, "Medica Choice Passport," which includes the Mayo Health System and chiropractic care from a national network.
The League of Minnesota Cities' worker's compensation plan has some change options, also. These are based on levels of deductible amounts. As the numbers for premium amounts per deductible level were not available at this Nov. 10 meeting, but due by Dec. 1, approval was granted for Astleford and Black to review all the information when available and choose the best choice for the City.
Most of the evening's discussion centered on a purchase agreement from the non-profit group Orr Recreation and Resource Center Inc. to purchase the old Orr High School property for $15,000. This would be payable within a year with no interest accrued. The group has liability insurance, will cover all debts after the first year, and will maintain the yards, allowing for use of the youth (T-ball) fields. Mayor Astleford and councilor Black will represent the City in purchase agreement details. Of concern is the immediate need to seal up the basement with heaters installed to protect pipes and drains, as well as adding anti-freeze to the building's 34 toilets. Board member Wendy Purdy shared that five gallons had already been donated. Within 24 hours, two cases were donated to meet the need.
Contingent upon meters and charges applied to the company, approval was granted for the request from Zielie's Tree Service to work with Lake Country Power to install an extension wire and enough outlets to accommodate a dozen trucks. This would be off the light pole between the old school's parking lot and the ball field, and run from Nov. 10 until Christmas.
Election results verified by the Canvassing Board on Nov. 7 were as follows: Mayor: Joel R. Astleford - 96 votes, write-in Dale Long - 1 vote; Council members: Bruce Black - 84 votes, Tom Kennebeck - 80 votes, write-in Cathy Chavers - 2 votes, write-in Jim Gray - 1 vote.
The Ambulance Department received approval for application for grant monies from the W.C. Heiam Foundation toward purchase of a 2015 Skyler power-load system. This is a request for $2,000 to go along with the $2,000 grant from Lake Country Power. This is the first time the Orr Ambulance has applied to the Heiam Foundation. In the department report, Donna Hoffer shared there were 11 calls in October, and training has been received on Ebola.
Chet Nieman reported that inventory at the liquor store is finished. A salesman will be there the week of Nov. 17 to offer a new inventory maintenance system. Sales are up 12 percent from last year. Security codes have been changed. Advertising costs are up and need budgetary adjustments, as well as "Small Tools and Equipment" due to purchase of a new credit card machine.
Volunteers at the library requested permission to host a book sale during the winter celebration (first Saturday in December) to raise funds. Approval was given.
The last item of business was from Administrator Louise Redmond. There is a lease agreement with Century Link and old City Hall. But as there are not enough area participants to make high-speed connections financially profitable, no action has been taken by Century Link. Other companies contacted have echoed the same concerns. The only company that offered a workable option was Paul Bunyan. A company representative will be at the December council meeting. What may be needed on Orr's part is a petition for service from residents, along with support from St. Louis County, which has a strong interest in this being activated.



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