Ambulance meeting proves successful as Lanesboro Council OKs applicants

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Lanesboro Ambulance Service director Deane Benson reported to the Lanesboro City Council, which met on Monday, Feb. 3, that a recent town meeting was successful.

In attendance at the council meeting were council members Mayor Jason Resseman, Tom Smith, Bridget Harvey and Chase Bakke, as well as city administrator/clerk Michele Peterson and city attorney Tom Manion.

Benson reported to the council about the Jan. 22 town meeting held to communicate the urgent need for additional emergency personnel. “More than 50 people attended that meeting. We came away with seven EMT applicants and a first responder applicant,” said Benson. “That was above and beyond my expectations.”

The following applicants were approved by the council: Elliot Riggott, Sheila Higbe, Jennifer Rogers, Dennis Voeltz, Jonathan Kettner, Leah Higbe and Andrea Miehlisch, and will soon be scheduled for trainings.

Tobacco sale changes

The recent change in legal age for tobacco sales — beginning this summer, it will be a violation of federal law to sell tobacco products to anyone under the age of 21 — is casting more attention on smoking activities by young people.

Brenda Pohlman, health educator for Fillmore Public Health, shared information and exhibits with the Lanesboro City Council. E-smoking and vaping are increasing in use locally, said Pohlman, with a resultant increase in lung injuries. The use of fruit-flavored products and vaping pens is also a growing concern. “We’re using an ‘educate and congratulate’ program for vendors,” Pohlman said.

She also pointed out that Lanesboro may have some “gaps” in its current tobacco policies (regulations for age-restrictions on tobacco-sellers, for example) that should be reviewed.  “It would be prudent for us to update our policy language,” said Mayor Resseman.

Truck concerns

Public Works Supervisor David Haugen reported to the council that the city’s dump truck is showing signs of rust and age. “We’ve had an easy winter so far,” said Haugen, “but the rust is causing problems like air leaks and electrical issues. This truck is 20 years old.”

The cost of a new truck would run close to $180,000. Other options include repair of the current truck and the use of smaller pickup trucks for plowing. Council member Harvey and Peterson will work with Haugen to present proposals at an upcoming council meeting.

Treatment plant concerns

Don Bell, a current member of Lanesboro’s Public Utilities Commission, read a statement expressing his opposition to the city’s now-approved plans for a new wastewater treatment facility. Citing issues like the flood plain location, the finances (“grossly overpriced”), and environmental concerns, Bell also expressed personal frustration with communications around the project and his continued role as a member of the commission.

“I would hope you would remain on the Commission,” said Councilor Harvey. “The fact that people don’t always agree on everything doesn’t mean we can’t work together.” Mayor Resseman expressed intent to communicate directly with Bell on this matter.

Land issues

Land issues came before the council as well, including a detachment request by Dale Egge (tabled until next month to allow for more research) and a cartway petition on land owned in the south portion of Lanesboro. The council agreed upon a $2,000 bonding agreement to start that petition.

Roadway verification issues, including one tabled from last month’s meeting, are calling for broader city discussion, said Mayor Resseman. “We recently identified 18 different entities that need attention; about 10 needing more urgent action,” he said. Research was assigned to Peterson, Manion, and City Engineer Brian Malm for follow-up.

A lot split request by Rick Lamon, already approved by the Planning and Zoning Commission, was unanimously approved by the council, as was a closure of Coffee Street on May 9 and Sept. 26 for Girls Day Out. Root River Unwined, a wine bar and restaurant that plans to open in the old Lanesboro Creamery building in mid-May, received approval for a liquor license.

Election prep

It’s election season and the council approved the following election judges who are eligible to serve at the presidential primary on March 3, the general primary on Aug. 11, and for the general election on Nov. 3: Harriet Lawston, Andrea Bjortomt, Michele Peterson, Darla Taylor, Shirley Mulder, Sandy Webb, Ron Flaa, Tom Smith, Phil Rogers, Kathy Rogers, Kay Wold, Jon Pieper and Denise Dahle.

The next meeting of the Lanesboro City Council will be on Monday, March 2, at 6 p.m.