January 10, 2017 Community news from the prairie to the lakes  
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  Sik to retire as Elbow Lake Police Chief

Luverne Sik presented a letter of resignation to the Elbow Lake City Council last Tuesday, after 22 years as the Police Chief for the city. Sik, saying it was a hard letter to write, said he plans to retire following his resignation which would be effective on April 1, 2017.

Sik also suggested the council replace him with Elbow Lake police officer Andy Rude, then fill Rude’s position with a new police officer. Sik said after talking with police chiefs in Morris and Alexandria, he found that filling the Chief position would be much harder than filling the police officer position. He also said he had talked to new Grant County Sheriff Troy Langlie about Elbow Lake contracting with the Sheriff’s Office for police services, like Barrett, Hoffman, and Herman currently do.

“He indicated that is something the Sheriff’s Office would not do at this point,” said Sik, who added that Langlie said the city of Elbow Lake handled just as many calls as the entire Sheriff’s Office did.

“It really would be best to appoint Rude Police Chief and hire two additional officers, because of the work load,” Sik said, adding that when he started in Elbow Lake there were two full time officers, and four part-time.

“But it is impossible to hire part-time nowadays because the pay is so low.”

Councilperson Chris Mitchell suggested the council accept Sik’s letter of resignation and that the council hold a special meeting to discuss their police department needs before making any further decisions.

The council then passed a motion to accept Sik’s letter of resignation, thanking him for his service.

The Elbow Lake City Council, last Tuesday, passed two resolutions needed to get upcoming utility and street improvement projects on the Minnesota Public Facilities Authority funding list. This is the first step, of many needed, before any of these projects would be undertaken by the city.

City Engineer Bob Schlieman of Apex Engineering Group presented studies of the project, which are in two parts. Part one would be utility and street improvements of Division Street West (County Highway #1) and portions of Third Avenue Southwest. The project would include replacing existing sanitary sewer, water main piping, storm sewers, sidewalks and curb, and resurfacing. Schlieman explained that this portion of the city’s infrastructure is the last remaining portion to be replaced in the 20 year infrastructure replacement project.

Part two would be utility and street improvements for small portions of city streets that were not included in the main projects. They include: Central Avenue adjacent to Flekkefjord Lake from 1st Ave. NW to a point 530 feet southeast; Second Ave. SE, from 1st Street SE to 2nd Street SE; Second Street SE from 2nd Ave. SE to 3rd Ave. SE; Fourth Ave. SE from 2nd St. SE to a point of the intersection of Highway #59 to Highway #54; Seventh Ave. SE from 5th St. SE to 6th St. SE; and, Tenth Ave. SE beneath Highway #79.

The resolutions Schlieman asked the council to pass will allow him to prepare plans and a report on the improvements so if grant funding becomes available, the city will be in a position to apply for it. Grant County will also pay for a portion of the above ground improvements on its Highway #1, and assessments of affected property owners would pay for a portion as well.

Other business
Elbow Lake Fire Department Chief Nathan Porter reported the department had four medical calls in December and were denied a $10,000 grant for a gear washer.

“There was only so much money available,” he explained.

Thorson Memorial Library Director Gail Hedstrom reported that the library checked out 44,606 items in 2016, but these numbers are skewed because many patrons checked out dozens of items in order to get inventory down when they moved for the remodeling project. She said they are currently getting around 1,000 requests to order items from patrons per month.

“There is some new programming coming in 2017 as well as some old favorites,” she concluded.

Councilperson Roger Toso, who is on the Utility Commission, said the city distributed over 500 LED light bulbs in the recent promotion and the city is ordering some more of them.

City Superintendent Greg Jacobson reported that the city ice rink has been busy. He explained that during the holidays, the weather was too warm for good ice making and rains ruined the surface.

The council approved appointments for the year 2017 as presented by Mayor Deb Hengel, the 2017 rates and fees schedule, and the 2017 budget for Tipsinah Mounds Campground.

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January 10, 2017