March 14, 2018 Community news from the prairie to the lakes  
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  Residents complain about corn chaff

Pairing two schools in sports is not always an easy thing to do. There are a lot of logistical things to take into consideration, as well as the Elbow Lake residents, Luanne and Roger Rollie, attended last Monday’s Elbow Lake City Council meeting to express concern about the high level of corn particulate, sometimes called bee’s wings or corn chaff, coming from the Elbow Lake Co-op Grain elevator. The Rollies live three blocks north of the elevator, but say the orange chaff is very troubling. Luanne said they cannot take walks in the evenings, or sit outside in the summer because the chaff gets on them, and they breathe it in.

She said she called the elevator manager who said the chaff is only a problem when they are loading rail cars and the wind is from the south.

But, Rollie said, on the first day of March, she saw, and photographed, chaff billowing from the elevator, and the wind was not from the south.

Rollie said she has written to the Minnesota Pollution Control Board about her concerns that this chaff might be a health issue for both adults and especially children. She said she had not received an answer yet.

“We have dealt with this for 15 years now,” she said, adding that the chaff literally drifts in places, it is so thick.

Rollie added that the city should have concerns as well. She said this organic material is getting in the storm sewer, and makes the town look awful to visitors.

“The city web page talks about this being a welcoming community but I know if I was coming to Elbow Lake for the first time, I would not be impressed.”

Councilperson Tom Grout told Rollie that himself and councilperson Jay McNamar recently drove around town assessing the situation and agreed the chaff problem was “horrendous.”

“Health is a worry,” added McNamar, “And what this does to property values.”

Councilperson Roger Toso added that he had heard of cars in which the radiators became plugged from the chaff and overheated.

“This is the number one complaint I hear since I have been on the council,” Toso said.

Mayor Deb Hengel suggested inviting Elbow Lake Co-op Grain Manager Al Mashek to a work session meeting of the council to see if anything could be done, or at least get the ball rolling in that direction.

It was the consensus of the council that this would be a good first step in resolving the problem.

Committee Reports
Joe LaRue, Elbow Lake Municipal Airport Manager reported that there was a break-in last week, that resulted in some major vandalism and theft of tools.

“There was a lot of damage to city property and our property (LaRue owns Prairie Air), computers trashed, etc.”

LaRue said the property was under video surveillance and Grant County Sheriff’s Office is reviewing lots of video evidence that shows the suspects clearly. He said the suspects were at the property for a couple of hours and also went into hangars where private planes are stored, and did damage. He said because some of the damage was on federal property the FBI is also involved.

McNamar said the city is still looking for up to 50 households, customers of the city’s solid waste program, to take part in a pilot program for recycling food waste and other organic waste. They will be given green bags to store the waste in, and these bags can be placed in the garbage containers that are picked up and dumped once a week. There is no cost to be in this program. Households have until April 1, 2018 to sign up.

Tom Grout gave an update on the EDA’s Government Service building planned for downtown Elbow Lake. He said the last round of bids came in lower than expected and work on the building will get started as soon as possible this spring.

Mayor Deb Hengel provided a drawing of the proposed 2019 main street improvement project, for information purposes only. She said there will be some pavers, but different than the ones currently in place, and some ground level planters for flowers.

Hengel added that in her monthly meeting with the Grant County Sheriff, she heard only two citations were issued during snow removal times. They also talked about unsightly premises around town and the need for security cameras in and around the Community Building.

Hengel said the city needs to figure out how to handle animal calls because the Sheriff’s Department will not transport animals to the Humane Society Shelter. She said new three year contracts with the Sheriff’s Department are being worked on with no changes in the current 24 hours-per-week of services, anticipated.

Tipsinah Mounds Campground manager Miah Ulrich reported that the construction projects around the campground are getting done, and there are two seasonal camping spots open at this time.

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March 13, 2018