Herald Journal - Enterprise Dispatch - Delano Herald Journal
Lester Prairie City Council discusses snow removal and public safety concerns
Jan. 18, 2010

By Ivan Raconteur
Staff Writer

LESTER PRAIRIE, MN – Snow, including snow on streets, sidewalks, and near streets, was among the topics discussed during Tuesday’s Lester Prairie City Council Meeting.

The council discussed complaints about snow being piled up and causing vision obstructions at some intersections.

The council reminds property owners not to pile snow on the portion of their property adjacent to street corners.

This is a public nuisance and a safety concern for emergency personnel, vehicle drivers, and anyone using the public streets.

The city’s municipal code states, among other factors, that anyone who “interferes with, obstructs, or renders dangerous for passage any public highway or right-of-way,” is guilty of maintaining a public nuisance, which is a misdemeanor.

In other snow-related business, the council directed the public works department to add the new Safe Routes to School trail and the sidewalk at the new Central Park to the list of areas for snow removal.

Council Member Ron Foust requested that the public works department remove snow piles at 16 intersections where the snow is causing a vision obstruction.

He also requested that the public works department use more salt and sand at intersections, which he said pose a safety concern due to icy conditions.

New holiday decorations approved

The council approved the purchase of 13 new 36-inch snowflake decorations to be mounted on light poles on Juniper Street. The cost of the decorations, which will be purchased as overstock from Northern Lights Display in Eden Prairie, will be $2,880.

The purchase was approved on a 4-1 vote, with council members Art Mallak, Larry Hoof, Bob Messer, and Foust in favor, and Mayor Andy Heimerl opposed.

Fire department annual report

Fire Chief Jim Hoof provided a summary of the department’s activities in 2009.

The department responded to 109 calls, including 62 within city limits, 27 in Bergen Township, and 20 in Winsted Township.

The calls included nine fires – four structure fires, a brush fire, a steam boiler rupture, an outside storage area fire, a grain dryer fire, and a chimney fire.

There were 76 emergency medical service calls.

Four calls were for accidents with injuries, and four were accidents without injuries.

Five calls involved hazardous materials, including two natural gas leaks, two anhydrous ammonia leaks, and one report of gas smell.

The remainder of the calls included one police assist, one severe weather call, and nine false alarms.

Hoof said the department received a $650 grant from the Department of Natural Resources. The city will be required to pay a 50/50 match, and the money will be used to replace old nozzles, as well as for two backpack units for fighting grass fires and one torch.

Hoof said he is not planning to replace any equipment at this time, and the department will continue to use a 1981 truck as long as possible.

The department currently has 29 people on its roster, and Hoof said that number will be maintained for now.

Hoof acknowledged Peter Madsen of Madsen Electric in Lester Prairie, who donated the labor for wiring and installation of a light to illuminate the flag at the fire hall.

The council approved the following officers for 2010: Jim Hoof, chief; Fred Pawelk, assistant chief; Dave Horsman, assistant chief; Andy Heimerl, captain; Matt Tonn, captain; Maurice Tonn, secretary; and Don Hoof, treasurer.

The council also approved relief association officers, including: Josh Foust, president; Wade Schultz, vice president; Justin Thompson, secretary; Matt Tonn, treasurer; Steve Klobe, trustee; and Dave Dressler, trustee.

Nuisance advertising papers discussed

The council discussed the Gold Miner shopper, published by the Waconia Patriot, that is delivered to homes in the city.

Foust said that the person who delivers these papers has been seen driving down the wrong side of the road while delivering.

It was noted that the driver has been ticketed for this in the past.

Heimerl said these papers do not make it to the homes, and many end up blowing around, and some have ended up in his snow blower.

He said he will contact the company and request that it use drop-off points, rather than home delivery, in the city.

Odds and ends

In other business, the council:

• heard from Police Chief Bob Carlson that both of the city’s remaining liquor establishments, the Dodge House and One Eyed Willy’s, passed compliance checks in December.

• heard from City Clerk Marilyn Pawelk that the city received a $7,058 dividend from the League of Minnesota Cities Insurance Trust.

• heard from Pawelk that State Representative Ron Shimanski will conduct a meeting at Lester Prairie City Hall Monday, Jan. 25 at 5 p.m. to listen to residents’ concerns prior to the start of the new legislative session.

• heard from City Engineer Jake Saulsbury that the McLeod County Highway Department will conduct a workshop this winter to discuss possible turnback of county roads to the City of Lester Prairie. Saulsbury said it was unlikely that anything will be done in 2010 regarding this matter.

• authorized Saulsbury to prepare plans and specifications for installing the casing for a new water main under McLeod County Road 23 while the road is rebuilt by the county. Doing the work while the road is under construction will save the city money.

• approved a two-year contract renewal with MNSPECT for building inspection services.

• approved a $35,269 quote from Schauer & Sons Construction to re-shingle seven city buildings due to hail damage from a storm in 2008.

• approved spending up to $2,500 to upgrade support posts at the picnic structure at the city park.

• approved a proposal for a fall street dance organized by the Dodge House and One Eyed Willy’s to take place Saturday, Sept. 11.

• approved a quote from Hardlines Asphalt to purchase 6,300 pounds of road sealant at a total price of $6,993.


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