By Jennifer Kotila
HOWARD LAKE, MN Due to the concentration of emergency personnel in and around Howard Lake, Ridgeview Medical Center (RMC) and the city have teamed up to house a chase car in the fire barn.
Howard Lake City Council approved a letter of understanding with RMC for the chase vehicle at Tuesday’s meeting.
A RMC chase car is a marked emergency vehicle that has all the emergency supplies on board needed to provide advanced life support, but cannot transport patients.
Most ambulances in small communities are staffed by volunteer emergency medical technicians who can only administer basic life support.
A chase car is used by paramedics, who can provide advanced life support, to meet an ambulance enroute to the hospital, according to Darel Radde, director of ambulance services at RMC.
Having a chase car housed in Howard Lake will cut down the response time, sometimes by as much as 10 to 15 minutes, when it is needed in this area, Radde noted.
Housing the chase car in Howard Lake will also help the neighboring communities of Winsted and Lester Prairie, which are currently having difficulty fully staffing their basic life support ambulance services.
“Ridgeview is not providing service in the city, and are not leasing the space. Rather, it’s more of a working relationship where the fire department has access to the vehicle and Ridgeview can provide a higher level of service for the area,” City Administrator Nick Haggenmiller explained.
There are 13 people in and around Howard Lake who work as emergency personnel at RMC, although not all of them are Howard Lake firefighters.
“It’s really the relationship between Ridgeview and the fire department that has made this happen,” Haggenmiller said.
Only members of the Howard Lake Fire Department who are also employees of RMC are allowed to use the chase vehicle, and will be acting as employees of RMC while operating the vehicle, according to the letter of understanding.
Also, only calls within the RMC parameter will be answered using the chase vehicle, but may respond outside of the area when requested by a local ambulance provider.
Other items listed in the letter of understanding pertain to providing insurance for the building in which the vehicle is housed, parking, and access to the fire station and the vehicle for each of the parties.
New lights at Memorial Park ball field
The Memorial Park ball field will be bright and shining for the regional and state amateur baseball tournaments later this summer.
The council approved a quote of $5,600 from Musco Lighting of Oskaloosa, IA to replace all the lamps in two of the light towers in the park.
While there is not a formal agreement with the city and the Orphans in regards to maintenance of the ball park, the two organizations historically have a good working relationship, according to Haggenmiller.
The Orphans requested the city pay for the cost of replacing the lamps in the ball park, and the Orphans will reimburse the city 50 percent at the end of the season, to which the council agreed.
Liquor store back in the black for April
After several months of net losses, the liquor store is back in the black for April, reported manager Myra Laway.
Total sales for the month of April were $75,477, with disbursements of $70,600, for a net profit of $4,916.
The year-to-date totals show that Howard Lake may be on its way to having a “million dollar muni,” which is Laway’s goal; 2013 first-quarter sales totalled $277,575.
Odds and ends
In other business, the council:
• approved a variance to construct a deck within 20 feet of the rear lot line at 1199 Woodland Drive.
• approved financial support for a Minnesota Twins grant which requires matching funds to update Yager Field, for which the Howard Lake-Waverly-Winsted School District is applying.
The grant would be $10,000, and the district is willing to provide $3,000 for the project; Howard Lake Traveling Baseball is contributing $1,000.
The city was asked to provide $1,000, and the council approved the financial support contingent on the school district receiving the grant.
• approved a liquor license renewal for the Howard Lake American Legion.
• approved a temporary on-sale liquor license for the Howard Lake Lions for Good Neighbor Days.
• approved a letter of agreement with the city of Minneapolis for part-time Howard Lake police officer Sean McTaggert, who is employed full time with the Minneapolis Police Department.
The letter removes liability from the city of Minneapolis and places it on the city of Howard Lake only while McTaggert is on duty as a Howard Lake police officer.