By Ivan Raconteur
LESTER PRAIRIE, MN Even though the emerald ash borer has not yet reached Lester Prairie, the city has agreed to work with concerned residents to take steps to address the threat.
A tree survey was conducted in the city in 2015, and in February 2016, members of the Merry Prairie Garden Club presented information to the council and asked the city to adopt a plan to address the emerald ash borer threat.
This plan would involve treating larger/more valuable ash trees; removal of small/unhealthy ash trees; and replacement of removed trees with other types of trees to improve diversity.
Garden club members Jill Johnson and Kathy Nelson-Messer repeated their request to the council during Tuesday’s meeting.
They offered to partner with the city and other local organizations to help educate the public about emerald ash borer, and how its spread can be slowed or prevented.
The council agreed that the Lester Prairie Park Board will work with the garden club to develop a plan to combat emerald ash borer, and look for options to help pay for these operations.
Prairie restoration project approved
Mike Bjork, science teacher at Lester Prairie Schools, told the council Lester Prairie is one of 12 schools in southwest Minnesota that have been selected to participate in a pilot program through the Minnesota Zoo and the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR).
Bjork said only a tiny percentage of the native prairie remains. This, and other factors, have led to the decline of pollinators such as monarch butterflies.
The council agreed to let Bjork and his students use a portion of land in Sunrise Nature Park (east of McLeod County Road 9) for a prairie restoration project.
The city also agreed that city public works staff will help to burn off and till the 100-foot -by-100-foot parcel to make it ready for planting.
The plot will be replanted with native flowering grasses.
The council directed Police Chief Bob Carlson to research options for an updated ordinance related to door-to-door sales.
Council Member Ron Foust had expressed concern about people from out of town who have been going door-to-door selling things after dark.
Foust said some of the people who approached his residence have been persistent and continued to try to sell things after being told he was not interested.
Carlson said the city’s current ordinance was written in 1937. He said he brought a proposed revised ordinance to the council several years ago, but the council declined to act on it at that time.
Odds and ends
In other business, the council:
• approved hiring Litzau Excavating for snow removal again this year at an hourly rate for various types of equipment. Litzau’s was the only bid received.
• noted the next council meeting was moved from Tuesday, Nov. 8 to Tuesday, Nov. 15 due to the election.
• approved the roll of unpaid bills that will be assessed to property taxes.
• agreed to move forward with establishment of an economic development authority (EDA). If possible, the council will conduct a public hearing during its Nov. 15 meeting.