By Mark Mitten
DASSEL, MN Three people were sworn into office during the Dassel City Council meeting Tuesday. Council Member Ron Hungerford became the new mayor, while Justin Bemenderfer and Andrew Carlson became new council members.
Remembering Sharon Asplin
The City of Dassel recently lost one of its city council members, Sharon Asplin, who passed away Dec. 25.
“The city is accepting donations to plant trees in Sharon’s honor in the parks in the city,” Clerk-Treasurer Terri Boese noted. Donations can be sent to Dassel City Hall.
The council began the process to fill the vacancy by adopting a resolution to accept applications for a temporary member to fill the remaining portion of Asplin’s term.
“This is a tough resolution to pass,” Hungerford said.
It was decided that a notice would be placed in the Dassel Cokato Enterprise Dispatch to notify the public. Interviews will take place Wednesday, Feb. 15 at 6 p.m.
Sexual predator ordinance update
City attorney Kurt Greenley gave an update on the sexual predator ordinance. He acknowledged the city council for taking the steps to enact the local ordinance to protect the citizens of Dassel. He noted that the ordinance gave some stability to the community, since broader Minnesota legislation regarding dangerous predators had been entangled in the higher courts up until recently.
The Civil Commitment and Treatment Act, a Minnesota statute that addressed the most dangerous types of sexual predators, had been ruled unconstitutional in federal court, which left questions about what communities ought to do to address the subject.
“Two weeks ago, the A Circuit Court of Appeals, which is one shy of the US Supreme Court, reversed that and said the act was constitutional,” Greenley said. “The reason I mention this, is that it highlights the importance of what the city did last year which was to establish a local ordinance to deal with these issues.”
Fire department calls
Dassel Fire Chief Dale Grochow said the fire department had increased its membership to a total of 25. He went on to note that 2016 was a record year for total calls.
“It was a record year by quite a bit,” Grochow noted. “Our largest number of calls we’ve had previously was 250, and we ended up with 280. That is a significant increase for our volunteers.”
Already in 2017, the fire department has responded to 14 calls.
Grochow also mentioned that monetary donations are helpful for providing important equipment. He said donations can be mailed to the fire station, or dropped off.
Odds and ends
In other business, the council:
• will be advertising for an additional part-time museum worker.
• noted the 2017 open book board of appeals and equalization meeting will take place at the Meeker County Courthouse Friday, April 7 from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., for anyone with questions about the valuation of their property.
• heard Discover Dassel is planning a Rooster Ruckus event. Wooden rooster cut-outs, embellished by local artists, will be placed around town this summer and then auctioned off. The artists will receive 85 percent of the proceeds, and the remaining 15 percent will go to the Dassel History Center, Dassel Historical Society, and Discover Dassel.