By Jennifer Von Ohlen
COKATO, MN In kicking off the new year, Cokato Ambulance director Jim Erickson presented his annual report to the Cokato City Council Monday night.
The report stated the department had responded to 453 calls in 2017, a 24 percent increase from the 365 calls in 2016.
About 258 of the calls required transportation to a hospital, versus on-site care.
Within his report, Jim stated the department’s membership remains the same as last year, but that they hope to add another person or two (especially for day shifts) this year.
The current officers for Cokato Ambulance include:
• Director Jim Erickson,
• Assistant director Carl Harju,
• Secretary/treasurer Jannell Martinson, and
• Training officers David Nyquist and Jimmy Martinson.
Fire department 2017 report
The Cokato fire department had a slight drop in its call count in 2017, receiving 118 calls, compared to 121 the year before.
About five of the calls this year were for mutual aid in Dassel, Howard Lake, and Annandale. The Dassel Fire Department also provided aid to the Cokato Fire Department once in 2017.
“It’s a huge thing to be able to work with our neighboring towns to deal with the situation we’re facing that day,” Fire Chief Hutch Erickson stated.
He also noted the amount of work the firefighters are willing to put in, including the new recruits who (with training time) exceeded 200 hours of service last year.
“There’s a lot of people who are really willing to put in the work,” Hutch commented.
The department is currently considered full with 24 active members.
The 2018 fire department officers include:
• Fire chief Hutch Erickson,
• Assistant chief Jim Martinson Jr.,
• Captain James Babb,
• Secretary/treasurer Ben Aho;
• First lieutenant Ricky Larios,
• Second lieutenant Jarod Sebring, and
• Safety officer Jim Winkelman.
Cokato Museum 2017 report
The Cokato Museum experienced a significant growth in its attendance in 2017, with visitation totalling 4,564, compared to the 3,825 visitors who came the year prior.
During the year, the museum conducted two Escape Rooms, hosted five public programs, published four newsletters, housed displays, maintained its social media presence, and continued making upgrades and improvements to the permanent gallery area.
Another improvement is expected to take place within the coming months, as the museum recently received a grant to help improve its lighting.
Museum director Mike Worcester said this project has been two-and-a-half years in the making.
“When completed, we like to think it will make significant improvement to the look of the gallery, storage rooms, and research areas,” he said.
The project is hoped to be completed by the start of summer, when the museum’s attendance typically increases.
Odds and ends
In other news, the council:
• approved 2018 city council appointments;
• approved 2017 ambulance write-offs;
• approved pre-authorization of claim payments;
• accepted League of Minnesota Cities dividend for 2017 of $12,598;
• approved a lot split, rezoning request, and conditional use permit for property along Pleasant Ave NE and Omer Ave NE, Cokato;
• accepted a $2,500 donation to the ambulance station from Village Ranch;
• accepted a $550 donation to the fire department from Land O’ Lakes, Inc. (matching grant received from CentraSota in Cokato);
• accepted a grant for the Cokato Museum’s light fixture project;
• approved transfer of liquor license to new second owner of Iron Headz Bar & Grill;
• paid voucher #7 for fire and ambulance station;
• authorized fire and ambulance direct purchases; and
• paid voucher #3 for Trailstone Drive extension.