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"After all these years, still doing a great job!!" -Ron Hermanson
Unity honored to host 600-student FBLA Conference
By Lynda Berg Olds
Ms. Jaclyn Ahlgren, adviser to Unity's Future Business Leaders of America, took the floor first at Unity's Board of Education meeting Tuesday night. She and Aalyiah Bowers tag-teamed their presentation, which discussed the upcoming FBLA Regional Leadership Conference (RLC). They provided updates and a timeline, noting it has been a really busy couple of months – and for Rebekah Robinson too.
On Dec. 13, they will be attending a RLC Planning Day in Portage and coming up Jan. 25 is the Regional Prejudging Day. That is followed up Jan. 31 by the RLC Prep Day.
Bowers is the Regional Vice President and she informed there are seven regions in Wisconsin, with a Vice President for each.
“Then there is a President and a Vice President overall and I am in charge of Region I, which goes from our school all the way up to Superior. With my position, we get to host the Regional Conference at our school, so there will be 600 kids coming to our school to compete. There will be about 50 or so events and we will need three judges for each, which will be from our community.”
Ahlgren noted the actual event, the RLC, will be Feb.1, but they are required to host the prejudging events.
“Then, on Feb. 5 and 6, we will report for Government Day down in Madison – and we will return all the stuff that we borrowed, which is a lot. Then on Feb. 8, Rebekah will attend the Middle School Level Regional competition in Cashton, as sort of a mentor – and hopefully March 29 and 31, we will have lots of Unity FBLA students compete at the State Competition in Madison. We are hoping...”
Hosting the RLC requires a lot and so far, Ahlgren said, they have 90 volunteers signed up for events.
“Which is awesome!” she said – and stated how grateful they are for that.
Craig Miles is going to be the first speaker at Opening Ceremonies and talk on behalf of the W.I.N.G.S. Foundation, about non-profits and how they work.
Also, a coup, is Executive President of Wells Fargo Laura Oversby has agreed to speak for the Closing Ceremonies, just before the students get their results.
During the Feb. 1 Regional Leadership Conference, when students are not competing, they will be attending various workshops. Bowers said all students must register for the conference by this Friday so then they will get a better idea of numbers and what the students will be competing in.
“We have the whole school reserved and we will be using almost every room,” she added.
School Board President Debbie Peterson asked if they had logistics already figured out – or if they were waiting to see how many are signed up first.
“No,” said Ahlgren. “We have every room spoken for pretty much at this point – and who will be in it. For confidentiality reasons we are not going to tell the judges or the advisers where they are going to be – as more than likely they will know some students as it is a small community.”
Bowers added that when volunteers contact her she plugs them in to a massive spread sheet.
“I will let them know what event and what room as we get closer.”
Ahlgren said they still need some volunteers for the prejudging day, as well as some non-judging volunteers.
Also on their wish list are balloons and flowers. A tremendous amount of work has already been put into this huge effort. They will be doing a pasta bar and also providing breakfast.
There are still a myriad of details – meeting with the judges and getting them their packets and stopwatches for timed events, along with maps. The student body will be encouraged to dress professionally.
“Our local business owners have been unbelievable with donations of time and cash and helping to find volunteers and wanting to support the program,” these poised young ladies enthused.
This is a big feather in Unity's cap, a chance to showcase what the school and community has to offer.
The board was mightily impressed.
December 12, 2019
First blast by new Lime Quarry crushers
By Lynda Berg Olds
The final item that came before the Polk County Board of Supervisors Tuesday night was “discussion and possible action regarding bids for crushing at the Polk County Lime Quarry. Polk County Public Works Director/Highway Commissioner Emil “Moe” Norby addressed the issue(s), updating the board, summarizing what he had already presented to the Environmental Services Committee and the General Government Committee.
First of all, in a handout he gave to the supervisors (and the press), he noted Polk County has owned and operated the lime quarry since the 1950’s. The original intent for owning the quarry was to support the farming industry with Ag Lime. He observed that over the years, several other lime products have been developed for various public and county uses.
Getting to the crux of the matter at hand, it is due to the increasing cost of producing the lime products, along with maintaining the aging equipment and buildings at the Polk County Lime Quarry, that the Polk County Board of Supervisors recently looked into four options for the future of the operation:
“One of the options was to sell the lime quarry, one was to lease it (for someone else to operate), one was to purchase new equipment to replace the (very) outdated equipment, and the last was to bid out the custom crushing to a contractor – which, after a thorough study – was the option the board chose.
The board passed a resolution to that effect and the county went out for bids, which were opened and reviewed Dec. 5.
Norby said Kraemer Company was the contractor to whom the custom crushing two-year contract was awarded.
“The Kramer Company had the low bid and to summarize, we went out for in the first year crushing 60,000 tons of Class 5 and 30,000 tons of Ag Lime – with the caveat that they have to have 15,000 tons on the ground by March 15 for Ag Lime season.
“The Class 5 bid price came in with blasting, drilling and stripping at $3.84 per ton and $10.79 per ton for Ag Lime (50-59). Off the 2018 audit, the cost for us to produce this product was $10.30 per ton for Class 5, so you can see the savings there, and $14.32 per ton of Ag Lime – so you can see the value of that with significant savings to the County.”
In the second year of the contract, Norby asked for 40,000 tons of Class 5 and 30,000 more tons of Ag Lime. He said there is only a 10 cent fee increase for those costs so it is another $7,000 annually for putting that product up. “Currently, Kramer has moved in,” stated Norby. “We had our first blast yesterday. We intend to dial-in their belt scales on Thursday and they will be producing Ag Lime at approximately 900 to 1,000 tons per day right there where they are starting.”
Norby said supervisors wanted to know what the plan was moving forward and said current hours of operation at the Polk County Lime Quarry are Monday through Thursday from 6:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. and closed Fridays. It is important to note that he made this point: “The hours of operation will be adjusted as demand for Ag Lime increases in the spring.” He went on to stress, “With Ag Lime, we have always the attempt that during Ag Lime season we are available for the farmers for hauling. Currently, when I brought the administrator down to the quarry, he witnessed our current crusher puts out about 40 to 50 ton per hour. So as a truck was hauling out to Osceola, he took out a load and by the time he got back we just enough to load that same truck again, so putting up these large piles will give more product available to the farmer at one time so they can haul many loads.”
To reiterate, the cost to the County for Kraemer to strip, blast and crush both Class 5 and Ag lime is considerably less than what the County can perform with its current machinery. As a result of this savings, the County can provide lime products to farmers and others with a considerably lower production cost for taxpayers.
Norby said the Environmental Services Committee is going to be looking at the fee schedule, but right now the new 2020 price to consumers for Ag Lime is $9.75 per ton. But in January this will be reevaluated to see if the price needs to be adjusted due to production costs. It was noted that per resolution and State Statute, the County can sell Ag Lime to farmers at cost.
“You can see right now, that even with custom crushing, it is costing us more to produce that than we are selling it for,” Norby advised.
The new price for Class 5 for 2020 will be $8.50 per ton, 25 cents up from last year.
Moving forward, the plan for the Quarry is to have Kraemer produce large piles of Class 5 and Ag Lime insuring that there is product available for the industry and not having trucks waiting for the product to be produced, increasing efficiencies for both the County and the haulers.
“So that's where we stand right now,” concluded Norby. “Again, Kramer moved in. After this Friday they will suspend operations for approximately 10 days due to their MSHA training and the holidays with their company. But our crusher is still producing Ag Lime as they're getting set up, so that we have the product available for the farmer. And this gives us the option, we still have our equipment and it is set up for Ag Lime. So if there is something that happens or more demand we can still operate our machinery. We haven't lost our machinery yet. The foreman at the Lime Quarry has retired as of Dec. 31, so right now we are looking at having the two full-time staff, the welder/operator and the operator down there. One is an interim foreman and taking the admin/clerk position and filling that full-time, which is already budgeted for. We will be moving that up to the Highway Department for the financials and utilizing that position more in the Public Works Division to be more efficient with the workloads in the other departments within that division.”
The new contract is meant to ensure the quarry operates efficiently - and serve the public and private customers with both fewer staff and lower operating costs.
Supervisor Kim O'Connell was first out of the gate to respond to Norby's update:
“The only thing I think we should look at, is there's a lot of us that work on Fridays. There's a lot of house-building and roads going in. I think we have to be open on Fridays.”
“We will definitely look at that,” said Norby. Supervisor Chris Nelson spoke next: “I have talked to Moe about this too – and I don't think we should 'look at it.' I'm the same way and work five or six days per week...I don't know how we have to make policy, but if we are going to be in the retail sales business, we are open five days per week. I would like to put it on our agenda if that's what it takes, because I would like to make a resolution or a motion to make it go five days per week.” Norby has the authority to change his division's work schedules. “But you haven't,” pressed Nelson.
Norby said he has been waiting to see how things come together with the crushing and commented that he was already leaning toward the eight-hour five-day work week (versus four days at 10 hours).
Supervisor John Bonneprise said he supports that as well – but then the meeting got a bit out of hand - with supervisors basically trying to micro-manage a department, or division, which is beyond the scope of their policy-setting role under the county's current operating system with a county administrator.
What was on the agenda had to do with the crushing bid and Corporation Malia Malone advised against deviating from that issue. But O'Connell did an end-around and made a motion to “direct the administrator to instruct Norby to have the quarry open five days per week/eight hours per day,” which ultimately Chair Dean Johansen ruled out of order. But he then called for a “consensus” of the board to direct (new) County Administrator Vince Netherland to work with Norby to have the quarry open five days per week.
Supervisor Larry Jepsen made that motion, seconded by Supervisor Mick Larsen (the only two supervisors, incidentally, who are not seeking re-election in the spring). It was thus on the floor for discussion.
Supervisor Brad Olson stated baldly, “I think this is one of the worst ideas I've heard in four years. That's what we have a division head for...we can go to Vince and we can go to Moe and say, 'Agriculture needs us to be open five days a week for three weeks. I'm getting the impression we are going to tell Moe he needs to be open five days a week in February and in December and in January – and that is just blatant stupidity. If somebody needs to be there, you have them there. I've got to think you aren't going to need anybody at the Lime Quarry tomorrow. Why are we going to tell him to be open five days a week in January?”
“Point well taken,” Johansen said. Everybody re-thought the issue. Obviously there needs to be some flexibility. Cooler minds prevailed. Johansen asked Jepsen to withdraw his motion, but he refused, saying, “vote on it.” The motion to order Norby around failed. The tone at the end (finally) was that Norby can and will be trusted to do his level best – not just for the county, but also for the farmers and other clients. After all, the stated mission of the Lime Quarry is: “To serve the farmers, contractors, municipalities, county departments, and public, by producing and selling lime and limestone products as efficiently and cost effectively as possible.”
December 19, 2019
New housing, business could be coming soon to Balsam
By Lynda Berg Olds
Chris Nelson made an application for a Class B beer license for the property he owns at 214 Main Street, which evidently is still technically a car wash. He was present at Monday's meeting of the Balsam Lake Village Board and was asked to address the reason for the request.
“Is it going to be a bar?' asked Trustee Jim Duncan.
“I still don't know what it is going to be,” responded Nelson. Obviously you guys know I have been working on this building for a couple years. I keep thinking I am going to get someone in with a vision and let them develop it themselves. We've had a number of people that have come pretty close to going through with something, but they have fallen through. So I continue to take little steps and what the plan is – we have a couple people interested in the building – still as a restaurant; it's a food place with a catering, BBQ kind of idea.
“So I have decided to just go ahead and get everything in place. I met with Brian Hobbs of the Health Department there about a month ago and got everything approved for all the sink locations. And I did apply for a sign on the building through your zoning administrator and got that approved. That was one of the conditions of the people who wanted to run the business. Then the next step was to make sure I could get the beer and wine license on the facility. I personally don't have plans to operate a restaurant, I have enough on my plate, but I am just getting everything in place so someone can turn it into a restaurant.”
Basically getting all the pieces in place so a business could get going was Nelson's goal. He said nothing has really changed with the footprint or the patio.
“There is one other permit I might need if they do the BBQ piece. I would have to get a permit to extend the roof off the back for their smokers if they do that. But this is just one more step. I'm just trying to pull all the pieces together. The people I am talking to would like to be ready to go in the spring.”
Nelson said he would likely remain the property owner and would be leasing the property out or possibly entertaining an option to purchase the building.
With that, Trustee Caroline Rediske made the motion to approve the Class B license, which was promptly seconded.
Trustee Jim Duncan asked about approving the license for just one year.
“If Chris were to sell it to somebody else for say, a bookstore, he wouldn't need a beer license. That's all I am saying.”
Nelson said the intent is for a restaurant and not a bicycle shop (or a bookstore).
“Because I am not planning on opening it, I would have no problem if you guys wanted to have it tied to a food establishment of some type. That makes sense to me.”
Rediske then amended her motion, as did the second to reflect the change and by roll call vote the Class B beer license was unanimously granted.
But Nelson wasn't done yet. The next item on the agenda was a discussion on his request for a zoning change or amendment at 300, 302 and 306 West Main Street, which are three houses he owns on the north (lake) side of the roadway that are rental properties right now.
“Our company has been talking about how to develop those, what to do with the properties. They were bought originally for some type of investment. I have never lived there, they've been rentals since I've owned them.”
Nelson said he spoke with village staff about what he can do with the properties and his understanding was that the properties could be developed for retail business on the main level and residential above..
“I don't have a specific project. We've talked about multi-housing there, whether they are town homes or apartments, but something a little more higher density there. They are big lots and I do have a site map of the lots if you want to look at them.”
Nelson joined the trustees at the table and pointed out the properties with their lot lines. They are about 363 feet deep he said, with a width of 50 feet or greater.
“We just laid out some boxes on here as a concept, but this doesn't fit your zoning...”
Nelson indicated he thought it would be a good idea to get some direction from the board and maybe they could spend a bit of time reviewing their ordinance(s) and zoning.
“My biggest issue is those houses are very old. We just dealt with another tenant who left it pretty bad. We fixed it up, but this is probably the last time I am going to fix them up. And they are getting to the point where they need substantial investment – and I'm just not going to do that. So I would like to work on it this winter, coming up with some kind of concept, or I will probably just sell them. My wife is done dealing with renters she said. So part of this, driving the bus, is my wife. So I just wanted you guys to think about this and what would be the right process.”
Duncan said he thought the board should have a special meeting with Nelson present to talk about what would fit there.
“Maybe nothing but the three houses would fit in our community or maybe something else that would work for you – before you go any further.”
Village President Kathy Poirier spoke up and pointed out that the Housing Study showed that the Village of Balsam Lake needs housing.
“I think it is an appropriate presentation and discussion to have,” she said.
“I think we could come up with something, whether it is something I do or not, but just setting what expectations are and what we should be thinking there – whether I can pull it off or not. Especially with these lots on this side of the road, being so deep and they do have a view of the lake – I think something could be done in a nice way, with a nice architectural feel to them.”
Nelson brought up that there are no sidewalks where his houses are and said, “It feels like you are walking right on the street.”
“You are,” state Poirier.
“So what is the trend going to be? I looked at the house next door...and it is in kind of rough shape too. We are kind of at the end of life with those houses.”
“I think this would be a great discussion to have,” stated Rediske.
So a special meeting was set right away for Monday, Jan. 13 at the village hall at 5:30 p.m.
A Buildings Committee meeting was also set prior to the special meeting - to discuss moving the Police Department into the space east of the Village Hall. Poirier was pretty firm about wanting the department to be visible to the public.
January 9, 2020
Good chance at another big project in Milltown
By Lynda Berg Olds
Cedar Corporation Senior Planner Patrick Beilfuss attended Monday night's meeting of the Milltown Village Board to get the ball rolling on a 2020 Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) for Public Facilities application. The application is due May 14 and provides basically $2 in grant monies for every $1 of community matching funds. This is huge as in the past the split has mostly been 50/50, but this is more like two-thirds paid by the grant – with just one-third paid by the village.
“We looked at a couple of projects that may qualify. Typically we would not recommend a project if we didn't think they were good and had a chance. We think there are two and we actually applied for them for that MLS, that Multi-modal Local Supplemental grant. That came up recently from the State, which was probably a one time deal.”
The two projects are Milltown Avenue – Second Avenue to Main Street and Main Street to Bering Street; and Bank Street – Second Avenue to Milltown Avenue. The first portion of the first project comes at a cost of $222,800 for the village portion, with $668,500 being picked up by the CDBG should the application get accepted. The second portion of the first project would be $70,400 for the village and $211,000 by the grant. The totals then would be $293,200 for the village portion with $879,500 picked up by the grant.
The second (Bank Street) project would come at a cost of $214,000 to the village and $643,000 paid for by the grant.
Beilfuss was very clear that the first project would score the best and had the best likelihood of being accepted as there is a community-wide benefit with the proximity to the park, and the Milltown Community Center with its senior programs (like Meals on Wheels, etc.).
Both of the projects would be total reconstruction projects, with new street, new utilities, sidewalks, etc.
There was considerable discussion among the trustees and it was noted that Milltown Avenue would be “quite tight” with room for a sidewalk on only one side of the roadway. Which side was not yet known.
A decision needed to be made and soon because if the Bank Street project was chosen, which only benefits a certain neighborhood, then the application would require a resident income survey, followed up by going door to door to verify the results. Because of the community-wide benefit of the first project, this step is not necessary for the grant application.
When push came to shove, the obvious decision was to go for the Milltown Avenue project. Beilfuss said they would have to get together with Ehlers, the financial consultants, to figure out the best way to pay the village share should the CDBG Public Facilities grant prove successful.
The meeting was very much public service and infrastructure-related. The Public Works Report, which mostly came from Village Clerk/Treasurer Amy Albrecht due to financing questions and timing, but also Mike Nutter, had to do with installing new meters. The total cost for the project completion will be approximately $101,182 and Albrecht will be looking into financing options. She explained the situation to the Ledger Tuesday morning:
“It was required for us to report to the PSC a project completion plan,” Albrecht said, noting they have been working with Wesley Hoem, Senior Rural Development Specialist from RCAP, and had come up with a three-year plan to complete the meter project (installing 100 meters per year).
“Public Works (both Mike and Boyd), Di Virkus (Utility Clerk), LuAnn White (Village President) and myself were part of a meeting/plan with Wes back in December. Mike wants to hire Midwest Testing to complete the installation of all these meters and received a quote of $90/per installed meter, which will remain the same for each year. However, Midwest wants to charge a $1000 Mobilization Fee and Mike wasn't certain if that was a one-time fee or if that was going to be a fee each year. He was going to find out. Then from what I understood, that answer will determine if we will complete this all in one year or three years.”
GIS Mapping was also considered to locate where all the shut-offs are and infrastructure, but it is cost-prohibitive right now at a price of $27,500.
Villages have been dealing with union contracts of late and Milltown went back to the drawing board to hammer out a few minor changes. A union contract is new to the Milltown Police Department and only pertains to the one full-time officer they have (Austin Reed). Chief Shaun Thayer cannot be part of the union since he has hiring/firing authority.
In other business, citizen Pat Hyden was heard during public comments and he strenuously objected to the new recycling plan. He asked point blank, “Are we losing Polk County Recycling?”
The response came back, “It sounds like it.”
Hyden stated, “There's going to be stuff piled up all over the place. There are going to be rodents and dogs and cats and birds and it is not going to be pleasant. I'm concerned about the appearance of the village. We should shop around!”
It was noted that Waterman's will pick up recycling – but for a charge of $14.
The recycling issue is more or less out of the village's control, but they believe, for the most part, that Waterman's is doing the best they can without trying to impact the resident's pocket books too adversely.
Finally, the village approved the 2020 contribution to the Polk County Economic Development Corporation in the amount of $917. This is paid at $1 per capita (based on the 917 residents in the village).
January 16, 2020
CAFO stakeholder's meeting spills into county board
By Lynda Berg Olds
Prior to the Polk County Board of Supervisors meeting Tuesday night was a Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations (CAFO) Stakeholders meeting upstairs at the Government Center in Balsam Lake. The coordinators of this event were staff of the Polk County Division of Environmental Services, Department of Land Information.
Three stakeholder groups were identified and were separated into independent session, with each group allowed one hour to share their input and concerns regarding new CAFO regulations. The information received will be presented (today) Wednesday to the Environmental Services Committee.
The three groups were identified as Agricultural Producers, Local Officials/Moratorium Committee Members and Concerned Citizens.
The official start time of the county board meeting is 6 p.m., but it was changed until 7 p.m. to accommodate this event. Supervisors filed in a few minutes late and First Vice Chair Jay Luke, who presided over the meeting in Chair Dean Johansen's absence, robustly rang the bell and pounded the gavel as the troops rolled in, calling the meeting to order.
A tiny civics lesson
After the routine business, which includes, among other items, the Roll Call (four of 15 absent), the Pledge of Allegiance and Time of Reflection (none offered), a motion was called for to approve the Consent Agenda. This involved approval/corrections to the minutes from Dec. 17, 2019, approval of a resolution amending the Polk County Smoke-Free Air Ordinance (to include prohibition of vaping or use of any electronic devices), confirmation of Emergency Fire Wardens for the county (Jean Smith, Mike Stoddard, and Ron and Patty Fredericks).
Luke hastened to confirm the appointment of new County Clerk Lisa Ross, with unanimous support from the supervisors, as she was already working in the position. Tuesday was also former County Clerk Sharon Jorgenson's first day as the new Clerk of Circuit Courts.
This is a good point to note that both County Administrator Vince Netherland, as well as Luke, were quick to give kudos to those who have jumped in the breach to help get Ross up to speed in this important cycle with five elections. Even former County Clerk Carole Wondra offered her support.
And speaking of changes, although Bob Kazmierski was not present, he was given big kudos as he is now the new Environmental Services Division Director, where he has been well received by staff. Formerly with UW-Extension Services, Kazmierski is no stranger to the county and has 19 years of experience in the public service arena under his belt.204100l.7yhn edx
Netherland observed later in the meeting that it is also critical to get a new Information Technology Director on board as soon as possible, stressing cyber-security goals.
CAFO Conundrum Continues
Finally then, while all the preliminary work transpired, 25-plus CAFO Concerned Citizens had settled into the boardroom, about half of the total number of individuals in attendance at the Stakeholders Meeting. This event dealt primarily with air and water quality issues and these citizens were present to be heard – and heard they were, several of them, loud and clear during public comments, which took some time.
What follows are excerpts of their unanimous and impassioned pleas to the supervisors to extend the moratorium:
“You are going to vote tomorrow [at the Environmental Services Committee meeting]. This has the potential for disaster, potentially more dangerous and long-lasting than a tornado. But we can stop it. What is your legacy going to be?”
Editors note: These comments are all environmentally-related to the 26,000 swine Suidae CAFO operation proposed moving to Burnett County (nearby Trade Lake) from Iowa and will be operated by a large corporation. Residents of Trade Lake have expressed about the accountability of the Suidae CAFO. One such comment at a recent meeting in Luck was, “They may be agriculture, but they’re industrial, and they should be regulated as such.”
Nutrient, pathogen and antibiotic pollution to ground and surface water – and wells – remain a concern and because the proposed site is near a tributary to the St. Croix River, the Suidae operation has the potential to affect water quality along many miles of river.
The second speaker repeated the words, “Shame on you,” over and over. With this potential for absolute disaster, shame on anyone who would let something like this happen. We live here. We don't farm, but we pay taxes.”
She lamented the fact that the citizens don't get a vote and their only recourse is to rely on the judgment of the supervisors. She also said emphatically about pork in general, “You shouldn't eat that stuff. We don't eat that stuff. That stuff is poison.”
The next woman up said baldly, “We are not being heard enough. This is a problem nationwide. We need to stop it before it causes harm. I'm representing a bunch of citizens and they are scared. Your job is to take care of us. We all deserve quality of life and to not be contaminated. We are not crazy.”
Kirsten Martin, a 28-year resident of the Town of Luck, talked about a class action lawsuit involving 300 individuals regarding nitrate contamination due to mismanagement of manure from another CAFO.
“This is a can of worms you really don't want to open. You can't put this back in. The same sort of thing is going to happen here. There is little to no benefit for we residents, but there is a monumental risk. It would be tragic to destroy this area's water. As a gardener I can tell you we have gotten more rain these past years and I don't see any changes going forward. It has only gotten wetter. With the water table as it is – our lakes and streams are at risk. Please, please extend this moratorium. Look at some of the water studies that have come out of Iowa. Please do your job!”
Lisa Doerr, of the Town of Laketown, provided a comprehensive, detailed, four-page handout, where she researched all the legalities of why the moratorium should be extended, providing a great number of sources. Hers was a six-point plea:
1. No review of Wisconsin Statute 92.15 as basis for proposed amendments
2. No scientific basis for setbacks that are weaker than current Wisconsin Statute 93.90, ACTP 51 Rule.
3. No review of air pollution impacts or American Public Health Association call for national CAFO moratorium
4. No application fee or performance bonds included
5. No review of emergency response capability for outbreak of African Swine Fever (hog Ebola).
Evidently experts predict, in the face of millions of hogs who have died or been killed globally, that 25 percent of the global herd will perish. The disease is 100 percent fatal and the pathogen especially hardy.
“In fact, Germany is now building a wall along their Polish border because the disease is now in Poland,” stated Doerr. “It is going to eventually get here, so what would the county do with 26,000 hogs that are dead, because you have to kill them. Particularly with our water table and no ability to incinerate them or compost them. So we really need to know what the county would do with a herd that is going to get wiped out by Swine Fever.”
Finally, 6. Towns need time to review the impact of ordinance on A-2 and Shoreland zoned areas.
Doerr closed asking for the board to extend the moratorium so they have a chance to look at these issues in depth.
Another Trade River Watershed representative observed that the water from the Trade River moves all the way to the ocean.
“A CAFO doesn't have the incentive a 100-year farmer has. For them, manure is waste. And look at all the standing corn we have. How do you spread manure on standing corn?”
Finally, a member of the Town of Osceola Planning Commission implored the County Board of Supervisors to give them something to work with. She said there are a lot of questions being asked with regards to CAFOs, but the Commission does not have the answers.
“It's a good start,” she said, “but you need to give us something more.”
This is an issue that is not going away any time soon – or possibly ever.
January 23, 2020
Strategic Plan is alive; not a shelf document
By Lynda Berg Olds
“It's hard to believe we are three years into our five-year plan,” commented Luck School Board President Jacob Jensen to Superintendent Cory Hinkel at Monday night's meeting of the board. Hinkel zoomed through the the January 2020 portion of the 2018-2023 plan, where a tremendous amount of progress has already been made. What follows are the highlights as presented.
The first area involved Student Achievement and Learning Opportunities. To that end, the following real “action” steps have been taken:
Explored Charter School Concept; still exploring full time Tech Ed Instructor; changed Video production to Productions to incorporate CNC, Laser Engraver and 3-d Printers along with Video Hands-On Technology implemented in Elementary (Maker Space).
Next was to allow students opportunities to learn outside traditional settings:
There was high attendance in Cardinal Academy; Monty’s Traveling Reptile Show is coming soon; the Flight Squad performed and the elementary had a student-led camp.
This is followed by celebrating the success of students in academics and citizenship in the following ways:
With the ACT Honor Board; restructuring of the CIA (Cardinal Intelligence Agency); Character education - Positivity Project implemented school-wide (PK-12); a Re-focus on PBIS- Systems to reward positive behavior/re-teaching of expectations.
The next focus, to ensure the growth of every student at all levels of achievement, involved the following steps already this January:
Use of resource time to target struggling students; a change to elementary problem solving meetings; mailing Progress Reports and Report Cards every six weeks in the Middle School and High Schools; and the inception of grades 3-8 Spelling Bee Statewide Competition involvement.
Capitalizing on the resources of being a PK-12 district in one building has been undertaken in the following ways of late: The library converted to a 21st century learning space; there have been school-wide Pep Assemblies- IE: Football! And the Wellness Committee is focusing on positive environment among 4K-12 staff.
Additionally, the new version of the Christmas Tea went over very well with staff getting together offsite for food, fellowship and fabulous prizes.
Engaging the community as a partner of learning is another focus and these actions have been taken to that end:
The new partnership with the Village of Luck Police; a partnership with St. Croix Valley Hardwoods - with special education students also employed at Jensen Furniture; and all kinds of new signage throughout the building.
“Providing technology opportunities that fit the ever- changing world by staying at its forefront,” is yet another component of the strategic plan. This is currently being accomplished with the updated Elementary Lab; the purchase of Virtual Reality equipment; field trips and Oculus; the purchase of touch screen television and added electronic signage in the building.
Taking care of the building is also paramount and “maintaining the facilities to provide a safe environment that is conducive to learning and projects the values of our community” is yet another focus of the Plan.
To that end the Art Room and Library have been remodeled; there is a focus on maintaining and improving the Metal and Wood Shop Spaces; application has been made for a FEMA Grant; and work continues to focus on the capital improvement referendum.
Finally, Luck's Strategic Plan goes on to “provide professional growth of staff and promote and foster a collaborative working atmosphere” by: providing deescalation training to all staff in house by CESA; having had aides come in during in-service for targeted training; staff-led book studies; and staff in general have taken more leadership responsibilities, particularly in relation to the school forest, math coaching, restorative practices, and PBIS.
Throughout this lengthy and comprehensive process, all efforts have been taken by administration, board members and other stakeholders who have invested their time, to ensure that this Plan absolutely does not become a “shelf document.”
Clearly that is not the case, as this Strategic Plan is very much alive - and flourishing with constant nourishment.
January 30, 2020