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"After all these years, still doing a great job!!" -Ron Hermanson
Memory Days Grand Marshals
By Lynda Berg Olds
The Ledger had the pleasure of sitting down with Jeanne Alling for a nice chat on Monday. She has known for some time that she and hubby Al are this year's Memory Days Grand Marshals, having been unequivically informed that it is their turn. Jeanne is not one to toot her own horn – with her deep-seated conviction that family and community service go hand-in-hand. That is just what you do, and she does take pride that this community commitment has been passed along to her daughters.
While Jeanne is a native Centurian and lives just a mile from the home (Larsen) farm, hubby Al is from a military family and they traveled until his father retired from the Marines.. He did go to kindergarten in Frederic, but then his parents divorced and they went back to Hawaii, where his mom grew up to help take care of his grandma. So he graduated high school in Hawaii.
“When his mom retired from Dole Pineapple, she had one sister who lived in this area,” Jeanne said. “The others lived from coast to coast and they decided to settle in Centuria, where they've lived since 1984.”
Jeanne was in college when Al and his mom moved to Centuria, so she didn't know him at all. Jeanne was going to UW-River Falls for teaching classes (and she also worked here at the Ledger for a time). She was teaching up in Ashland then – and she met Al at her home farm.
“Every year, the Larsen family sponsored this big fall cook out and all these people would come. It was a big, big pot luck and we would bury the meat in the ground. We would make a pit and line it with rocks and you put the fire there...my family had friends on the Centuria Fire Department so they would always invite the Fire Department as they were making this big fire. They wanted to make sure it was safe. Well Al came out with some of the friends and he happened to be walking by – because after it was ll dug out, then at night and it starts to cool down and you can,t see the pit. Well he came walking by and came straight over towards his friends and he slipped and was falling into the fire pit...and I pulled him out. The big joke was, they called it the love pit becasue I had jerked him out of there...and he would come up and see me up in Ashland, so yes, it was fun.”
The Allings are coming up on their 28th anniversary in November. The couple has two daughters, Johanna and Jena.
Jeanne retired a year ago from teaching Ag at Unity - and is busier than ever. They needed some help in Turtle Lake so she subbed there for a few weeks last fall and then was there for the entire spring semester.
“I promised my Ag teacher (Frank Reynolds) that I would some day come back and take his job – and he said, 'You do that that someday!' And that is what I did.”
When Jeanne was asked if she would do anything differently if given the opportunity (not a regular Grand Marshal interview question), she responded:
“I told somebody one day a couple of years ago, I said, 'I wish could invent a clock that had more than 24 hours in a day. Wouldn't it be cool if you could have, say 40 hours in a day – but you could only work eight – then you would have to take so much time for family ands so much time for community, and you have to sleep. So your day becomes different. Wouldn't that be interesting if you could do that?”
Indeed, Jeanne, indeed.
She talked about Al for a while, who sounds like the most someone with the most mechanical aptitude ever.
“He loves doing the mechanical stuff. He fixes everything,” she said. It is amazing the things that he can fix. He just recently acquired a lawnmower, which someone had been trying to fix for three years and they gave up. Al got it and he just took a couple parts and put it in his oil stuff that he does and he put it back together and it runs like a charm. He looked up the value and quadrupled it – and that is a used price. He can take old cars, tractors, anything mechanical – with an engine.”
We talked about critters next and Jeanne commented that she loves animals. They have two dogs and two cats. They hunt and fish (which Al had never done until he married into Jeanne's family and now he takes the hunting season off). Little Buster, a Rat Terrier, even rides the lawn mower with Al, whotakes care of a huge front yard.
This paper is not large enough to list all the organizations and undertakings that Jeanne is involved in. Some include Lions, Leos, Unity FFA Alumni, 4-H, Memory Days, the Polk County Fair, The Sister City (Milltown) project, the Community Gardens project - etc., etc., etc.
She is also the reason the Unity Agriculture Education program was named the most Outstanding Ag Ed program in Wisconsin in 2015. Kudos to the Allings.
July 12, 2018
Detour may last until winter
By Lynda Berg Olds
The Big Butternut Culvert Replacement – and its requisite detour (which has rerouted traffic around the “horn,” past the cemetery for about a month now) - was discussed at length at the recent meeting of the Luck Village Board.
Citizens trying to get to the school, boat landing, golf course, beach, campsite or ball field, take this detour daily, which only takes two-minutes, according to Public Works Director Seth Petersen.
Village President Dave Rasmussen informed that before the culvert gets to the creek (at the bridge, near the school) there's a rock dam that is owned by the county that regulates the level of the lake.
“When the culvert went, we were checking with the DNR as far as what we would have to do to replace it, and that is when I found out that the county has a dam there – so we have been working with the county to replace the dam – and our street there,” stated Rasmussen.
MSA's Teresa Anderson, who is a regular presenter at Luck Village Board meetings (what with all the town's various projects with which she is involved, said there are a couple of different structures that would function as both the culvert and the dam.
“Like a box culvert with stop locks on it that most people are used to – and then another one that controls the interior, so it is like a sand pipe that the water can go into or flow over.”
Rasmussen said each of the three options cost about $250,000 to replace. Anderson explained that the first option would have been the village just replacing the culvert and trying to work around the dam – but it did not include the dam, which would still cost as much as dealing with the dam as well.
Rasmussen said he met with the county and had just spoken with Deb Peterson of the Parks, Forestry, Buildings and Solid Waste Department. He advised that Peterson was going to speak with the county administrator (Interim CA Jeff Fuge) to see if there might be any cost sharing that might be involved with this project.
“The county snowmobile trail goes across that too and we need to widen that street.”
Rasmussen thought the street was aobut 20-feet wide and Anderson interjected, “I think it is less than that.”
Rasmussen said that Peterson had indicated that the county would likely pick up half of the project cost, but the outlay would first need to go through the committee approval process.
“More than likely they will be contributing half of the cost of whatever alternative we choose,” Rasmussen said. “So that was goods news. And we are also going to be looking at some dam grants to see if there are any dam grants out there.”
The board cracked up. Saying “dam grants” once was no big deal. But twice in one sentence and a good laugh was had by all.
“So there is no real completion time set at this juncture?” qeried the press.
“We are hoping by this fall I guess,” was Rasmussen's response.
Anderson added, “Optimistically what I would say, is we would like to get it back open, maybe with gravel, maybe not paved through the winter – it might get to that point where all you can do is get the gravel in there so that you can get through there and itr would be open to traffic.
The village approved a Professional Services Agreement with MSA for replacing the Big Butternut Culvert with an integral dam structure. With Village President Rasmussen employed by MSA, he handed over the reins of the meeting to President Pro Tem Kyle Johansen. (Of note, Trustees Mike Broten and Sonja Jensen were absent.)
Anderson said she would field this subject.
“Essentially, there is some permitting that needs to be done and in order to do that we need to do a hydralic model of what is going on with the dam and the lake. The DNR has specific legal water levels for the lake, so we would need to do some topographical survey work to get a feel for what the actual conditions are out in the field.
“Then of course we need to design the road and the culvert. If a dam is shorter than six feet it is called a small dam, which puts you in a whole different category of regulations with the DNR. So we would hope to keep this as a small dam instead of a large dam, so there might be a little bit of work that needs tobe done with the road to keep it that category. To widen the eoad, with the adjacent wetlands, we will need to take a look at what needs to happen with the permitting for that. Then we will prepare plans and specs and permit applications from all of that information and go through the permitting process with the DNR. Then go through the bidding process to get a contractor in place.
Then, this contract includes doing the construction and administration. It does not include having someone here from MSA all the time whil;e the contractor is working, but making periodic site visits making sure that everything is going okay. We would review the change orders and pay requests...”
With the project sounding like a such a lengthy one, Anderson was asked if she thought the DNR would hold them up – and she didn't think so, however, she advised that the DNR would like to see the rock dam gone.
“They don't like rock dams because they can get manipulated. They know you need to fix the culvert. They know that this needs to move quickly. They understand that the road is closed. This is a pretty defined process. I don't see there being a big hold-up, but I can't promise. But I can tell you that the engineer who will be working on this does dam projects as 50 percent of his workload. YOU are in good hands and we can streamline the project as much as possible.”
The motion to approve the Professional Services Agreement, in the amount of $31,500, was unanimously approved (with Rasmussen abstaining).
July 19, 2018
Further study of facility needs is on the school board menu
On July 27, Luck School District Administrator Cory T. Hinkel, clarified a mistake made by CESA 10's Luke Schultz regarding the timing for a potential referendum.
“Schultz stated that we would need to make a decision for a vote in November and this is incorrect,” Hinkel amplified. He noted that a district must pass a resolution to go to referendum 70 days prior to the
“We would be looking at running the referendum in April if the board decides to go in this direction,” noted Hinkel. “This would mean a resolution would need to be passed by the board at their January meeting...which allows more time to garner community input and made a
A special meeting has been called for Wednesday (after press time) for another discussion of the Facility Study (as well as approval of a health insurance plan and approval of a new athletic trainer.
There are a great many items in the facility study that are considered “urgent.” Some of them include:
Kitchen equipment (wooden prep table needs to be swapped out for stainless); soundproofing (and a window) for the guidance office; the science room needs all electronics for the fume hood removed to be up to code; electrical panels needs locks; daycare is starting and parents having access to the school when dropping off children is deemed a safety risk; interior doors need working locks, the wall by the art room needs to be finished and there needs to be more storage for chemicals.
Moving outside for a moment, the parking lot needs to be resealed and lines repainted. Also a fence is recommended for students to funnel through so they are not darting darting across the street. Another option was presented to construct additional parking to the right of the main entrance and use that for drop offs and pickups.
Tuckpointing is necessary in several areas and the exterior needs to be monitored to stay on top of that issue where the face of bricks literally falls off the buildings.
Also there are gaps under several of the school bus garage doors -so the ground needs to be leveled and gaps removed so rodents and other critters are prevented from gaining access.
The water fountains are very old and most need to be replaced and same with the counters in the Home Economics room.
The chalkboards should be upgraded to whiteboards to eliminate chalk dust – and the space that houses the computer lab “should be spruced up to make it more appealing.” (Of note, this received a 'nine' with 10 as the most urgent and is likely one of the areas the school board deemed not quite so necessary.)
The restrooms also require a complete makeover, according to CESA, with new finishes and fixtures.
And that is just the first dozen items briefly explored – and there are 48 more.
In summary, CESA noted that the Facilities Management team commended Luck Schools for being “well maintained.” They said the District leadership and facilities staff should be commended on how the school is being run, maintained and managed.
Additionally, they said that the audit report is meant to “assist the District over the next 10 years in conserving energy, reducing operating and maintenance costs and improving occupant comfort and safety where applicable.”
Going forward the plan is to make both short and long term goals – and should the District move towards a referendum, CESA will assist in educating taxpayers in the district on the critical safety and infrastructure needs.
August 2, 2018
Timeline takes shape for spring referendum
By Lynda Berg Olds
CESA Facility Improvement guru Luke Schultz appeared by Skype at the special meeting of the Luck School Board last Wednesday and 41 projects deemed “immediate needs” were dissected and decisions like, “keep,” “dismiss,” or “keep but pare down,”were made.
As each area was examined and budgets were considered, Schultz did note the scope could be limited. He discouraged the board from spending too much time on any specific area before the “appetite” of the public is determined with reference to a referendum.
“What is your budget appetite?” he asked the board. “What are your priorities?”
President Jacob Jensen remarked, “Well we are eating off the budget menu at Dennys, which I think you already know.”
“You do a lot of back and forth, but until you do a community walk-through...you don't want to keep going down the wrong road.”
“What exactly do we need to decide at this time?” pressed Jensen. “We haven't really narrowed things down. Are we taking the next steps to prepare for declaring our intent?”
District Administrator Cory Hinkel made certain everyone had the proper time line in mind. That is, there was a misunderstanding after the last regular meeting, where the thought was perpetuated that a referendum could possibly happen as early as this fall. But even though the resolution language will be for the April 2019 election, Schultz cautioned that it is still a tight timeline.
“If the community supports a wellness center, we really need to get a designer/architect on board,” Schultz said.
Some discussion was held on what three options might be presented to the public, such as, do it all, do nothing, or do a combination.
Then the tediousness of examining the 41 immediate needs began and each sparked its own discussion. Random examples included:
“How many Smart boards are really needed? Do we have to have so many drinking fountains? We have to have new flooring in the science lab. We can delete the new elevator – it doesn't get a lot of use. We have to make the computer lab more modern. We have to fix the stairwell where the kids could feasibly fall through. We have to do tuck-pointing and carpets and cabinets, but we could lower. We can do the ceiling ourselves.”
This went on for some time. The biggest questions have to do with whether or not there is an “appetite” for the big ticket items like a Wellness Center, with an elevated walking track, new parking lot, new retractable bleachers – and the list goes on. There will be walk-throughs soon with the board, staff and other key stakeholders in the community. There will be a survey sent out in the district, a timeline will be created, and the referendum resolution will be shaped by January...with talks and walks about the school encouraged and public forums...and of course, the press will be kept in the loop, so the community can be kept in the loop - every step of the way.
August 9, 2018
Meandering meeting in Milltown
By Lynda Berg Olds
Monday night's meeting of the Milltown Village Board didn't cover a tremendous amount of business - it was a relaxed and rambling kind of meeting. By far the biggest news was announced by Milltown Public Library Director Bea Volgren who reported they received the entire maximum Community Development Block Grant allowed – a whopping $500,000.
Volgren also reported some great numbers, such as 87 in-house participants in the Summer Reading Program.
“For a town our size, that's really a lot,” she beamed. Volgren was also happy to report that her year-to-date program attendance topped out over 1,000 – at 1,099.
Milltown Chief of Police Shaun Thayer has found his footing in the community and reported he needs to purchase a new, more visible light bar. Village Clerk/Treasurer Amy Albrecht gave him kudos for his success in soliciting donations for Kids Night Out, which is next Tuesday, Aug. 21, from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. at the Milltown Community Center.
This year's extravaganza promises to be more exciting than ever, with the LifeLink helicopter landing in the softball field, along with other emergency services personnel with their fire truck, ambulance and squad car.
The Village of Milltown once again donated $500 to this big event, which features all kinds of games and prizes for the kiddos, along with a free picnic dinner.
Public Works Director Mike Nutter was a bit stressed with his leaking roof issue. He said the shop roof leaks in heavy rain and the contractor who installed wanted $13,000 to fix it.
“Otherwise he was willing to try and find the [bad] spots for $7,000,” Nutter said. The roof job had a 10-year warranty and was completed in 2013, but the contractor claims it isn't his fault. The roof is a flat one and evidently some pieces flew off of it during high winds in the past year or so.
Village President LuAnn White wondered if insurance would cover it and that was deemed worth a try.
“We have to do something because boards are falling off inside,” stated Nutter.
Trustee Glenn Owen commented that photos should be taken for documentation purposes.
White said she would think the roof would be covered if it was damaged by the wind.
On another note, Nutter played “show and tell,” with the trustees, demonstrating how slip lining works, more or less, which was frankly fascinating, how the polymer hardens and makes pipes like new.
Finally, Nutter said he wanted to get some sidewalks revamped yet this year, but Masonry Master Randy Giller is booked solid. Other options were bandied about, but nothing firm was set up. Nutter asked Albrecht if the money in his budget could be carried over to next year and she said no, it doesn't work that way. It would have the net affect of raising the budget, which in turn would raise the tax levy.
August 16, 2018