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"After all these years, still doing a great job!!" -Ron Hermanson
Luck Community Education is...so much more
By Lynda Berg Olds
At the most recent meeting of the Luck School Board, Community Education Director Amy Aguado updated members on the myriad of activities she is involved in, barely mentioning the 40-plus classes that were offered just this semester – the point being she does so much more. She began by noting this is the 20th year Community Education has provided scholarships.
“We try to be more inclusive than exclusive...we've grown from $100 to each student way back when it started to about $200. This year I made sure of my charting of participation in being as 'remindful' as possible, saying this was not an obligation to be involved in this fundraiser by seniors and their parents. So those who did participate received more money than those who did not. We had 23 students who participated fully and will receive $200 each. Four did some of the work and will receive $100 each and then six chose to not participate and they won't receive any community-based scholarship from here. Those amounts total $5,000, so it is going really well.
“There is an additional scholarship fund that we have that was made into a separate account many years ago. It was extra money that didn't need to be in the active account – back in the day of good interest rates. In talking with my advisory board, we had a partial balance moved from that kind of savings account into our active scholarship account. What we just moved was the interest to the tune of $2019. As of the past two years, the interest on that has been just pennies, so we moved it into our active scholarship checking account so the balance for that is now about $6,500, which left us with that savings account of $5,765. And one thing we did with that account to is changed it from a 12-month account to a three-month, which gives us a little more flexibility if things were to change – if we were to need some extra money to go towards scholarships, we'd be set for that and not have to wait 12 months.”
Aguado talked about the recent volunteer appreciation event, which was held just prior to the high school concert.
“We honored over 25 school volunteers, but we only had a handful show up. They are kind of shy about being recognized – and also busy.”
Maggie Peterson was recognized as the volunteer of the year – and she was one who couldn't attend. Aguado said the next day they took a photo in the classroom with some of the students that she has been helping throughout the year.
“Based on feedback from teachers who she has been helping, Maggie was very deserving and just couldn't be happier. She taught for 34 years here and then went straight into volunteering. She is now in her sixth year and doesn't show any signs of slowing down. We are lucky to have her.”
Aguado then briefly discussed STEP (Senior Tax Exchange Program). She said the program has changed but it still provides a nice kickback for some of the volunteers in specific areas.
“This is our third year of doing STEP and I am the one who coordinates the volunteers, takes in their paperwork and keeps them on track. We have four registered participants and they have logged over 650 hours this year in the classroom(s).”
Aguado moved on to the “Lucky to Have You” teacher recognition and said the winner will receive a $500 scholarship to use as they like. We are in our fifth year of that and it is sponsored by Luck Country Inn.”
Aguado told the board they've received an “awesome donation” to reseal the sidewalk on Seventh Street.
“It is the blacktop that starts after the cement ends and goes all the way down, around the curve, to the turn-around spot prior to the bridge. That was a project spear-headed by Community Ed 20-plus years ago - because the neighborhood saw that there were students and adults walking on the road to get from one place to another. So they really wanted to make it safer and they had a number of fundraisers to make that happen. It is getting warm now so Cory (Superintendent Hinkel) and I are working on that to see when it is best-suited for our needs. This is awesome news but I don't know the timeline.”
The next announcement Aguado was excited about is there is going to be a reprint of the (oversized) book, “A Little bit of Luck.” She said the copyright is held by Luck Community Education.
“It was put together and published by Luck Community Ed and you will probably recognize some of the contributors: Edwin Petersen, Vivian Byl, Sue Mattson, etc. etc. It is really well-written...”
School Board member Amy Dueholm wanted to buy one and Aguado told her they would be available in a 10 to 14 days (so now). “There's a lot of cool history in them,” observed Aguado, who said the price will be the same as it was originally - $14.95.
“We will also sell groups of them wholesale to library/museums so they can sell them as well. I think we will go through the 100 much faster than we did the first time.”
Aguado then commented a bit on a few of the current classes running – two yoga classes, two water aerobic classes, and a boat safety class was happening at the same time as the meeting.
“We just wrapped up with a painting class taught by a Luck grad Nikki Grey. The kids were excited and most wanted to wrap up their paintings for Mother's or Father's Day (See photos).”
Aguado advised there will be more classes to come from Ms. Grey, some for special needs students – and other for both parent and child classes.
“Just sitting in her classes a little bit – she is very patient and very positive. “We are lucky to have her.”
Another success story was the Woodland Chorale, which rehearsed at Luck these past nine years. Aguado said the 10th year will be their last unless another director were to step up as Harry Johansen is stepping down from that position. There were two performances this year with the St. Croix Valley Orchestra and with the free will donations, they were able to give five $450 checks to area schools for their music departments.
“That is all done through Luck Community Ed to make that happen. The checks were given to St. Croix Falls, Frederic, Unity, Grantsburg and Luck. It is great to see this happen and help grow these music departments.”
Aguado still had much to report. She said she is working more closely in collaboration with District Administrator Hinkel on the newsletter. She says there will be “more meat” now in the letter.
The Prairie Fire Theater is coming the third week of June with afternoon rehearsals; the Festival Theater has an art program kids will be involved in; Aguado talked about the Tyke Hike on the Ice age Trail and wrapped up noting the highly acclaimed West Denmark Fiddle School will be back for another season June 9-13,
There is clearly considerably more going on with the Aguado and her Community Education “department.”
The school board was clearly impressed and encouraged her to keep up the good work.
June 6, 2019
Hemp commerce coming to Village of Centuria
By Lynda Berg Olds
At Monday night's meeting of the Centuria Village Board, by far the most significant item on the agenda was “discussion and possible action on the Conditional Use Permit (CUP) application by Dan Schiller (doing business as NJ Farms).
Village Board President Rod Peterson said, “We had a Planning Commission meeting on that and I guess what he wants to do is dry hemp. He said there are a lot of local growers and I guess it is starting to take off. He is just going to dry it for now – and eventually he is going to have a machine in there to extract the oils. He will dry it and then extract it somewhere in Minneapolis. He wants to eventually move up here. It depends on how busy he gets. We discussed everything with him about clean up, fire hazards...and Tony (Public Works Director Weinzirl) got his two cents worth. It looked good so the committee recommends that we approve his Conditional Use Permit.”
New Trustee Chuck Ellsworth queried, “What do we have for ordinances to cover someone drying hemp? I assume nothing.”
Weinzirl chimed in, “It would be treated just as any other commercial business - as far as parking or noise issues, etc. There is nothing that is directly related to the drying process, but there are fire codes and building codes...similar to other businesses in town. That is all Department of Commerce-type stuff.”
Ellsworth said, “I just looked up on the State and I probably didn't find everything that there was. Like, is he going to be required to have any kind of security there? I know it's hemp. I know the difference. But I just feel like it is going to draw some people who don't know the difference – that are too stupid...”
Trustee Stanley Swiontek concurred that was a valid question. He asked:
“Is it going to put pressure on our police force?”
Ellsworth insisted, “Someone is going to try something. Are there requirements for cameras and floodlights?”
Weinzirl stated, “That's his business. That would be like telling the bars they have to put a security camera out front so you can watch their front door to see who comes in and out. It is their business.”
Ellsworth noted that the State requires fencing for the growers.
Swiontek said he was sure Schiller had to get a license from the State.
“He already has it,” clarified Weinzirl. “He has it all and it has been approved by the State.”
Peterson noted that Schiller had offered to give trustees tours of his operations if they would like. He commented that they make animal bedding out of hemp byproducts.
Weinzirl added, “Once they remove the portions that they use for the oil, he (Schiller) said the best use is for bedding because it is so absorbent. And there are three different stages of the waste lot product he has got, the last being the absorbency, but there is also animal feed that can come out of another portion of the plant. They've got grants and the way he made it sound is they are working in conjunction with a lot of different...”
Ellsworth interrupted. “That's wrong because the animal feeding part is not legal. I was just curious because it just seems like it is going to draw the wrong attention. I do know the difference, but that doesn't mean that we're not going to have folks that don't.”
Trustee Tom Boettcher said that was his concern too.
“I think we are going to hear about this,” he cautioned.
Weinzirl again was called upon as he evidently had a “sit down” with Schiller.
“Basically, the issue is, it is a legal process. It is a legal company. It is similar to our discussion about the solar farm. Just because there is a question as to whether or not it is going to be liked doesn't mean as a governing board you can deny it because of that.”
Swiontek said he thought the operation would employ about 20 people.
“Like most ag, it is seasonal work,” noted Weinzirl. “I guess most all of the stripping is done by hand.”
Boettcher wondered if the county had any say in the matter, but Weinzirl said it was State licensing.
Swiontek said, “I guess I move to approve,” but it was noted that recommendation by the committee counts for a motion, so Swiontek seconded the motion.
Perhaps surprisingly, since there was considerable discussion that leaned toward opposition, the motion to approve the CUP was passed unanimously by voice vote.
There was no discussion at the meeting about a time table, but the Ledger spoke with Weinzirl on Tuesday and he said his impression is they want to be up and running by fall – harvest time.
Weinzirl also had the impression that this company constructs the machine to extract the oil from the hemp plants and they are constantly pursing viable options to make use of every part of the plant.
One thing is certain, everyone will be happy to see the big vacant building(s) in the Industrial Park finally being utilized, since the “High Quality Shavings” company has long since dropped the ball. Plus there will be some more employment in town, which is a definite positive for the village. For now, just one building, the biggest, will be utilized. With any amount of luck they will need the other vacant building in the not too distant future.
The Conditional Use Permit itself says the purpose is to “dry hemp related mass.” Conditions of the permit include adherence to building codes and Village Ordinances. Also, if at any time a condition is not fully complied with, the Plan Commission may revoke the CUP upon a 30-day to the applicant – and following a hearing.
In other village business, the CMAR (Compliance Maintenance Annual Report), which deals with waste water treatment in the village, was summarily approved with the comment, “We did much better than last year.”
Also all the licenses and permits for bars (liquor, beer, cigarettes, operators), the salvage yard, mobile home park, etc., were approved in one fell swoop.
June 13, 2019
Big Butternut boaters urged to dock and dine
By Lynda Berg Olds
“We're working on bumper stickers and bike racks, among other things,” reported Luck Tourism Director Sherrie Johnson at Wednesday's regular meeting of the Luck Village Board. She said the bike racks will likely be placed in front of the public buildings. She passed around an example of one bumper sticker – and everybody got a laugh...but the press was not allowed to do a spoiler alert and ruin the surprise. The bumper stickers will be on sale at the Community Club tent during Lucky Days, the third weekend in July. Johnson also noted the the next (quarterly) Tourism Commission meeting will be on July 1.
The next report came from Luck Municipal Golf Course Superintendent Kevin Clunis. Village President Dave Rasmussen was being kind and allowed these reports at the beginning of the meeting so Johnson and Clunis did not have to sit through the whole meeting if they chose not to.
“Approval of the contract is on the agenda tonight and the only major change is we reduced their rent by $100 since the kitchen is only open two days per week as opposed to five like last year,” stated Clunis. He was speaking about the agreement between the Village of Luck and the Luck Country Club.
“However, starting this week on Fridays, the Country Club will be open three days per week (Wednesdays for Ladies Day, Thursday for Men's Day – and Fridays). The rent remained adjusted from $300 last year back to $200 as it has been in Prior years.
“The upstairs is open and you can check the Country Club Facebook page for the specials. He is going to work Fridays from now until Labor Day. He (Luis Delgado, of KJs New North in Balsam Lake) is excited about it.”
[For inquiring minds and palates, this week's special is meat loaf and garlic mashed potatoes.]
In terms of number of golf rounds, Clunis said the course is down 12 percent from last year.
“It is not a big number – we are probably down about 500 rounds over last year – but the good news is, our revenues are exactly the same as last year. So there's quite a few less rounds but everyone is spending money out there, which is good. Our green fees and cart fees are exactly the same as they were a year ago. So even with fewer rounds we are getting more interest...a little bit had to do with raising prices a little bit here and there, which has offset some of the rounds that we've lost...but with this weather, hopefully, it is all going to come together now.”
Clunis continued giving a big thank you to the three benefactors that donated to the 10th Tee Project.
“More good news – it came in under budget and on time (ProLawn did the work). I will have a better breakdown at our meeting later this month. But it turned out really well. Also our donor tee signs are almost all spoken for.”
Clunis opened it up for questions and Trustee (and Golf Commission Chair) Mike Broten asked what was going on with the deck on the lake side. Clunis responded that it is still in the works and he hoped to have a bid this week so he can pick up the lumber and get ready to go.
“It is an extended stair going from the east end of the deck down to the other set of stairs that are by the extra carts.
“It is another exit to come off of the deck that we built. The fire marshal said we needed a second (emergency) exit.”
“Have we heard anything on the dock and getting it put in?” queried Broten.
“That's your dock,” Clunis responded.
Broten said it is the Lake Association's dock.
Johnson, who wears a lot of hats, spoke up and said the association is supposed to put it in. She said she would talk to Bob, the president of the Big Butternut Lake Association.
“And as long as we are talking docks and golf courses and tourism, the Butternut Association will pay for two signs. We want to put one at the end of the public landing dock, where the fishermen and boaters unload and load. And one at the end of our dock at the golf course that lets people know it is a public dock – and that the golf course is open to the public; food, drink, public restrooms – getting some of the fishermen, etc., recreational people, off the lake and into the golf course.”
Broten concurred, noting that is why they thought the deck would be nice as well, coming off the lake.
Clunis fielded another question from Trustee Mike Miller. A question that has been on the minds and tongues of many, “Are there any plans for where the old clubhouse was?”
“That is on the agenda for our next Golf Commission meeting.”
Clunis was only half joking when he said that over the course of the past eight years, that Pro Shop/Clubhouse, which was finally disposed of last winter, has generated more discourse than anything else. He said there was even a survey done once where the number one issue was the disposition of that building and the real estate it sits on. He indicated he will be glad to get that behind him.
Things are going full speed ahead at the Luck Golf Course and the big W.I.N.G.S. Tournament on Monday was a bigger success than ever.
June 20, 2019
Who knows what the Governor will do?
By Lynda Berg Olds
The 2019-2020 budget (or lack thereof) was addressed by Superintendent Cory Hinkel at Monday night's meeting of the school board.
“Last month we put on hold raises for everybody. In talking to our finance manager about the preliminary budget for next year – we don't have hard insurance updates, we are just starting to get things in there. Not knowing that – and with our aid coming in different – and we have that small first grade class and second grade class; we've been graduating 40 to 50 and then we have classes coming in, in the 20s – that really affects your three-year average. Things aren't looking that great, but the budget hasn't been passed either. Who knows what the Governor is going to do with the budget. A lot of things that he had in there were cut out. Only a handful of what he actually wanted made it into the budget...there's talk of him possibly vetoing the whole budget. If that happens, Representative Voss has said that they are not going to come back until October now. So it could be a long time of unknowns.”
School Board President Jacob Jensen said, “So we are just holding...”
“Yes. We are really just holding tight until we have an idea of what everything will be.”
Hinkel commented that Elementary Principal Jason Harelson reported 4K being up to 34 people. That adds the need to divide into two sections of 17.
“That's a lot of young kids running around so the possibility of having aides is becoming more apparent for both of those classrooms - there is going to be some need there. But we will get it all sorted through.”
Referendum Survey” was the next issue Hinkel discussed in his rather lengthy report to the board. He said he and Luke Schultz of CESA 10, the facilities upgrade guru of sorts, surmised that the most cost-effective way to get the survey out would be to do it online.
“There's different ways we can do this to get word out to the people. We could just rely on Facebook and our newspapers with the survey. We could send a mailer out. Luke was talking to me about possibly just having a mailer, a little postcard go out with the link to the survey and also saying that hard copies would be available in the office. That would be a cheaper way than even sending out an actual survey. And our return rates have not been very good, and if we do it online we may get just as many as before.”
Jensen affirmed that the survey would be emailed out to all of the school's contacts and Hinkel said, yes, along with Facebook and the newspapers.
“Our second cheapest options would be the postcards and most expensive to just mail the survey and have it returned (SASE).”
School Board member Todd Roehm said his opinion was that they didn't get much response to the original survey. He said, “To waste money sending out a mailing, to me seems like just that, a waste. People didn't respond originally. What is going to make them respond and tell you why they voted no?”
Jensen concurred, noting they have a pretty extensive email list including the community education list, through the school and with parents.
“We can use all of our emails and put a QPR code in the paper. Then you always have the option to come here or call us and we will mail you one.”
“What I am hearing is no mass mailing? Does everyone agree?”
“Then we will use our resources and get it out to as many as possible through email and social media.”
School Board member Rick Palmer had a question about the survey itself:
“Question #5 says, 'Did you vote? Yes or No?' We have a lot of people that didn't vote – so were they disinterested?”
Hinkel said they would add, “If not, why?” to that question.
Palmer thought the answer to that question might also provide some valuable information.
Of note, the referendum failed in the last election by a mere 15 votes. That is, if 15 who voted 'no' would have voted 'yes,' there would have been a tie.
June 27, 2019
Luck narrows proficiency gaps
By Lynda Berg Olds
“I'm happy to report our academic world looked pretty good this year,” began Luck Elementary Principal Jason Harelson at the Luck School Board meeting last Monday. “If you just look at our STAR Reading, combined with grades K through three, we started the year and the kids were at 47.4 percent proficiency or above – and grew it by the end of the year to 70 percent, which is something to celebrate.”
Harelson said it was a similar situation with math, with 43.5 percent of students at or above proficiency levels at the beginning of the year and by the end of the school year, 68 percent.
“These are great numbers and the whole staff, K through 12 have really worked hard on RTI (Response to Intervention) the past couple of years. We've had some speakers in and really tried to transform our practices – of what we do when a kids shows that they are struggling – and I think it is coming to fruition a little bit. We are getting better at it.”
Harelson noted that they have added Karen Pedersen as their interventionist part-time, which, he said, is going great. He also observed, “And, as always, Title 1 Reading Specialist Janet Brandt does a great job.
“It is good to see that all that effort is coming together in student achievement,” enthused Harelson. “We can always do better. We just take the kids where they are at and do our best to grow them as much as we can. And it's been a good year for growth.”
There was some discussion among board members about summer school and lack of real rigor in the programs (they are educational...but fun). School Board member Todd Roehm recognized the summer school classes as “cool and fun” and wondered if there was any such thing as real summer school anymore, like in reading and in math.
“Not so much,” Harelson responded. “We send book bags home and our Title I kids get stuff sent home. The follow through isn't always the greatest, but it is not that many numbers, so it is not that hard to have a conversation with the parents saying, 'Keep reading. Here's some books. What do you need?' There are some formal programs, but to get people to do it and follow through with it is the tough part. But, that is why you see them starting low again in the fall...”
“So you knows those 11 kids?” queried Roehm.
“Yes,” Harelson said. “But the good news is, that I should point out, is that of those kids who are behind, I do not believe we have any over a grade level and a half behind, including special education students. I know that Janet Brandt says that when she goes to Title I Conferences, it always comes up, 'So what do you do with that fifth grader who is reading at a first-grade level?' and we don't have that, which is good.”
Roehm observed, “So what this doesn't point out is that the gap from proficient to not [is smaller].”
“Right now it is not as wide as normal,” concurred Hareslson. “Like I say, we have worked hard all the way up to seniors trying to eliminate those gaps as best we can. The good news is nobody is way behind.”
School Board member Rick Palmer asked if Brandt also comes into the classroom, which prompted another success story.
The answer was yes and Harelson spoke about the sixth-grade class.
“They really grew this year and it was quite the story as they have historically been our lowest performing group. That's a big group and they had big gaps, which had widened. Teaching, as we all know, is a lot of art to go with the science. A lot of the art this year was to get those kids to the sixth-grade teachers towards the start of the year – and hit pause on the books to do some things to grow their self esteem and make them believe that they can achieve...they really soared. A little success bred more success and they were also really something to celebrate this year.”
July 3, 2019
Merging cop shops a strong possibility
By Lynda Berg Olds
Centuria Trustee Stanley Swiontek reported to fellow board members at their Monday night meeting that the Personnel Committee had a meeting with Balsam Lake about “police business.” The agenda item was under “new business” and Village President Rod Peterson asked Swiontek, “Whatever became of that?”
“Nothing,” Swiontek began, meaning no formal action had been taken, but clearly considerable conversation had been held about potentially merging Centuria's Police Department with Balsam Lake's.
“Right now we are researching it, laying out what steps we need to take to satisfy both communities and what it is going to take to run this. We had one meeting and that was last month. We have another one coming up here next Monday, so that will be posted.
“The only action that I want to take – or what we need – is, Personnel needs approval from the board to continue on. Or if the board does not want to merge, or even look at it, then we need to settle that right now. So that is the only action that needs to happen now.”
“What does our Chief of Police think?” asked Peterson, looking pointedly at Chief Eric Jorgenson.
“It is a discussion that is up to the board,” he said.
Peterson stated firmly, “The only thing I have to say is there can only be one chief. You can't have two chiefs.”
“What would be the benefit to us?” asked Trustee Chuck Ellsworth.
Swiontek said it would be cost savings, however he did not believe any savings would be evident in the first three years
“But as it progresses there is cost savings,” he said, “with liability – even just your insurance. Another benefit is even if we have no one on here, there is going to be someone on in Balsam. If we have no one on now, we have to wait for the county to come from Clear Lake, Osceola, Frederic – or where ever they are at – to get here.”
While Swiontek conceded that they're not going to have around the clock coverage, the important thing to note was that there would always be an officer within four miles.
“The department would be run by one chief – and a committee,” Swiontek added.
“So this is just in the works right now,” commented Peterson, who then asked, “What was the deal when we were going to do this with St. Croix...”
Swiontek recalled, “St. Croix actually wanted us to pay them to do it – and they wanted us to use their court system and everything else. I see this (merging) as no different than the way it is right now, except it will be one department instead of two.”
He used the example of Center City, Lindstrom, Chisago and Shafer in Minnesota, who just have one police department, Lakes Area Police. Swiontek noted that different towns in Wisconsin also have merged police departments.
“A lot of it is strictly because of the budget constraints. They are trying to save money.”
The other, perhaps even larger issue, is there simply aren't a lot of officers out there.
“Balsam Lake doesn't have an officer right now,” Swiontek said. “They have no police – so it benefits them. Can they understand it is not a 50/50 split. It is whatever the breakdown is on the budget. How much we put in and they put in. We talked. I think right now it is 58.3 percent/41.7 percent and we are the lower end as far as the money that's put in.
“But like I said,” Swiontek continued, “No action has been taken. I just want to have the approval to move forward and research it and really think about doing this. Not just me or us, but our committees working together – to make it work.”
Peterson stated, “I think it would be fine if we can get it all ironed out. I think it would be a good thing.”
Swiontek remarked that he has looked into this for a few years – more than once.
“I believe that it will work,” he said. “I want permission to go ahead and continue.”
Trustee Kevin Kamish said he would make that motion and Swiontek noted that everything would be combined.
“That is, with budget constraints it is the only way to survive. So those are my thoughts and like I said I believe it is a good thing and we should move forward with it. And if we can hash it out where both villages are happy...I would like to look at it hard and see if we can have it, if not done, close by the first of the year.”
Trustee Tom Boettcher seconded the motion and everyone present was in favor, with Trustees Katie Hamm and Steve Sylvester absent.
July 11, 2019
Luck trustees/staff “should be proud of themselves”
By Lynda Berg Olds
MSA's Teresa Anderson was present once again at the July 10 regular meeting of the Luck Village Board. She traded in her chef's hat after serving up brats and beverages outside prior to the meeting – a token of her appreciation to the trustees, business owners and residents of the village for their help, cooperation and patience throughout the course of three major projects.
“We've been through three pretty major projects these last few years and we know that it has been hard work for the village staff and the village board. There have been lots of tough decisions and we want to say, 'Congratulations!' to you for your hard work and thank you to the board and staff. You should be proud of yourselves. It is a pretty big accomplishment to get a Waste Water Treatment Plant upgrade, Main Street Improvement Project and a new dam within the space of a few years.
“So nice job guys! Thanks for working with MSA! We have a poster for you with photos of different construction going on – and we also have, knowing that the Main Street project was going to be a big deal, before and after photos for you.”
A nice photo op ensued and everyone was in high spirits.
Anderson noted MSA did some work with the golf course with their Aerial Solutions Drone Group and wondered if that had ever come up. Course Superintendent Kevin Clunis said that indeed, they have embedded the aerial photography on their web site.
“It turned out very well, very nice,” he said. “We were the Guinea pig.”
The village also benefited from some nice aerial photography.
Moving along, Anderson said she was out at the dam that (Wednesday) afternoon and that job is basically complete.
“We are pretty much just waiting for the grass to grow and then we can take out the silt fence – and the water level is coming up. So we kind of knew that was maybe going to be a thing. The recorded, ordered lake level was lower than what the lake had been at for several years. So you make adjustments as you go.”
As for the Main Street Project, Anderson said there is still a punch list left to be completed and she has been in contact with the contractor every day.
“I'm told they were here today looking at the work they need to do, which will be completed by the end of this week. That is the plan – so then I will anticipate their final pay request next month.”
That concluded Anderson's project update, but Village President Dave Rasmussen wanted to share a letter he received from the county – about them not being willing to share in the dam cost.
“...I'm writing as a follow up to correspondence between Polk County's Corporation Counsel and your village's legal representation. At its meeting on June 18, the Polk County Board considered the Village of Luck's request to enter into a cost-share agreement for repair costs for the culvert and dam on [Big] Butternut Lake.
“The county board rejected the request based on the fact that the county does not have an ownership interest. As the project is complete, Polk County considers this matter closed...”
Rasmussen said he wanted to express that he was very disappointed in the outcome.
“I was more disappointed that I didn't even know this was coming up for a vote at the county board at their June 18 meeting. I never got any notification whatsoever that this was going on. That action came out of closed session; there was a vote to reject that request. I don't know what to say. I will probably touch base with the county administrator and the county board chairman and see if I can get some more specifics in terms of why this was rejected besides the ownership interest. This process has been going on for a year now...and that was the outcome.”
The next item on the agenda was a pay request from the Peterson Companies for the Butternut Outlet Structure.
With a bitter taste in his mouth, Rasmussen clarified, “That dam project.”
Anderson said the request was for $44,952, which left about $8,000 remaining. Rasmussen made the motion, which of course was approved. But throughout the meeting when money issues came up – about this pot of money for this or for that, he would say, “Can those funds be allocated to the dam?” Until it was almost funny, but not quite.
Tourism Director Sherrie Johnson reminded Rasmussen that the Big Butternut Lake Association, last year at their meeting in August, did approve $15,000 towards the dam. Rasmussen was aware – as he has been actively searching for ways to feel less impact after being let down by the county, who evidently did originally believe they had an ownership interest in the dam. Apparently the records aren't much to speak of when one goes a certain distance back in time.
July 18, 2019