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Council approves NLYHA Hairball concert

The Breezy Point City Council approved a request Monday night, July 1, for the Northern Lakes Youth Hockey Association (NLYHA) to hold a concert fundraiser.

NLYHA will host Hairball, a rock tribute band, at the Breezy Point Hockey Arena over Labor Day weekend, on Saturday, Aug. 31. NLYHA hosted the same band last Labor Day.

Erik Lee, representing the NLYHA board, asked the council for extended hours this year and to add hard liquor to the event liquor license, which had been for only beer.

Council members agreed that they heard little or no issues from last year’s event, but some council members remained hesitant to extend hours or add hard liquor to the event liquor license. The council ultimately approved the same contract as last year, with similar hours and a liquor license for beer only.

Police chief Kevin Merschman said he plans to have officers scheduled all night for the concert and that he’d requested Toward Zero Death (impaired driving) enforcement for that night as well.

In response to council members’ concerns over serving alcohol at an event supporting youth hockey, Lee told the council that while the event supports youth hockey, it isn’t a youth hockey event. He said that 85-90 percent of the ticket holders were adults.

Lee told the council that the focus of the concert is the band, not the alcohol.

Council member Tom Lillehei remained resolute on his stance against combining alcohol with the event, as he did during decision making for the 2012 concert.

“As last year, I have a fundamental problem with mixing an event like this with youth hockey,” Lillehei said. “Even though I was against it, it did go off fine. (But) let’s get some track record on this before we loosen the ranks.”

Lillehei also said he had heard that people were bringing in their own liquor, and that the event was essentially selling set-ups.

Lee responded, “If we found anyone who brought in their own alcohol, they would be escorted out.”

Nonetheless, the council decided to include a stipulation that signs are posted at the concert stating that outside liquor was not allowed. Four council members voted in favor of requiring the signage; council member Scott Willer did not vote on that measure.

Council members Diane Williams and Willer voted in favor of adding hard liquor to the license, but since the other three council members voted against it, hard liquor was not approved.

Lee then asked for a compromise — that hard liquor be sold only in the VIP area, but that proposition failed with the same 3-2 vote.

The council also approved the same operating times as last year’s concert (5-10 p.m.) but had a consensus to allow music to begin at 5:30 p.m., rather than last year’s listed start time of 6:30 p.m.

Hairball describes itself as “a bombastic celebration of arena rock.” NLYHA hopes to raise $17,000 in funding from the event.

Public safety

The Breezy Point Police Department reported 228 incidents in June, including 72 traffic related, two traffic arrests, nine medical calls, eight animal-related, 41 assisting another agency and 87 miscellaneous.

The council presented a life-saving award to paramedic officer Josef Garcia on July 1. Garcia was off duty May 1 when he received a page advising him of an EMS call in Pelican Township. Garcia responded to a report of an elderly woman choking and losing consciousness, and when he arrived two paramedics had unsuccessfully attempted to suction out the obstruction. CPR was administered as the patient was in respiratory arrest. Garcia used a laryngoscope and Magill forceps to visualize and remove a large obstruction from the patient’s trachea, and once it was removed her vitals returned to normal.

In other business July 1, the council:

• Held a public hearing on 3.2 malt liquor license fees. No members of the public spoke, and the council approved an increase in license fees, which haven’t been changed in more than 20 years.

• Updated road improvements standards based off the council’s three roads workshop meetings. The council also set its next roads workshop meeting for 4:30 p.m. Aug. 20.

• Approved an ordinance amendment to establish definitions for the use of solar energy systems.

• Approved zoning map changes to comply with provisions established under the goals of the city’s comprehensive plan.

• Revised language in the personnel policy regarding holiday pay. On designated holidays, employees will be paid time off for hours normally worked, and employees will be paid time and a half for actual hours worked.