- Member for
- 4 years 4 days
The Lake Shore City Council on Monday, Aug. 22, accepted a donation of $4,500 from the Nisswa American Legion to buy body cameras for all officers and a computer system to handle data retention as required by state law. The council also adopted a body camera policy. In other public safety news, police reported 170 incidents from July 25-Aug. 21, including 97 traffic-related and 73 miscellaneous calls.
Readers likely will notice that today's edition of the Echo Journal looks a bit different than past issues. Like our sister newspaper, the Brainerd Dispatch, as well as other Forum Communications Co. newspapers, we've undergone a redesign that launches today for the Echo Journal. Most noticeable is the change in type style for our headlines and stories. Our hope is that readers find the styles pleasing to the eye and easier to read.
The Pequot Lakes City Council on Tuesday, Aug. 2, approved the 2016-17 police-school liaison officer agreement for $36,000. The agreement is effective from September 2016-May 2017 at $4,000 per month. The overall agreement is $6,000 more than last year. The council said next year's contract will likely include another slight increase to eventually reach a level where the officer's pay is covered.
After meeting in closed session Wednesday, Aug. 3, the Nisswa City Council agreed to have appraisals done on the existing Sportland Cafe property and Spirits of Nisswa property, according to draft meeting minutes. The meeting was closed for the council to develop or consider offers for purchase of property, pursuant to Minnesota statute. Property included the current Spirits of Nisswa location, Sportland Cafe property at the corner of County Road 13 and Highway 371, and 4844 County Road 77. The council discussed options and values on the listed properties.
Motorists will once again see the big saw taking down trees along the Highway 371 four-lane expansion project. Crews are further along in the highway design and identified another four acres of trees that need to be cleared. Those trees weren't cut earlier because crews were trying to save as many trees as possible along the project area, which stretches from Nisswa to Jenkins. Again, the trees will be recycled and resulting wood chips will be used on the project.
Pequot Lakes' Trailside Park may get a splash park and state flag display thanks to an anonymous donation of $250,000. The city's park commission recommended the city council accept the donation. The council was to vote on the matter Tuesday, Aug. 2, after this edition of the Echo Journal was printed.
The Nisswa City Council on Wednesday, July 20, adopted an ordinance amendment regarding temporary signs in the city, making an exception for the portable sign Schaefer's Foods uses. The council recognized that Schaefer's Foods has had a large portable sign for years, and while the city couldn't find the documentation allowing it, the council grandfathered in Schaefer's sign for the purpose of this ordinance. The ordinance sets rules on signs, including a ban on the large portable signs Schaefer's uses, mainly to advertise its meat and seafood sales through the year.
Big Axe Brewing Co. received Nisswa City Council approval Wednesday, July 20, to sell growlers of beer on Sundays starting July 31, provided the business pay a license fee. Gull Dam Brewing - the city's other taproom - did not receive that approval on a 4-1 vote. Instead, the council may choose to impose punishment because council members believe that the business illegally gave away growlers on Sundays, which violated city ordinance. A growler is a half gallon of beer in a glass jug that taprooms sell. The state Legislature gave cities the authority to allow or not allow taprooms/breweries to sell growlers of beer on Sundays. Until July 20, Nisswa city ordinances did not allow Sunday growler sales, though the city did allow on-sale Sunday business. After several requests from the city's two taprooms to be able to sell growlers on Sundays, the council on July 20 reversed previous votes and unanimously agreed to amend the ordinance to allow the sale of growlers on Sundays with conditions. Those conditions limit sales to 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. all days of the week, don't allow sales on Thanksgiving and Christmas days or after 8 p.m. Christmas Eve, and require a $100 annual fee. Mayor Harold Kraus asked that council members who reviewed a packet of information they received about Sunday growler sales to agree to amend the ordinance with those conditions. Council members also received a petition with hundreds of signatures supporting Sunday growler sales. Audience members applauded the vote to allow Sunday growler sales. Lengthy discussion then ensued, however, about whether to allow the two taprooms to apply for licenses. The council had no problem with Big Axe owner Chris French applying, saying he went about his request for Sunday growler sales in the right way - by appearing before the council and then bringing back more information when urged to do so. The council did have a problem with Gull Dam Brewing. "I do have an issue with granting that to Gull Dam since they chose to sell on Sunday when the ordinance wasn't in effect and in violation of that ordinance," council member Ross Krautkremer said. "I think some discussion should be had to that, and I don't feel it should be granted." From the audience, Andre Anderson of Gull Dam Brewing said the business sold T-shirts, not growlers on Sundays. "Did you not give away growlers on Sundays?" Krautkremer asked, referring to the business giving away growlers with the purchase of a T-shirt. "Is that illegal or frowned upon?" Anderson asked. "It is illegal," Krautkremer said, suggesting the business should have to wait a year to apply for a license to sell growlers on Sundays. The city liquor ordinance (which doesn't allow Sunday off-sale) calls for a $500 fine for a first violation. Krautkremer didn't believe that was harsh enough. Other council members said this was the first they heard about Gull Dam Brewing violating the liquor ordinance. Kraus explained, saying he had received information that Gull Dam Brewing was giving away free growlers with the sale of a T-shirt, so sent a gentleman in to find out if that was true in early June. "The person went in and bought a T-shirt and got a free growler," Kraus said. Police chief Craig Taylor then visited the business. "I told him I heard a violation occurred and I expected compliance ..." Taylor said. "He assured me Gull Dam would come into compliance. I verified that the next Sunday by sending in an undercover officer." That officer was denied a T-shirt and growler, he said, noting the person Kraus referred to who was sent was done outside the police department and he had no information on that incident. City attorney Steve Qualley said the council could choose to notify the license holder of an intended punishment, and that person could then request a hearing or accept the punishment. Council member Don Jacobson was the lone vote against denying Gull Dam Brewing's request to sell growlers on Sundays. "Even though I strongly feel the ordinance was violated, we have to go through procedure," he said, noting he believed Gull Dam Brewing should have the opportunity to answer the claims. Qualley reiterated otherwise. "You can decide or not decide one way or another to impose punishment on an existing license. You have a new request that is within your discretion to say yes or no. I believe you came up with a valid reason not to issue the license," he said, noting it was his opinion that selling or giving away growlers on Sunday was not allowed until the ordinance amendment was voted on July 20. "You can use that as the basis for not granting the new license." Council member Fred Heidmann said: "One thing I feel strongly about ... we are a city, it troubles me that one of our state representatives who owns this business would be doing things like this. I find that particularly troubling. It doesn't mean he's not a good man, but to have a hand in doing something illegal with liquor in the state of Minnesota, I find troubling." Mark Anderson, a state representative from Lake Shore, and his wife, Barb, own Gull Dam Brewing. The council denied an off-sale Sunday taproom license for Gull Dam Brewing based on the alleged violation, with Jacobson opposed, but didn't issue a penalty.
A local resident who was born here and raised on the west side of Gull Lake is partially responsible for a growing classical musical movement in the area. Scott Lykins founded the Lakes Area Music Festival (LAMF) in the summer of 2009, and the classical music and education event has grown continuously ever since.
Can you think on your feet, meaning can you quickly and effectively get your message across in a clear and concise manner when put on the spot? Are you a good listener? Are you able to give instructions to others successfully? How about leaving voicemails - can you do so succinctly, or, like me, do you tend to babble? That last communication tool - leaving voicemails - and the fact we were starting to do news videos at work prompted me to join the Out of Towners Toastmasters Club in Pequot Lakes about four years ago.