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Jenkins City Council considers using charitable gambling for scholarships

Median lawn mowing poses surprising challenge.

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Jenkins city hall. Echo Journal file photo
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JENKINS — The Jenkins City Council discussed the idea of using its charitable gambling funds for a scholarship for Jenkins residents at its Monday, June 13, regular meeting.

Council member Jerimey Flategraff brought up the possibility of a Jenkins scholarship at an earlier meeting. City Clerk Krista Okerman researched the suggestion and found that it would be an allowable use for the funds. Charitable gambling funds that a city such as Jenkins collects are strictly limited in how they may be used.

Council member Charles Hoffman was in favor of the idea, but said that managing a scholarship requires a dedicated committee, paperwork and proper designations. He suggested that the city could see if an organization that currently awards scholarships could be in charge of awarding the city scholarship.

Flategraff said he would be in favor of that so long as the money could go specifically to a graduate from within Jenkins. Mayor Jon Lubke said he would like it if the scholarship could be named to recognize that it is coming from the city of Jenkins as well.

Council members agreed to keep their eyes open for a group that might be able to help manage a scholarship for the city.

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Lawn mowing

Council members found themselves in a difficult position regarding mowing a strip of median on Highway 371. The city worked with the Department of Natural Resources to receive permission to mow the median and keep it looking nice within the city, but has not yet mowed it this year.

The city's planning commission recommended the city resume mowing the median, and the council agreed it was a priority to mow the median and make the city look well groomed.

Hoffman showed the council a 16-pound piece of what appeared to be a lead down rigger weight, which anglers use to troll at great depths in deep lakes, that was found in the median. He said the city's expensive finishing lawnmower hit the lead object while mowing the median last year.

Hoffman didn't think the city should use a traditional style lawnmower to mow the median as unexpected obstructions could pose a hazard to the operator's health and the equipment.

Upon seeing the heavy weight, the council agreed and discussed alternatives, including buying a different style of mower attachment for the median, renting a brush hog or other mower, or hiring a subcontractor to mow the median a few times a summer.

The council determined they might be responsible for damages sustained by any equipment they rent, if they encounter a similar obstruction, so doing so might not be a sustainable solution. Lubke said the council could break even on hiring out the job as far as hourly costs; however, a contractor might not want to risk their equipment any more than the city does.

The council agreed to rent a brush hog to clean up the median ahead of July 4 while seeking prices from area contractors to mow.

In other business Monday, the council:

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  • Agreed to a proposal for services from Widseth, an engineering firm, for engineering services ahead of roadwork on the McCoy Acres development for $37,000.
  • Agreed to rent portable toilets for June 25-26 at the city baseball fields.

Travis Grimler is a staff writer for the Pineandlakes Echo Journal weekly newspaper in Pequot Lakes/Pine River. He may be reached at 218-855-5853 or travis.grimler@pineandlakes.com.

Travis Grimler began work at the Echo Journal Jan. 2 of 2013 while the publication was still split in two as the Pine River Journal and Lake Country Echo. He is a full time reporter/photographer/videographer for the paper and operates primarily out of the northern stretch of the coverage area (Hackensack to Jenkins).
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