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Trees, paths, buses and weeds concern Rushford Citizens

Fri, Jun 13th, 2003
Posted in Features

The June 9 meeting of the Rushford City Council opened to a full house, as concerned citizens came forward to address the council. Richard and Holly Holle spoke first about the slated cutting of cedars on the bluff above their home. Holle shared with the council photos of deer, squirrels, and other wildlife and songbirds taken in his backyard. "We have to be judicious in how we handle the habitat," he told the council. The Holles also expressed concern that burning the trees would cause air pollution. Mr. Holle asked that the felled trees be chipped and that, if chipping proved too expensive, the trees be left in place.Mayor T.S. Roberton stated, "This particular project is going forward." He continued by showing pictures of the same area from 1979 showing a treeless bluff. Noting the Tree Board had recommended the procedure, which would entail cutting 70% of the cedars in the area of the Rushford sign, Roberton suggested that objections should be taken to the Tree Board. Path to Swimming Pool Next to speak to the council was Jim Wolter. Wolter, a resident of Tyrol Hills, was concerned about the children of Tyrol Hills crossing Highway 43 to get to the swimming pool. With the construction of the new North End Bridge, the former path under the bridge has been removed. Although the new bridge has sidewalks on both sides, including a sidewalk to Creekside Park, there is no safe way for children to cross the busy highway as they go to the pool. Adding to Wolters concern was the rumor that the speed limit was going to be increased in that area from 30 mph to 40 mph. Apparently MnDOT couldnt replace the old steps under the bridge because of the Americans with Disabilities Act, but the council agreed to check into the situation and see if the city could create a path to deal with the problem.Buses and WeedsFollowing Wolter, Duane and Sonja Cook appeared to ask the council for an update on the bus parked in a yard on Stevens Avenue. Zoning does allow for proper location of mobile homes; however, the recycled school bus doesnt fit into the description of a mobile home. While there is no zoning ordinance against parking a vehicle on private property or living in it, there is an ordinance stating that only one dwelling is allowed per private property in residential areas. The council decided to pursue this zoning aspect and ask for the removal of either the bus or the house.Sonja Cook reported to the council she had received a "congenial letter" informing her the "weeds" she had complained about were actually "prairie grass." The council later discussed the situation and decided to have the yard evaluated by an expert and then to follow the established weed ordinance for the entire city.Ace Cable FranchiseDave Freeman of Ace communications visited with the council concerning the Ace Cable TV franchise. Freeman told the council that Ace would be providing cable hookups to city offices, as well as a local access channel similar to the one currently provided by Mediacom. When asked how soon the cable service would be available, Freeman answered once the franchise agreement is completed Ace would start hooking up homes. Freeman informed the council that at this time the cable would not pay dividends commenting, "We need to get it profitable first." A public hearing on the cable franchise was set for June 23.GeneratorThe proposed standby electrical generator generated discussion as councilman Larry Johnson made his Utility Commission report. Johnson mentioned the Commission was looking at other possible sites for the generator and then added, " The more I think about it, the more I think we are making a mountain out of a molehill." Johnson pointed out that the generator will only run a half hour a month once it is on line unless there is an emergency outage. He went on to offer the opinion that "on any given day there is much more pollution driving down the street than would be coming from the generator." He added, "If we are concerned about the diesel fumes, why isnt there the same concern about diesel trucks and tractors?"The Electric Utilities Commission will have a special meeting next Thursday, June 19, at City Hall to further discuss the generator.Other BusinessIn other business the council: heard from the Rushford Days Committee of the hiring of Valley Security personnel for the Friday night street dance, the consideration of possibly moving the tractor pull to the industrial park, and the request to redo the sand volleyball pits for the celebration; agreed to the retainer agreement with Evavold and Rutgers Law for city attorney; heard of the reduction of hours to be worked by part-time employees Rolf Hatling and Earl Colbenson ; learned an electrical transformer would need to be removed and repaired. This will cause a power outage later in the month for several hours. (Public will be notified.)

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