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Lanesboro Museum asks city for help

Fri, Jul 11th, 2008
Posted in Government

LANESBORO - Speaking for the Lanesboro Historical Museum in Lanesboro, Jim Ostrem approached the city council with a request at the regular meeting July 7.

First, Ostrem invited the council to come to the museum for a free guided tour so they could see what the museum has to offer. He then explained that the museum has been using the Work Experience program, formerly known as the Green Thumb program, for hiring people over the age of 55. The people normally work at the museum for six months, during which they are trained, and then move on to another job where they can receive more training, or else go right out into the workforce.

Ostrem requested money allocated from the city to hire a part-time director for the museum. This person could train the Work Experience person as well. According to Ostrem, there is currently one Work Experience worker at the museum who will be leaving at the end of the year, and there are no more applicants.

"We believe the museum is a great asset to Lanesboro," said Ostrem. "It's the best museum in the county, with the best displays and talent around."

He added that the board feels very strongly that there should be a director there all the time. They would still get a Work Experience worker if the opportunity came up, but this way there would always be someone there with expertise who could train them. They need someone hired by the end of the year. They had estimated the cost to be around $8,000 for six months.

As far as funding, Ostrem said they would like an allocation of money from the city to the board, and then they would hire someone through a contract.

Ostrem asked if the city could make a one-time gift of the money, any amount of the money that they would be willing to donate. He said they have applied for four different grants.

City Administrator Bobbie Vickerman noted there is a CD that could be used for Capital Improvements in the building, as there is some electrical work that needs to be done. She will also look into some grants and the city will consider the request when making up their budget for next year.

Waste Management

Margo Underwood from Waste Management was at the meeting to discuss how things are going with the city and if there are any concerns with the garbage removal. District Manager Geno Wente was also there to answer any questions.

Mayor Steve Rahn brought up the issue with garbage trucks being so heavy that they tear up the alleys. Wente said there is really nothing that can be done about that right now, but there will be some new smaller trucks coming out on the market next year that could give them some more options.

Vickerman also mentioned the fact that several people have had problems when calling the 800 number for help, being put on hold or being hung up on or getting a busy signal. Wente said there are some problems with the phone lines right now that they are working on and Vickerman can always call him directly if there are any problems.

Council member Joe O'Connor thanked them for the recycling bins that have been put around town. Underwood explained that Lanesboro is piloting the project to have more recycling, and that it is going well so far, and that other towns will soon be having the same recycling bins. She also mentioned they are working on a project with large recycling carts, which has been very successful in other communities. People do not have to sort their recycling as everything can go into the cart.

The city approved a three percent increase in costs for garbage bags recycling rates.

Tree Ordinance

Dale and Kenneth Krage wrote a letter to the council requesting an amendment to the city's tree ordinance. On June 18 a tree in their boulevard was taken down by city employees, and they were told that the tree was rotten. They enclosed photos of the tree showing that it was healthy. They also talked to Andy Drake and Mayor Rahn about the issue. They were concerned that they were not told that the tree was going to come down.

The Krages did not believe that the tree was rotten or in the way of any power lines. Vickerman sent them a copy of the current tree ordinance. They requested the city add something about notifying adjacent landowners of tree removal. They also wanted to know when the stump would be removed and if the city would help pay the cost of a replacement tree for the boulevard.

Manion said the city doesn't want to ignore what landowners have to say, but the city does have the final say since it's in the boulevard. Vickerman said the landowners have a right to hire a contractor to get a second opinion, but the city does that as well and will only take down trees that need to be taken down. What it comes down to is communication, Rahn suggested they turn the matter over to the Park Board.

Farmer's Market

Vickerman noted that there have been some concerns lately about having more and more Amish families participating in the Farmer's Market on Wednesday nights and Saturday mornings. She explained that the policy allows them to be in the park at that time, although they are not actually registered as a part of the Market. If they were to be a part of the market, they would have to be insured, and the Amish people do not believe in insurance. People at the Farmer's Market agree that they are an asset to the market and a tourism draw, but some people felt there was only supposed to be three families there. Vickerman said there is nothing in the policy that states that.

Rahn asked if they were going to put a limit on the number of Amish families there. A member of the audience noted that the Cresco Farmer's Market is about 80 percent Amish. Vickerman said she would contact other cities to see what their policies are.

Other Business

• Dillon Dombrovski of Yaggy Colby presented the council with the bids for the Pleasant Street Project. The council approved a contract for the low bid of $102,079 from Winona Mechanical.

• Vickerman explained that there are currently two people working on the hydro near the dam, and they have been having some troubles. She said they are hoping to have it worked out this week, and need it to be done by July 23. Once the hydro is running again, water will fill up the bass pond again. There is also some damage to both sides of the dam and the wastewater treatment plant that will be covered by FEMA.

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