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No formal action was taken - but a lot of smiles were passed - when a well-dressed young lady addressed the Wadena City Council and its city department heads Tuesday evening. Lily Parker was all business as she took her place in front of the guest podium and made her case for a poultry operation inside city limits. "I wonder if you would consider changing a city ordinance about the chicken farms?" Parker asked. The Wadena-Deer Creek fourth grader fearlessly pointed out that many other Minnesota communities currently allow poultry within their city limits.
Commissioners Chuck Horsager and Jim Hofer paved the way last Tuesday for Wadena County's preliminary revenue budget for 2018. "This was an assignment, I've never had one quite like this, it's a huge budget, a lot of moving parts and pieces," Horsager said. Horsager, who joined the board Jan. 3, talked about a joint goal of having a budget the committee "thought it could live with." Hofer presented details of the budget pointing out no staff increases for any department were being contemplated.
Paul Abzug said he "stumbled" into an opportunity when he came through Wadena looking for a site to build independent senior living. What the Deephaven, Minn. businessman realized was that Wadena was really wanting for assisted senior living. Some research confirmed the community had only one facility of that type.
The compass needle is pointing north after last Thursday's joint meeting of the Wadena City Council and the Library Board. Looking for the best direction to take, the two groups weighed the findings of a needs assessment and site analysis by Library Consulting of St. Paul regarding the existing public library on First Street SW. After sifting the options, the consulting firm's recommendation was that Wadena needed to double the size of its 32 public library - which opened in 1985.
The Wadena County Board of Commissioners voted unanimously Tuesday to have its labor attorney oversee grievance allegations by Teamsters Local 320 against Wadena County Auditor/Treasurer Judy Taves. The allegations are that Taves has created a hostile work environment in her department. Based on a recommendation by the labor attorney, Commissioner Chuck Horsager made six motions on behalf of the union in connection with the grievance. • That the board authorize an outside investigation to be conducted per personnel policy and allocate funds for the same.
The Wadena City Council voted for a five percent increase in their share of the forthcoming tax city-school-county tax bill during a special meeting Aug. 31. "It's a small portion of what they had to do to balance this budget," Wadena City Administrator Brad Swenson said. Swenson pointed out the increase in the city's operating levy for the general fund will amount to an increase of $15,465 to the $309,300 requested. "Just from the top of my head I would think my city taxes will go up about $30," Wadena Mayor George Deiss said.
Wadena Planning and Zoning Director Deana Malone found herself talking face-to-face with DNR Commissioner Tom Landwehr last Wednesday. The subject was land. The DNR manages around six million acres for the state according to Landwehr. "We've got swamplands, we have vast acres of peat land, land nobody else wants," Landwehr told the Wadena Board of Commissioners. Yet the state also owns forest and mining lands, which generate timber and taconite. It adds up to revenue for the School Trust Fund.
Wadena-Deer Creek and Verndale were both reporting enrollment increases after the first week of the 2017-2018 school year. "Our enrollment at WDC is up 50 students from last year," WDC Superintendent Lee Westrum reported. Westrum added most the the increase reflected the fact that families are moving into the WDC school district. "We recently added a kindergarten teacher and a half- time sixth grade teacher, and we are looking for another special education teacher as well due to the increased enrollment," Westrum said.
Janet Crouch believes passing information from one generation to the next is a great idea. Her medium is family pictures, and she is preparing to teach a community education class Sept. 26 in Wadena for folks who want to clear up a mystery many pictures illicit - who is that?
When Tom Landwehr arrived in Wadena last Wednesday to speak to county commissioners after stops in northwestern cities like Crookston and Thief River Falls, some of his thoughts were deep in southeastern Minnesota. A deer farm operator in Fillmore County had neglected to fix a hole in a fence despite repeated warnings. Whitetails were wandering in and out of their enclosure and mixing with their wild cousins.