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Movie crew on track to do filming in Wadena

Wadena-Deer Creek 2014 graduate Aaron Beck received the green light from the Wadena City Council to carry out a filming project in Wadena in late March of 2018. The Minnesota State University-Moorhead student is majoring in film production and wants to use a portion of downtown Wadena for a movie he is making. Brian Hansel/Pioneer Journal

Aaron Beck, a Minnesota State University-Moorhead student and member of Wadena-Deer Creek's Class of 2014, received a vote of approval on Dec. 12 for a filming project he wants to carry out in downtown Wadena next March.

Beck is making a movie called "Gun-Chuck Danger" for his senior thesis in Film Production.

"During last summer, I knew that I was going to try to make 'Gun-Chuck Danger,' a parody of 80s action films, but didn't know where I'd be able to shoot it," Beck said. "I was walking through downtown Wadena and saw exactly what I was looking for. Since then, I knew I'd want to film one of the most challenging parts of it in Wadena."

Beck's request to film in Wadena met no opposition from the Wadena City Council. City Administrator Brad Swenson suggested to Beck that contacting the Wadena County Engineer Ryan Odden would also be a good idea.

The filming will involve replicas of guns and the sound of gunfire will be heard.

Filming on the set will take place between the hours of 5 p.m. and 5 a.m. Beck expects to use 15-20 crew and cast members.

Beck told the council he intends to notify people living and working in the area of the film shooting what is happening so they will not be alarmed. The project will be supported by filmmakers production insurance to cover any damages to equipment, personal injury or weather damage.

"I would also recommend and would hope that a member of the police department would come to our set at the beginning of shooting to verify that everything is safe," Beck said.

Filming is tentatively set for March 23 and March 24.

Odden, Stearns suggest COC, bonding bill help

With an eye on the upcoming Highway 10 project in Wadena, County Highway Engineer Ryan Odden and County Commissioner Bill Stearns appeared at the Dec. 12 meeting touting the potential benefits of participating in the Corridors of Commerce program.

The county wants to see a 6-mile stretch of Highway 10, running from a point northwest of Wadena in Otter Tail County to a point 1.3 miles southeast of the Wadena city limits, turned into a four-lane highway. Odden needs support in nominating the Highway 10 project for consideration in the Corridors of Commerce program, which has $200 million earmarked to correct outstate highway bottlenecks such as the one which presently exists in Wadena. The city council agreed to be part of the county's grant application for COC funds when Odden presents it.

The Minnesota Department of Transportation (MnDOT) will begin the project in 2018 with the highway rebuilding work set for 2019. Although MNDOT is also responsible for the runoff from stormwater which the larger highway will create and will finance sidewalks and lights on the six-block stretch, the underground infrastructure work over the six-block stretch will be led by the engineering firm of Bolton and Menk and the city of Wadena.

Stearns suggested the city might wish to apply for state funds in the 2018 bonding bill.

"There could be some costly infrastructure that is unique to this project and maybe they could get some help from the state bonding bill,"

Among the other agenda items receiving board approval were:

• The 2018 tax levy, proposed in September, of $1,066,227.52.

• An operating and capital expenditures budget for the General Fund of $3,680,847.

• An operating and capital expenditures budget for the Enterprise Fund of $1,639,627 (Sewer), $412,628 (Golf), $7,355,947 (Electric), $1,071,878 (Water), $2,013,564 (Liquor), $944,527 (Wellness Center).

• Re-zoning designation of property to be sold to the Freshwater Education near the Industrial Park as Planned Industrial District (PID).

• A Jan. 9 hearing date for the Bretz Addition in SW Wadena. Terry Roach has acquired property in the addition with the intention of building a housing unit. Roach purchased land in an undeveloped of the addition.

• Electric, water and sewer account write offs for 2017 to the tune of $15,201.25 which city administrators will continue trying to collect.

• Accounts receivable and Wellness Center write-offs for $630.

• Wage adjustments for part-time city employees due to a 2018 raise of 15 cents in the state minimum wage.

• Reappointments of Sandy Black and Sara Ross to the Park Advisory Board for three-year terms.

• Reappointment of Terry Lynk to a six-year term on the Wadena Development Authority Board.

• Louie Roggenkamp for the position of utility maintenance/water operator at Step 2.

• Three part-time employees, Olivia Wermers, Nichole Bowman and Kylie Uselman, for the Wellness Center.

• Increase to Step 4 for police officer Aaron White.

• Three-year contract with Electric Union.

• Resignation of police officer Lance Useman.

• Change orders for new Electric Building.

• Massage license application for Kylee Wright.

• Hiring contractor to televise sewer, water lines on Highway 10 project.

• Loan $145,000 to $155,000 from the Minnesota Investment Fund to Homecrest Outdoor Living for the purchase of new equipment. The loan is contingent on a review by the Wadena Development Authority.