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Wadena City Council: Lunde sworn in for first term

Council members Mark Lunde (middle) and Bruce Uselman are sworn in by Wadena City Administrator Janette Bower, Tuesday, Jan. 8 in the council chambers. Michael Johnson/Pioneer Journal1 / 2
Mayor George Deiss is sworn in for another term as Wadena mayor, Tuesday, Jan. 8 in the city hall. Michael Johnson/Pioneer Journal2 / 2

The Wadena City Council welcomed in Mark Lunde as the newest council member during the last regular council meeting Tuesday, Jan. 8.

Lunde is the owner of Lunde Auto Sales in Wadena, which has been operating since 2016.

He said he chose to file for Deb Wiese's open seat because of his desire to help grow Wadena as a pro-business community. He considers himself the only businessman on the council and said he's financially conservative.

"It's an exciting time to be in Wadena, with all the different business projects," Lunde said.

He said small towns like Wadena need an advocate for businesses and he feels he can be that person.

"Wadena has a nice infrastructure," Lunde said. "Now it's time to start looking at how we sustain rural business. There has never been a better time."

Lunde lived in the Wadena area from 1987 to 1993 and moved back in 2012. He lives here with his wife Nicole and has two children in the school district. His brother, Matt, also lives here and serves as the assistant general manager of Timber Roots.

Lunde has served on numerous boards over the years including Habitat for Humanity, committee chair of Mahube-Otwa, Tri-County Hospital Foundation, and he is currently the Wadena hockey director.

Also sworn in during the meeting were council member Bruce Uselman and Mayor George Deiss, who both won their seats without contest.

In other council actions the board approved:

• The Wadena Pioneer Journal as the official 2019 newspaper for city of Wadena publications.

• Setting the date and time for 2019 regular city council meetings at 5 p.m. on the second Tuesday of every month in the City Council Chambers.

• Appointing council member Bruce Uselman as acting mayor.

• Naming Mid-Central Federal Savings Bank, Wadena State Bank, Central Minnesota Credit Union and Charles Schwab as depositories of city funds.

• Designating Pederson and Pederson PA as the city's 2019 criminal and civil legal counsel.

• Mayor's reappointment of Maria Marthaler to the library board for a three-year term.

• Mayor's reappointment of Thomas Angier, Steve Roth and Robert Grendahl to the Planning Commission for three-year terms.

• A massage license application for Brenda Finch doing business as Ahhh Massage.

• The city of Wadena Utilities Department Economic Development Rate Discount program.

• The purchase of 25 gas-powered golf carts from Versatile Vehicles. $50,000 was approved for this purchase in October 2018. The Friends of the Wadena Golf Course agreed to purchase 12 of the carts. Of three bids received, Versatile Vehicles of Brainerd was the low bid. The bid includes trading in 17 electric golf cars for $1,000 each. The total cost less trades was $44,035. The golf course currently has electric Yamaha golf carts.

In other actions:

• The council took no action on accepting a parcel - Lot 5, Block 3 Oakridge addition, offered as a donation. The parcel was deemed unmarketable by owners as it lies next to a city-owned drainage lot. The city utilities did not have a use for this parcel and did not have plans to accept the donation.

• The council accepted police officer Norm Pettis' resignation, effective April 1. Pettis has been with the Wadena Police Department for 10 years and has been in law enforcement for 45 years. The board approved his resignation with regret. With the acceptance, the police department will seek a replacement.

In his resignation letter, Pettis wrote that it was a tough decision, but he chose April 1 to retire as it is his son's birthday. He will have more time to spend with family when he closes out his time as an officer.

"This has been a wonderful venture with various officer's that I have been with in the last 10 plus years as a patrolman with the Wadena Police Department and the city of Wadena," Pettis wrote.

• A temporary liquor license was approved for a Friends of the Library event March 9. The fundraiser will be at the old bank building, the new planned library building. It will include alcohol tasting.

The council also heard from department heads.

Dan Kovar, public works superintendent, thanked his crew publicly for their efforts in keeping the streets cleared during recent snowfall. He addressed an issue at the Wadena Airport involving the access gate failing after snow became packed in a mechanism. Kovar said the gate was susceptible to this issue and a simple fix seemed to be a device that heats the spot to melt the snow away. Kovar ordered that to be installed in the near future.

He also noted that a proposal will be sent to seek funds to replace the trestle bridge at Blacks Grove Park. Kovar said if accepted, it's a 50 percent matching grant.

Electric and Water Superintendent David Evans made note of a power outage that occured Jan. 8 in downtown Wadena. The outage was caused by power lines being blown by high winds. The lines had a rubber covering on them near the Super One building, which caused them to catch extra wind. The high winds caused the lines to swing heavily. Evans said the coverings can go back on, but have to be removed in high wind events.