Gambling opportunities are expanding in the area thanks to a recent push from the Deer Creek Lions Club.

Deer Creek Lion member Steve Techam spoke with the Wadena City Council Tuesday, Feb. 9, sharing the club’s intent to offer pull tabs at Drastic Measures Brewing in Wadena. The city council unanimously supported the idea, which was a necessary step in gaining approval. The state is the entity responsible for permitting the gambling site permit and will be working with the club and the brewery to move the project forward.

The gambling options are to include both paper pull tabs and electronic versions.

Techam also shared that the Deer Creek Lions recently introduced pull tabs at Bootleggers Bar and Grill in Deer Creek and at Shoreline Bar and Bowl in Battle Lake. Techam spoke proudly about the impressive funds that the group has raised over the years and has put right back into the immediate area including the Wadena-Deer Creek School.

“It’s really fun to give it away,” Techam said with a smile.

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The club gives away a majority of the proceeds and regularly gives to the Empty Stocking program as well as other direct needs in the community.

City councilman Bruce Uselman, who is a Wadena Lion’s member, was pleased to see the group taking on the project in order to give funds back into the communities.

“That’s what Lions do,” Uselman said.

Fire Relief Fund

During the January 2021 Wadena Fire Relief meeting, a motion was made and passed to increase the relief from $3,200 per year of service to $3,500. Following the meeting, the relief officers were notified that the maximum amount they could go up is $200.

Council members approved the increase to $3,400 or 6.3% per year of service to the retirement benefits that are available to all firefighters. The Fire Relief fund is currently funded at 114%. The increased annual pension amount will be taken from the Fire Relief fund and because the Relief Fund is fully funded at this time, there is not an added cost to the general fund. If an unfunded liability does occur, it is amortized over a 10-year period to determine the amount the city will have to contribute to fully fund the Plan.

Fire radio grant

Wadena Fire Department secretary Andrew Browne gained approval to submit an application for a FEMA Assistance to Firefighters Grant (AFG) for the purchase of 20 Motorola Portable Two-Way Radios. If the application is successful, the city would have to pay for 5% of the cost, about $3,500, FEMA would pay the remaining $70,633.90.

“This grant would improve public safety and communication within interoperability for our department and mutual aid departments on the statewide radio system,” according to the request before the council. Since becoming a member of the statewide trunked radio system in 2011, the Wadena Fire Department has not purchased a new portable radio and has relied on used radios from law enforcement agencies or purchasing of used portable radios at a reduced rate. The 20 portables would outfit every member of the department. Browne noted that they would also keep some old radios on hand in the event any are lost or broken. The radios have a life expectancy of 15 years.

In other actions, council members approved the following:

  • Hiring at Maslowski Wellness and Research Center: Caitlin Fisher, part-time desk clerk; Michael Uselman, lifeguard; Gabriel Hinman, lifeguard; Beckman Motschenbacher, part-time maintenance and front desk.
  • Hiring Emily Uselman as the Fire Marshall. Uselman replaces Brent Johnson, who retired from the department.
  • A massage license submitted by Charity Crosby.
  • Entering into addendum No. 1 to the Joint Powers Agreement between the Wadena County Sheriff’s Office and the City of Wadena. This involves the county storing body camera footage for the city.
  • Entering into the Wadena County Information Technology Support Agreement for the Wadena Police Department. This is a switch from a previous agreement with Sourcewell to handle technology needs.
  • Following a closed session, the council unanimously passed a motion to approve the Utilities Union Contract.