The Blood Pressure Clinic scheduled for the Cloverton Fire Hall this Saturday, Sept. 24 has been canceled.
Chairman Glen Williamson called the meeting to order at 7:30 p.m. with the Pledge of Allegiance. Also present: Supervisors Mike McCullen and Alden Shute, Treasurer Patrice Winfield, Clerk Paul Raymond, Road Manager Alden, Doug Witta, Stefanie Williamson, Kim Felton, Angie Anderson, Jim Bredesen, and Sara Hejney.
Clerk’s Report of August Board Meeting. Paul read the record of the August meeting; Mike moved to approve; Alden seconded; passed.
ROAD REPORT: Tamarack Pine Drive: Alden gave a report on Tamarack Pine Drive project. Alden said that project is still on-going. He has worked on shaping the road to make it full width. He cannot yet complete it with red-rock gravel because the gravel supplier didn’t get back until after Labor Day.
Grader issues: The batteries were low and Alden had to recharge them and clean the connections. Alden said he can’t change a belt on the grader, but has a friend from Hopkins who can, and he asked if he could authorize the man to do the work? Do we have to consider him a contractor and demand insurance? Alden said John Deere would charge far more; the man would get the same pay as Alden, $30/hour. Mike said hire him as an advisor and there should be no problems.
Eagle Head Culvert: Beavers have been plugging the first culvert again and Alden had to have the culvert cleaned out by Hopkins. He shot two beavers.He wants to have a grate that can prevent it; the existing ones aren’t doing the job. Doug said that Dave Fornengo, Jr. made some heavy-duty grates out of rebar for New Dosey that seem to prevent beaver’s plugging the culverts.
Kenny Peterson Road: Terry Koscielniak bought the 80 acres from Joe Vink on the north Kenny Peterson Road far beyond the .26 mile of road we maintain and claim for gas tax. Alden asked what exactly Terry had meant when said he still wants to build up the road and asked if the town could work with him. Does he want us to put a few loads of pit run down and he will do the same? He had said that he wanted to investigate the abandonment of the road for no maintenance. Mike said the people retain access rights to all former township roads and rights-of-way that have not been vacated. Alden gave him the number for our attorneys, Couri and Roupe, but he will have to pay them.
NEW BUSINESS: District 7 Director Mike Miller Fired: September 2: From MAT: “Township officers in MAT District 7: Mike Miller has resigned from his position as Minnesota Association of Townships Director for District 7, effective August 11, 2022. In addition, the MAT Board of Directors censured Director Miller.” Details are in Township Insider.
Statement from Mike Miller: “Thank you for your support over the years. I truly believe in township government and support every township officer that gives back to the communities they live in. The Pine County spring and Fall meetings always were informational, educational and entertaining, especially your county attorney. I really thought MAT should be open and transparent when conducting meetings, the same or similar as the townships we are representing. MAT will always side with itself before a township or townships. In the five Years I was a District Director, the board was divided between directors that believe townships come first and MAT comes second. Jane, Tammy, Mel, Vance and Jim and myself fall into the category of Townships first. I will continue to help townships moving forward just not with MAT.” There was an update today from MAT: “District 7 Director update: “Township officers in MAT District 7: It has come to the attention of MAT, that a County Unit in District 7 intends to hold an unauthorized election on October 13th, 2022, for the position of MAT District 7 Director. Township officers in District 7 are advised that this election is invalid and not an action sanctioned by the Minnesota Association of Townships. MAT’s Board of Directors will decide the means and time for the replacement of the District 7 Director.”
MAT Annual Conference: Will be October 14 and 15 at River’s Edge Convention Center in St. Cloud. Glen said he cannot attend, but Paul said he has registered to attend. Two days instead of three as in previous years. Pine County Township Officers’ Association Meeting: Will be at the Hinckley Community Center on, Sat. Oct. 22, 9 a.m.
Appointed Election Judges: For the General Election November 8. The Board appointed Patrice Winfield, Stefanie Williamson, and Tracy Riley as judges pending their getting the training. Patrice, Paul and Tracy attended in-person judge training and Stefanie can take the online training. Discussion on pay for the head judge? Is Paul serving as clerk or as a judge? He said to just pay him the regular judge pay.
Wilma Fallfest: The annual Fallfest celebration will be, Saturday, October 22. We will have karaoke this year. Stefanie said that Angie and Tracy Riley have joined the committee.
Free Blood Pressure Check Clinic: Cloverton Town Hall, Saturday,September 24, 10 am to 1 pm.
Annual Legal Seminar: Couri & Ruppe have scheduled another free legal seminar for Saturday, September 10, 2022 in Aitken, 9 am to 4 pm., or Sept. 17 in Rutledge. Alden said he would like to attend the Rutledge session. Paul will reserve for Alden at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Public concerns about No Parking Signs: The Board of Supervisors had Paul ask the county to not put up any No Parking signs on Tamarack River Road, and this was done. Mike talked with Mark LeBrun after our last meeting and said Mark was upset that someone stole the No Parking signs they had put up, but this was before Mark got our letter. We did not hear back yet from Mark LeBrun, but he has been in Europe recently, so may respond soon.
Mike had said he had several anonymous complaints about people parking on the road and his only concern is for public safety because as Chief he would have to respond to any serious accidents caused by cars coming over the hill and slamming into parked cars and he is responsible for the safety of our citizens. Glen had said that we cannot make policy based on anonymous complaints and that people need to come to meetings like tonight and express concerns on the record. Sara Hejny said she came to the meeting to go on the record that she has had many close calls with trucks and tractors on the east side of the road that she has almost hit, including after Country Store and More opened. The previous owners had almost weekly garage sales, and Sara said she complained to Gary Vink about the danger of cars parking on the east side. Doug said he has almost never seen cars blocking the road or posing a danger for motorists.
Kim said she feels that the board owes Mike an apology for the anger directed at him at the last board meeting, after how hard Mike has worked for our township and how he works to protect our citizens and respond to all medical calls without discrimination. Glen said he quit the fire department because he could not respect Mike as chief after Mike had gotten the FEMA grant for tree removal 11 years ago while Mike was also a Supervisor. Mike said he only approached FEMA when we could not get anyone to remove all the blow-down trees on our township roads. Glen said the township had to hire our township attorneys to deal with this conflict of interest and Mike said he also had to hire an attorney to defend himself and paid $650. Paul spoke in Mike’s defense and said anyone who joins the department must have complete respect for the chief and the chain of command for safety in our responses. The issue has come up with others who want to join the department but who have disparaged the Chief. Paul said we have many very professional and well-trained firefighters and responders who do have great respect for Mike and his training and skill and knowledge and leadership capabilities and Paul shares their respect.
Stefanie said she believes Paul subjectively edits the meeting reports and leaves some comments out and slants the reports. Paul said he has been clerk since 1994 and every one of our meeting records are approved by the whole board and he has never before been accused of inaccurate or slanted reports. He said he tries to be as accurate and objective as possible in recording meetings. He is always open to amending the record at the request of the board. Stefanie said Paul did not print the alleged racial slur that Angie accused Mike of, and didn’t record every comment the many people at the last meeting made. She said Tracy Riley has been recording our meetings. We had a recorder but Glen has misplaced it. Mike moved that we purchase a new digital recorder and record all our meetings. Glen seconded; passed. Paul said he could type exact transcripts of our meetings, but the records would be dozens of pages long.
There were several comments stating that the stop-sign issue was settled at the last meeting and that we need to put this behind us and try to get along with each other as a township. Patrice and Kim both said we need to do this. Paul said he has been attending town board meetings for 31 years and has served with many different board members since 1996 and we have had differences and disagreements and sometimes heated arguments, but we have always healed as a town and we need to do this now, without people trying to divide us and cause anger and resentments.
Treasurer’s Report: (Attached) Patrice said total bills for June are $5,670.76, and she needs to transfer $5,600.00. Mike moved to approve her report and to transfer the funds. Alden seconded; passed. Alden moved to adjourn the meeting; Mike seconded; passed. Meeting adjourned at 9:00.
Chairman Glen Williamson called the meeting to order at 7:30 p.m. with the Pledge of Allegiance. Also present: Supervisors Mike McCullen and Alden Shute, Treasurer Patrice Winfield, Clerk Paul Raymond, Road Manager Alden, Stan and Tracy Riley, Doug Witta, Rod Sodergaard, Stefanie Williamson, Angie Anderson, Jale Kirchberg, Jim Bredesen, and Scott Trentholm.
Clerk’s Report of July 6 Board Meeting. Paul read the record of the July 6 meeting; Mike moved to approve; Alden seconded; passed. Glen wanted it noted that Stefanie is only able to get township dental insurance because she is on the board as Deputy Clerk. She hasn’t applied for it yet.
ROAD REPORT: Alden said many roads had 2”-minus pit run gravel spread: N. Duncan (3 loads); Little Tamarack Lake (2 loads); Vink Road (2 loads); Mayfield (4 loads); Eaglehead (1 load). All gravel leveled and bladed.
Tamarack Pine Drive: Alden gave a report on Tamarack Pine Drive project. A constituent contacted Glen with concerns about Tamarack Pine Drive being graded so it is several feet narrower than it was. Alden said that project is still on-going, and he cannot yet complete it with red-rock gravel because the gravel supplier won’t be back until after Labor Day.
Jerry’s Roadside Mowing: He completed the job and billed us for $1,175.00. Alden said Danforth had already mowed both sides of Crooked Lake Road, so he had Jerry go over it again but we will not charge Danforth. A citizen on Lost River Road said the mower took out all the berry bushes just as they are ripening. She asked if we can wait next year until the berries are done. Alden said the end of August may be too late, but we will decide next year. Mike said to tell her there are many, many patches of berries on the Markville road that are not mowed or sprayed.
Wind Damage August 2nd: Alden and Mike inspected tree damage from last night’s big storm. Trees down on Tamarack Pine Drive, Little Tamarack Lake Road, Lost River Road, Fust Lane, S. Duncan Road, Langstrom Road, Schmedeke Lane, Pete Anderson Road and Mayfield Road. He cleared trees on all roads and bladed debris and logs to the side of the road. Mike and Kim Felton also cleared trees until late last night on the Little Tamarack Lake Road.
Kenny Peterson Road: Terry Koscielniak bought the 80 acres from Joe Vink on the north Kenny Peterson Road far beyond the .26 mile of road we maintain and claim for gas tax. The road is under water there and we do not claim it as a township road for gas-tax purposes. It was established in 1920 as a 1 ½ rod cartway, ½ mile. Terry said he still wants to build up the road and asked if the town could work with him, either to help build up the road to give him access to his land or to abandon that part of the road to allow him to gate off the road if he builds it up. He wants to investigate the abandonment of the road for no maintenance. Mike said the people retain access rights to all former township roads and rights-of-way that have not been vacated, and Terry could only gate his own land, not before. Alden will give him the number for our attorneys, Couri and Roupe, but he will have to pay them.
OLD BUSINESS:Public Hearing on Land Sales in Wilma Township: Mike attended the hearing yesterday, August 2 at the courthouse in Pine City. “Purpose of hearing to solicit testimony about reclassification and sale of 200-acres of tax forfeited property in Sections 10 and 11 on North Duncan Road.” Mike told the Commissioners that the Board’s position has always been to oppose any selling of public land in Pine County, since these are hunting and recreational lands used freely by the people and our board passed a resolution in 2020 to the county to state such. He said the sales will go through no matter what, and they have a ten-year plan of other parcels in our township they plan to sell, including on N. Duncan Road.
NEW BUSINESS: Omniballot Counter Test: Paul and Patrice have set the date to test Omniballot Marker. Sunday, August 7, 1 p.m.
Primary Election: Will be Tuesday, August 9, polls open at 10 a.m., close at 8 p.m. Judges from 9:30 to 8:30. Paul, Patrice and Tracy will judge.
Appointed Election Judges: For primary August 9 and General Election November 8. The Board appointed Patrice Winfield, Stefanie Williamson, and Tracy Riley as judges. Patrice, Paul and Tracy attended in-person judge training and Stefanie can take the online training. To take it online, email name, email address, and telephone (preferably cell phone) number to email@example.com.
Wilma Fallfest: Stefanie asked people to mark the date for the annual Fallfest celebration, Saturday, October 22. We will have karaoke this year.
Annual Legal Seminar: Couri & Ruppe have scheduled another free legal seminar for Saturday, September 17, 2022, 9 am to 4 pm. Reserve at firstname.lastname@example.org.
District 7 Meeting: Will be Thursday, August 11, 7 p.m. at Chisago Lake Township at 12400 316 Street in Lindstrom. No online participation. Glen said he cannot attend.
MAT Annual Conference: Will be October 14 and 15 at River’s Edge Convention Center in St. Cloud. Glen said he cannot attend, but Paul said he has registered to attend. Two days instead of three as in previous years.
Public concerns about No Parking Signs: A number of citizens wanted to speak in support of Stan Riley and his business, Country Store and More, and that the county is preparing to post No Parking signs in front of his property and business, which Stan said would adversely affect his business. He said he has been dealing with issues with board members Gary Vink and Mike McCullen since he started his business, first over obtaining liquor and 3.2 and cigarette license and then issues over parking on Tamarack River Road. Gary and Mike refused to issue the cigarette license and blocked the liquor license until Stan remedied the parking situation. Stan made a parking lot and has asked people not to park on the road. Jim Bredesen said he has attended every fire department raffle and cars have always parked on both sides of the Duxbury Road and up Tamarack River Road and this was never an issue before.
Angie said she felt one of the Supervisors was unprofessional and at the April board meeting told someone in the parking lot that he’d like to run someone over, which she believes was her (when asked, she said that he said, “You know who I mean”) and also claimed that Mike made an inappropriate racial slur about the Chairman. Angie said on township property that Supervisors must be professional and she demanded his resignation. Mike denied saying this or making any racial comment.
Stan said that Mike has been telling and showing people his past criminal record, for which he has paid all his time and has had his rights restored and he said he has completely turned his life around. Paul asked if Mike shared this information as DVFD Fire Chief or as a Supervisor? If it was only as Chief, this meeting is not the proper forum to discuss it. Glen said it doesn’t matter, Supervisors are always on duty. Mike said yes, he has told the fire department board of directors about the record because they have to carefully vet people who apply to be on the department, including past records. Stan said this controversy has cost him business, and now the county is prepared to erect No Parking signs in front of his property. Even though he has made a parking lot, at times a truck with a trailer has to park on Tamarack River Road, and this will take away and discourage business. Due to this the Rileys are asking Mike to step down and have made a deadline line of 60 days.
Mike said he has had several anonymous complaints about people parking on the road and his only concern is for public safety because as Chief he would have to respond to any serious accidents caused by cars coming over the hill and slamming into parked cars and he is responsible for the safety of our citizens. Glen said we cannot make policy based on anonymous complaints and that people need to come to meetings like tonight and express concerns on the record. Mike said he did go to the county to express his concerns about the danger of cars parked on the road. Glen asked Paul to research how many accidents have happened in front of Stan and Tracy’s home and how many were caused by hitting parked cars and not just icy roads.
Glen said we all have a past, and people should be credited for trying to remedy their past and live as good, productive citizens. Glen said he has known Mike for many years and Mike has always been firmly against government interference in the lives of private citizens and has been against regulations and rules to control people who are just trying to live and do business and succeed, and he believes Mike has strayed from his past Republican/Libertarian convictions.
Alden said he doesn’t like the idea of No Parking signs in front of Stan’s business, and he wants everyone who is trying to make an honest living to have the opportunity to do so without unnecessary interference. He moved that the Board of Supervisors ask the county to not put up any No Parking signs on Tamarack River Road because of the anger and pain this issue has raised in our township and because Stan has remedied the parking situation. Glen seconded the motion. Mike abstained. Passed. Paul will contact Greg Beck and the Pine County Highway Department, Mark LeBrun.
Treasurer’s Report: (Attached) Patrice said total bills for August are $3,829.26, and she needs to transfer $3,800.00. Mike moved to approve her report and to transfer the funds. Glen seconded; passed. Alden moved to adjourn the meeting; Mike seconded; passed. Meeting adjourned at 9:15.