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Personnel changes dominate LP’s first meeting of the year
Jan. 17, 2020

Ivan Raconteur

LESTER PRAIRIE, MN – Lester Prairie City Council addressed changes regarding elected officials and others during Tuesday’s meeting.

Paul Dhoore, the city’s newest council member, took the oath of office.

Dhoore was appointed to fill the vacancy created by the resignation of Council Member Bob Messer in December. The council appointed Dhoore because he received the next-highest number of votes in the last council election.

Also during Tuesday’s meeting, the council accepted the resignation of Council Member Tim Dahl, who is moving out of the district and will no longer be eligible to serve on the council. Dahl was not present at the meeting.

The council adopted a resolution declaring a vacancy on the council. The city will solicit applicants to serve the term on city council through the end of the year. The deadline for applying is Wednesday, Feb. 5. The position will be up for election in November.

There was also a change in leadership for the Lester Prairie Fire Department.

The council approved the slate of officers for 2020.

Fire Chief Jim Hoof, who has served in that role for 19 years, stepped down, although he will remain an active member of the department.

Matt Tonn was approved as the city’s new fire chief.

Look for an article featuring Hoof and Tonn in an upcoming issue of the Herald Journal.

School project

The Lester Prairie School District has asked the city to vacate the portion of Second Ave. N. from Hickory St. N. to Fir St. N., and the north-south alleyway between two lots.

The city received a petition signed by the majority of the property owners abutting this section of Second Ave. N.

The council scheduled a public hearing on the subject during a special meeting Tuesday, Feb. 18 at 6:30 p.m.

Fire department report

The fire department responded to 138 calls in 2019, for a total of 1,571 man-hours.

Of these, 87 were within city limits, 25 were in Bergen Township, 20 were in Winsted Township, and five were out of the service area.

The majority (88) of the calls were emergency medical calls. There were 14 fire calls, including four building fires, one cooking fire, four grass/trash fires, two vehicle fires, one off-road fire, and two dumpster fires.

There are 29 firefighters on the roster, and two reserve responders.

Odds and ends

In other business, the council:

• approved election judges for upcoming elections at a pay rate of $12 per hour. They include Joyce Burandt, Gordon Houk, Cathy Houg, Audrey Litzau, Barb Parpart, Marilyn Pawelk, and Shirley Weisenburger. Additional judges may be appointed at a later date.

• accepted a $10,000 grant from the State of Minnesota, Department of Labor and Industry, Occupational Safety and Health Consultation Unit, on behalf of the Lester Prairie Fire Department, to be used toward the purchase of 20 sets of turnout gear. The council then approved the purchase of the equipment at a cost not to exceed $50,000.

• approved a non-voting membership in the Southwest Metro Drug Task Force at a cost of $2,100.

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