By LeAnn R. Ralph
ELK MOUND — Sometimes you just have to wonder what goes through people’s minds …
On the evening of September 29 or in the early-morning hours of September 30, vandals removed light bulbs at the Elk Mound Lions Club Park and then proceeded to break them on the playground equipment.
“I got a call Sunday morning that the park had been vandalized,” reported Terry Stamm, public works director, at the Elk Mound Village Board’s October 3 meeting.
A similar incident happened three years ago, but that time, the light bulbs were broken on the second and third bases at the ball field — right where a player would slide into base, he said.
Both times that light bulbs have been broken at the park, clean-up has involved several hours of time and the use of a shop vac, Stamm said.
Damages also have tended to be just shy of the village’s insurance deductible, he said.
“It was malicious,” noted Tom Gilbert, village trustee, in reference to the light bulbs being broken where children play.
Several village board members also noted that since the bulbs were fluorescent, the vandals were probably exposed to the mercury in the light bulbs.
Broken light bulbs were only part of the vandalism, however.
The perpetrators broke a toilet as well, Stamm said.
Shrouds from the light bulbs were jammed into the toilets, and one of the fixtures broke in the process, he said.
The park only has one neighbor — which is good in terms of not disturbing the neighbors with activities at the park — but is not so good for having a number of people as witnesses when vandalism occurs, Stamm noted.
Pat Hahn, village clerk-treasurer, presented a bid from 24/7 Telcom for surveillance cameras for the park.
Several years ago, the Elk Mound Village Board agreed to put money from police department citations into a separate fund, and the fund now has $11,000, Hahn reported.
The bid for the two surveillance cameras is $1,195, she said.
Andy Peterson, village president, said village board members should be thinking about whether they want to put surveillance cameras in the park.
The item is expected to be on the agenda for the Elk Mound Village Board’s next meeting on October 17.
Chris Olson, a trustee on the Colfax Village Board, appeared before the Elk Mound Village Board to talk about a new service he is offering called “Leaves Only.”
Olson said he has acquired a leaf-composting machine with a 20-foot hose that sucks up dry and wet leaves and composts them in a matter of seconds.
Stamm noted that village employees in Elk Mound end up collecting piles of leaves that residents have raked into the gutters.
Cleaning the gutters are the village’s responsibility, although the boulevards are the homeowner’s responsibility, he noted.
The leaf vacuum would save time and effort for village employees, Olson said, because the device can pick up and compost a pickup truck’s worth of leaves in about a minute.
Considering the dry weather conditions, people will not be burning their leaves, and picking up leaves can also help for reducing phosphorus run-off, he said.
Phosphorus run-off in the Red Cedar Watershed contributes to toxic algae growth in Tainter Lake and Lake Menomin.
The Village of Colfax is required to reduce its phosphorus discharge by December 31, 2013.
Olson said he had checked with the state Department of Natural Resources about leaf composting and discovered there are no regulations until one location produces 22 cubic yards of compost.
The crushed leaves can be used as compost or can be disposed of at a landfill, he said.
Olson noted that he will be teaming up with the National Honor Society chapter at Colfax High School for a service project.
Olson said he also plans to contact the Menomonie City Council, the Glenwood City Council and the Boyceville Village Board about composting leaves.
In other business, the Elk Mound Village Board:
• Approved a bartender operator’s license for Matthew Farnsworth for the Mounds View Store. Farnsworth has had two OWIs in the past five years but has not had any felony convictions. Several village board members noted that the OWI violations were not related to selling alcohol to minors.
• Learned that 6,700 feet of sewer line had been cleaned and that 40 items had been inspected for the DNR’s five-year wastewater inspection.