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City appoints new legal counsel

GLENWOOD CITY — Following months of discussion and deliberation including a failed vote just last month, Glenwood City’s common council approved the retention of a new legal counsel at its regular monthly meeting held Monday, July 13.

Acting on a recommendation from the June 22 committee as a whole meeting, the Glenwood City Common Council voted 5-1, with councilperson Steve Lee in opposition, to appoint the Hudson law firm of Nelson and Lindquist as the city’s new attorney, replacing current counsel, attorney James Krave of Glenwood City.

Nelson and Lundquist also serve the municipalities of the villages of Woodville and Roberts as well as Springfield Township.

The action came a month after  the council rejected a motion by councilperson Ken Peterson during its June 8 meeting to hire the law firm of Bakke Norman as the city attorney.

The change is expected to take place immediately.

Later in the meeting, Mayor John Larson said that he had spoken with Krave earlier that day via phone and that Krave had expressed an interest in remaining the city’s attorney of record but if he was not retained that ‘life would go on’ and all could move forward.

Krave has served as Glenwood City’s attorney since 1999.

New County Judge

Michael Waterman, St. Croix County’s newest circuit court judge, attended the meeting to introduce himself to the council.

Waterman, a resident of Somerset Township, told the council that he had been on the job for a month after being appointed by Governor Scott Walker to fill the position left vacant by the retirement of Howard Cameron.

Waterman, who had been in private practice in Hudson for the past 20 years, will serve out the final two years of Cameron’s term. Circuit court judges are elected for six year terms.

“I think it is important that you know who your representatives are in government and particular the judiciary,” Waterman told council members during the public comments portion of the meeting. “So I wanted to come out and introduce myself and say hello.”

Waterman also shared some insights from his first month as a judge.

“They just kind of throw you in,” Waterman said of becoming a judge. “There is not a lot of education or training. There is no school you can go to or veteran program or any thing like that. But everyone up there (St. Croix County Courthouse) has been very generous with advice and helping me out.”

“The first week that I was up there (on the bench), I had criminal intake. That is where you take all the new criminal cases that are filed. It is very busy and  a lot of cases,” Waterman noted.

“People ask me, in the first 30 days is there anything that surprised you,” Waterman continued. “The one thing I say is methamphetamine use. I knew the methamphetamine use was out there because I do read the paper but I probably had five cases already that involve methamphetamines.”

“It is just a powerful, powerful drug and it seems to be hooking our young adults usually in their early 20s and it is very hard for them to get off of it.”

“Law enforcement is doing their best to snuff it out but it is almost like ‘Whack a Mole’, when tapped down in one spot it seems to pop up in another. And once you get control of one drug you see another one pop up.”

“That’s the one thing that I will say surprised me is the drug issue.”

Missing Sign

Glenwood City resident Barb Stohr spoke before the council during its public comments section concerning a missing realty sign.

Stohr told the council that she has put her home on Walnut Ridge Drive up for sale and that she had placed a small for sale sign at the corner of Third Street (County Highway X) and Walnut Ridge Drive.

Stohr noted that the sign had been there for close to month when it suddenly disappeared. She subsequently called the Glenwood City Police Department to report the sign as stolen.

When Stohr’s realtor went to the police department to file a report, it was learned that public works director Doug Doornink had removed the sign from the city’s right-of-way to mow.

Stohr then said that before the sign incident she had heard that people were receiving fines for not cutting their grass. She thought it was the opportunity to have an undeveloped property in the Walnut Ridge development ‘cleaned up’.

“First I called the shop and I left a message, who I was and what I would like to see get done because I heard there were fines being issued for people that don’t cut their grass.”

“But my point here tonight is that it was a little suspicious that the sign was okay until I called to complain about lot seven. Then immediately after I called to complain about lot seven, the sign I was told could not be there because they did not allow signs in the boulevards.”

“That is not exactly a boulevard up there and there is a motorcycle sign down on Pine Street that is actually is that side of the street and that hasn’t been torn down.”

Discussion ensued between Stohr and the council centering around the city’s mowing and sign ordinances and their enforcement.

Stohr then questioned the council saying, “You going to let some people put up signs but other people can’t put up signs.”

Glenwood City Chief Robert Darwin believed that it was a common sense issue where people are mowing or are not mowing. If people put a sign where property is not mowed then it may not be a problem. Darwin gave an example of a dog barking  and people are complaining then it becomes a problem and draws the department’s attention.

“It is no different than when Doug (Doornink) is out mowing and he has to pull signs,” Darwin said.

“I am not worried about that,” Stohr interjected, “Because I don’t think it has anything to do with that, Bob. I think it is associated with the fact that I called and complained about lot seven.”

“I didn’t even know that it was your sign, Barb,” noted Doornink.

That led to a heated exchange between Stohr and Doornink.

Council president Terry Klinger stepped in and tried to assure Stohr that Doornink was not singling her out.

“That’s fine,” stated Stohr. “Everything here is documented and you have made your decision and I will do what I have to do and we will go from there.”

Klinger reiterated that the city and its employees were following its ordinances and policies for signs.

Stohr questioned why the cafe was permitted to have its ice cream sign on the sidewalk .

She left the meeting saying, “If you’re not concerned with the two not being related I guess I will do what I have to do and you do what you have to do.”

In other business, the council:

• Approved final payment of $4,688.23 to Albrightson Excavating of Woodville for the sanitary sewer replacement project on the St. Croix County Fairgrounds. The sanitary sewer that ran along the roadway in front of the city public works buildings and recycling center was replaced last fall and the restoration work was completed this past spring.

• Unanimously approved operator licenses for Stephanie A. Caress, Rachel E. Dashner, Whitney J. Ackerlund, Megan L. Samens, Alexandra R. Keeney and Lyndcey D. Jordheim

• Will send personnel policy to new attorneys at Nelson & Lindquist for review

• Heard a brief update on Summer Rec Program

• Learned from city clerk-treasurer Shari Rosenow that the city pool is hosting five sessions of swim lessons this summer.

• Moved next month’s regular meeting of the common council to Monday, August 17.

• Learned that the public works department had purchased a mower from the St. Croix County Fair Board for $600. Director Doornink said that the mower came with several replacement wheels and blades. Doornink also noted that the unit has drastically reduced the time needed to mow at the waste water treatment plant.

• Approved a $5,000 expenditure with L & M Wood Products to cut trees and bushes and remove debris from the south side of the former railroad bed, now walking trail, from the fairgrounds to 320th Street near the lagoon. The company will also clear Poplar and bushes from the north side but leave any healthy hardwood trees in place for the enjoyment of those that use the walking trail.

The DNR has expressed concern with the growth on the south side as it covers the city’s sewer main run to the lagoon and waste treatment plant.

• Held a public hearing prior to the meeting for a change in the ordinance to allow for a home-based business.

Jay Lovgren, who lives on the north side of the city along Third Street, is asking the city to amend the zoning ordinance to allow him to continue to operate his small engine repair shop.

No one spoke at the hearing but the council decided to give it to the plan commission, which will meet on July 27 and issue a final ruling.