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THE CITY REBORN FROM THE ASHES OF AMERICA'S MOST DISASTROUS FOREST FIRE
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Pound Fire Department May Start Cadet Squad

Issue Date: August 12, 2020

A challenge by Kevin Schutte led to a discussion being taken outside briefly near the start of the Pound Village Board meeting on Monday, Aug. 10. However, the confrontation between Schutte and Village President Terry Earley remained one of words only, and after a short discussion outside everyone returned to the meeting room at Pound Village Hall and the meeting continued.

Schutte had been Pound Village President before being hired as Public Works Director for the village a number of years ago. His employment for the village had been terminated by the Village Board in January after a closed session discussion on "discipline of a public employee." That decision may or may not have been related to a New Year's Eve incident which resulted in Schutte's arrest for impersonating an officer, of which he subsequently was convicted. Schutte had been Pound Village President for a number of years prior to being hired for the full time position of Public Works Director. His wife, Patricia Schutte, had been village clerk/treasurer for over 19 years until she resigned in June of 2019.

Even during their employment for the village both Kevin and Patricia Schutte worked - either as volunteers or employees - for Equity Park Bar and Grill, a bar, dance hall and recreational center in the Town of Pound, which is owned and operated under the leadership of a board of directors and stockholders. Those directors had their annual meeting on Tuesday, July 21.

The discussion near the start of the Aug. 10 Village Board meeting had begun during time for public comment, when Schutte declared certain parties for the village told the Equity Park directors Schutte could not work for them while collecting unemployment benefits from his employment by the village. Schutte said he was not employed by Equity, he donates his time there, and added it was much like he donated much of his time to the village.

"I donated the park, and the trees in the park!" Schutte declared. "I donated the dugouts!" He said he had also donated the drill press that had been an item of discussion at a previous board meeting. "When I donate something, I give it to you!" Schutte declared, and repeated, "Board members should quit calling the people at Equity and telling them I can't donate my time there!"

"You're making accusations," interjected Trustee John Homontowski. He asked Schutte if he meant all board members had called, or only one.

Schutte replied "some," but declined to say who he believed had called.

Homontowski said it may be true that Schutte donated the trees for the park, "...but you planted them on village time....you didn't donate the labor!"

Schutte declared he had donated the dugouts. A man in the audience disputed that, adding "...my Dad donated $2,500 for them."

"If anyone's man enough, I'll go into the parking lot and talk about it right now," Schutte challenged, and moved toward the door.

Earley took him up on it, and also went toward the door. Both went outside. Trustee Mike Rogodzinski said he'd give them five minutes, but also went outside, where they talked a few minutes and then everyone came back inside.

When they were back in the room, Homontowski again asked Schutte to "name a name," and declared , "Diane and Scott did more in the few months they've worked for this village than the last person did in five years!" referring to Clerk/Treasurer Diane Patz and Scott Fuelle, the new Public Works director.

"You'd better change your attitude," Dell Hannon, another member of the audience, told Schutte. "This isn't Kevinville anymore...it isn't Schutteville!"

"That's enough!" declared Earley, putting an end to the discussion. The board then moved on to other business, starting with the fire department reports by Rogodzinski.

Financial report shows the checking account balance is down by $108, to $16,633 after paying for entry level training for a volunteer firefighter. The department also has a savings account balance of $19,696.84 and a Certificate of Deposit for $3,075.71 in the equipment replacement fund.

During the past month the department had four calls, one for a motor vehicle accident in Beaver, one for a structure fire in the village, one for a motor vehicle accident in the village, and a MABAS assist call to a structure fire in the Town of Brazeau.

Members of the department had training on pumping, vehicle operation and hydrant use. Three members will be taking certification 1 classes, which are state funded except for material, and the department should already have material, which runs about $100 per student.

One person had applied to become a new member of the department, but the application was put on hold for the time being, partly because there isn't enough turnout gear for an additional firefighter.

Inspections had been put on hold for a few months due to Covid restrictions, and they are waiting for the state to say it is okay to start doing inspections again, Rogodzinski reported.

The department received a Covid grant for personal protective equipment for firefighters, including masks, gloves, and more.

The big news about the fire department, however, was that they are looking into starting a junior firefighter cadet program, spurred by interest of children aged 16 and 17 of two of the firefighters.

"We're just dabbling into this," Rogodzinski said, adding, "We figured if they want to a volunteer at a young age, we really can't turn them away as it is getting harder and harder to get people to step up in the volunteer world."

He believes the cadets would possibly be able to observe at fires, but would not be able to work at actual fires, "even as gophers."

The written report from Chief Turner Gross said their training officer came from had a cadet program and he is researching this. They are also looking into insurance.

Rogodzinski said the department will update the board when they have guidelines and requirements for a cadet program ready for approval, hopefully in September. He felt those who join the Cadet program may become Pound Volunteer firefighters when they get old enough, or may go into firefighting as a full time career.

Rogodzinski also gave advance notice that the Fire Department has hired Fire Cat to do certified hose testing, and on Friday, Sept. 18 Park Road, from County Q to the cemetery, will be closed while hoses are laid out there for the tests.

Fuelle reported he had put out flags for the 4th of July, started painting walls and doors at the Community Center, handled weekly lawn mowing and weed trimming, and trimmed trees on Alma and Business 141 for better visibility. Special weekly cleaning and sanitizing at the park due to Covid has been taking about two hours a week, Fuelle said.

Blacktopping was done on County Q and in the area near the water tower.

The garbage truck pressure relief valve is fixed now, but he had to use the trailer for the weekly garbage pickup on July 27.

Fuelle said Risner had cleaned out ditches to help drain water and alleviate the storm sewer problem on the west side of the village.

The Water and Sewer utility report, also given by Fuelle, showed the monthly water pumpage totaled 601,000 gallons, while lift station pumpage of wastewater totaled 1,414,000 gallons, putting the inflow/infiltration issue at 813,000 gallons.

"Now we just under three times as much wastewater as we should have," commented Earley.

Fuelle said once they get more ditches and culverts cleaned they will be getting more storm water drained out of the village, and that should help the infiltration issue.

Rogodzinski said everything is set for the village cleanup day from 9 a.m. to 1 pm. on Saturday, Sept. 12, the first Saturday after Labor Day. Months ago he had volunteered to run the cleanup day as a volunteer. Prices and rules for disposal are still being worked out and will be published in a flyer for village residents.

In discussing storm sewer needs for the mobile home park being developed by Dennis Lepinski, including quotes for various types and sizes of culverts, the board found prices for similar size and types of culverts have gone up by about $6,000 in two years for the amount needed.

This project has been in the making for about three years, and Lepinski said he is eager to get going. The board agreed a decision must be made in the very near future, and considered a special meeting for that purpose.

Lepinski said he is looking at about a week to get sewer, water and other utilities in. He is considering another driveway straight off CB, which will make bringing in utilities easier, and also will make it easier to move mobile homes in and out. Risner is ready to go, and Lepinski wants to be sure the work, including cleaning the ditch to the east, gets done before frost sets in.

Trustee Wayne Gross asked how the village will pay its cost for the culvert. Patz reminded the board they had not budgeted for this, but said the next property tax payment from the county will come in the third week of August. She said they also have $5,000 coming from FEMA for storm damages plus $9,000 for administration. The bid now is at $3,500 for the truck being sold on the state auction site. Earley felt a special board meeting might not be needed, since the Finance committee could get together and figure it out.

After some discussion the board agreed to put a "For Sale" sign on the salt spreader and sell it for the highest price offered. Gross preferred to keep it for a year in case contracting does not work out, but other board members disagreed, with comments that in another year without maintenance it will be scrap and worth nothing.

In April the board had agreed they should have Dan Risner do the salting and sanding for the village at the same time as he does that for Coleman. Patz reminded them they had said in April that they would put the job out for bids, and they agreed to go ahead with that. Fuelle said Risner's charges to Coleman have never been over $1,500, and there are a lot of new DNR regulations for storing salt sand.

After some discussion on how to best use the $6,032 the village will get from its "Routes to Recovery" grant for handling Covid-19 expenses, the board agreed to buy laptop computers for Patz and Fuelle from UES Computers for a total of $1,900. Board members noted they can use the computers to work from home if they are exposed to the virus, and Fuelle said he can also use his laptop when reading meters. He and Patz agreed that will save both of them a great deal of time. Rogodzinski said even without Covid it was good for them to be able to work from home if necessary. The village will charge the two hours weekly that Fuelle spends on special cleaning and sanitizing at the park as Covid expenses. Rogodzinski said the fire department would like some face shields.

By unanimous vote the board agreed to buy the two laptop computers from UES, plus three touchless paper towel dispensers - two for the Community Center and one for the Village Hall, and also to buy additional hand sanitizer.

The village is also to get $391 from a Wisconsin Electric grant for Covid related expenses and will use that money to get the plexiglass shields and hand sanitizer.

After an explanation by Patz the board voted without dissent to adopt an ordinance that gives the Village Clerk authority to schedule split shifts for election workers. She said that will prevent individual workers from having to be on duty from 6:30 a.m. until after the polls close at 8 p.m. and ballots are counted on election day.

Building Permits were reported for several roof repair projects that were done by Badger State. Board members agreed with Earley that board approval was not needed, "..and if your roof needs repair, fix it!"

Patz asked the board how to respond to an inquiry from a lady who asked what she needed to do to change the use of her building from commercial to residential, since the village has no zoning ordinance.

"Since we don't have zoning, I don't see how we can say anything about that," Earley responded. There was talk of other buildings in the village that have changed use from commercial to residential over the years, and the worm farm that changed use from industrial to commercial.


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