01/18/2021 A Voice From the Gallery

The January 18, 2021,  Alcester City Council meeting was called to order at 6:01 p.m. by Mayor Dan Haeder, , Councilman David Larsen, Councilwoman Darla Reppe, Councilwoman Linda Talbott and Councilwoman Melissa Kay in person with City Attorney Sam Nelson.  Councilman Marcus Ireland was counted present via telephone.

The meeting was opened with the recitation of the pledge of allegiance.

Agenda Item #3 – Approval of the Agenda was dispatched

Agenda Item #4 – Public Input – Vickie Larsen addressed the following topics in public input: cemetery, snow plow speed, website, and comment on felon participation on ambulance:

                    -I  noted I had received notification of incidents involving monument damage after my presentation.

                    -Website- still waiting- asked Finance Officer Pat Jurrens – still no launch date.

                   – I shared the information with the council concerning felons on the ambulance.  This was shared due the city’s placement of members of the ambulance on the volunteer roster and any possible blow back on the city if the ambulance failed to properly vet their members.

Mayor asked if there was any other public input, then he remembered he had been approached concerning snow plow speed with a video showing what appeared to be excessive speed.

Agenda Item #5 – Alderman Statement – Councilwoman Melissa Kay made a statement to the effect she was not running for re-election as Ward I representative.  (00:13:07.93)

Agenda Item #6 – Department Updates – Report given by Parker Dooley for the cemetery, Report given by Alcester Police Chief Jeff Christie for the police department regarding changes in the police manual involving a proposed Resolution 2021-02 on Use of Force and Report given by Councilman David Larsen for the Library.

Agenda Item #7 – Masks Mandate discussion – No action taken in lieu of additional language and presentation to the public. If you watch the video you will hear me talk in favor of masking. As I stated in the discussion, I remember polio in the 1950’s. I remember seeing the iron lungs and scared to death. I remember my classmate who had contracted the polio virus, who had to learn how to walk with braces on both legs by the fifth grade but he walked. I remember going through the crippled children’s clinic, looking around at the children seated in row after row of folding chairs and like me waiting to be evaluated. I remember seeing the various physical, medical maladies which brought us to that waiting room. I did not ever want to go back to that room. Folks, masks are a temporary solution to a devastating pandemic. I understand those of you against masks have many emotions about the mask mandate. Please take into consideration none of us want to wear masks, just as my classmate did not want to spend the rest of his life in metal braces. He had no choice, polio made the choice for him. While a vaccine for polio was developed in 1953, it took time and education to get everyone vaccinated. Meanwhile, children needed machines to breathe for them, (not the respirators we have now) but entombed up to their necks in a metal cylinder with a mirror hanging over their head. To this day poliovirus is still alive, but we can vaccinate against it. Until poliovirus transmission is interrupted in the remaining endemic countries, all countries remain at risk of importation of polio, especially vulnerable countries with weak public health and immunization services and travel or trade links to those countries. Only active vaccination programs keep a polio pandemic away. Our city council has agonized over taking the masking mandate step, it is not their wish to violate individual rights but they do have a duty to protect as best they can the residents of Alcester. I would respectfully ask you help and let them know you are willing to make the choice to voluntarily mask and not let the Coronovirus-19 or any of its variants make the choice for you. It is better to suffer the masking mandate for a time, than to lose your life, lose your children, lose your parents to a horrible death, or to lose your own quality of life to some unknown permanent medical disability associated with Covid. Thank you.

Agenda Item #8 – Finance Office Report – Approval of the Plat map for the former Alcester School building.  Map is shown below, however the map does not show the complete plat notations.

Agenda Item #9 – Community Building purchase of kitchen equipment.  Councilman David Larsen made the presentation for approval of $20,000.00 expenditure for kitchen equipment for the community building.  After discussion a motion was made to approve a $20,000.00 expenditure to purchase Federal surplus used kitchen equipment.

Agenda Item #10 – Executive Session for 1-25-2 if needed.  Mayor Haeder asked if this action was needed and Finance Officer Patricia Jurrens told him Yes, for 1-25-2.1 Personnel.  A motion was made to go into Executive Session for personnel and was approved at 7:30 p.m.  As the gallery made preparations to leave the council room, Finance Officer spoke to the group telling City Attorney Sam Nelson to remain in the closed session, along with Police Chief Jeff Christie, Police Officer Austin Schuller, Finance Officer Patricia Jurrens and Wanda Halverson.   Mayor Haeder shut down his camera.

          As Mr. Gordon Richard and I took up our positions in the hallway, we watched the council as they debated whatever personnel issue Finance Officer Jurrens felt was appropriate for 1-25-2.1.  I noted during the Executive Session both Finance Officer Pat Jurrens and Wanda Halverson appeared to be taking notes which I believe is questionable.  If notes are taken it should be the task of the city attorney as to the appropriateness of the notes.  In addition I understand that in those states which allow recording the executive session, the contents of such a recording can only be opened upon a judicial order.

          At approximately 8:05 p.m. Alcester Police Chief Christie and Officer Schuller exited the executive session.  At 8:16 p.m. Mayor Dan Haeder declared the council out of Executive Session.

Agenda Item #11 – Call for Adjournment.  Meeting Adjourned at 8:17 p.m.   

Contact City Council

Mayor Dan Haeder                   605-934-2287

Councilman David Larsen        605-934-2434

Councilwoman Melissa Kay     712-557-0689

Councilwoman Darla Reppe    605-934-2602

Councilwoman Linda Talbot    605-934-1849

01/04/2021 A Voice From the Gallery

The January 4, 2021,  Alcester City Council meeting was called to order at 6:00 p.m. by Mayor Dan Haeder, Councilman Marcus Ireland, Councilman David Larsen, Councilwoman Darla Reppe, and Councilwoman Melissa Kay in person with City Attorney Sam Nelson.  Councilwoman Linda Talbott absent, no explanation but can be available by telephone.(01:14.57)

Above is the oath of office which I affirmed on July 20, 2020, to support the Constitution of the United States and the Constitution of the State of South Dakota.  I promised to the very best of my ability to work for all the residents of the city of Alcester not just those located within the confines of Ward III.  I meant that promise, but in the performance and fulfillment of my promise it was alleged by a l.i.t. (lawyer-in-training) I failed to do what I promised.  I asked the October 7, 2020, Executive Session in which these allegations were delivered be open session and video-taped, I was told I did not have that right.  I was dismissed based upon the opinion of the l.i.t. without proof other than her opinion.  The form of Executive Session used in Alcester, meeting is closed and no record is made.  It gets down to she said, she said.  It is now my time!

The meeting was opened with the recitation of the pledge of allegiance…ironic.

Agenda Item #3 Approval of the Agenda was dispatched with just one amendment.(02:36.83) by Councilwoman Kay.  Agenda Item #18 Executive Session ( if needed) for SDCL 1-25-2.  SDCL 1-25-2 refers to the whole statute and should be specific to one of the purposes listed below:

1-25-2. Executive or closed meetings–Purposes–Authorization–Violation as misdemeanor.

Executive or closed meetings may be held for the sole purposes of:

(1)    Discussing the qualifications, competence, performance, character or fitness of any public officer or employee or prospective public officer or employee. The term, employee, does not include any independent contractor;

(2)    Discussing the expulsion, suspension, discipline, assignment of or the educational program of a student or the eligibility of a student to participate in interscholastic activities provided by the South Dakota High School Activities Association;

(3)    Consulting with legal counsel or reviewing communications from legal counsel about proposed or pending litigation or contractual matters;

(4)    Preparing for contract negotiations or negotiating with employees or employee representatives;

(5)    Discussing marketing or pricing strategies by a board or commission of a business owned by the state or any of its political subdivisions, when public discussion may be harmful to the competitive position of the business; or

(6)    Discussing information listed in subdivisions 1-27-1.5(8) and 1-27-1.5(17).

However, any official action concerning such matters shall be made at an open official meeting. An executive or closed meeting shall be held only upon a majority vote of the members of the public body present and voting, and discussion during the closed meeting is restricted to the purpose specified in the closure motion. Nothing in § 1-25-1 or this section prevents an executive or closed meeting if the federal or state Constitution or the federal or state statutes require or permit it. A violation of this section is a Class 2 misdemeanor.

Source: SL 1965, ch 269; SL 1980, ch 24, § 10; SL 1987, ch 22, § 1; SL 2014, ch 90, § 2; SL 2019, ch 2, § 1.

The agenda was amended to place agenda item #18 between agenda items #7 and agenda item #8.  So was the agenda approved by the quorum of four.

Agenda Item #4 Approval of the Minutes of December 7, 2020, and December 21, 2020, again without discussion or delay.

Agenda Item #5 – Public Input- Vickie Larsen addressed the following topics in public input: cemetery, snow plow speed, building permit, executive sessions handout, website, Nohava, who is the council president and vice-president. 

– cemetery– (04:47.70)  Discussion on this point is the driving over a gravesite with digging equipment.  During the process of excavating for a new grave, the cemetery grave digger appeared to have backed his trailer with the grave digger over the top of a grave, leaving large ruts in the surface of the grave.  I asked for the name of the culprit.  I got a non-answer from FO Pat, “a guy”  Really? I asked for a name FO Pat replied I think his name was “collie” another non-responsive answer.  The city now owns and manages the cemetery and FO Pat does not know who digs the graves.  The grave this dimwit backed over, Coach Sievert’s resting place and no one at the city level seems to care .

-Snow plow speed-(05:41.90) I reported I saw the snow plow (loader w/bucket) plowing the street in front of my home on Lincoln Drive at an excessive speed and that it was NOT Lonnie Johnson driving.  Again note the badger line I got from Councilwoman Kay.  “Did I witness this”  Yeah I did and it was not Lonnie Johnson driving the heavy equipment.  I also had reports from others in the community who witnessed the same excessive speed of the plow apparatus.  I asked the question, what happens when the bucket snags a upheaval of the curb and gutter?  Bucket gone, curb ripped up and something worse?  Please note the feedback Lonnie (11:13.80), Lonnie (11:30.93) and of course Councilwoman Kay’s badger banter (12:45.27).  I stated I did not recognize or know who was driving the plow apparatus, just it was not Lonnie Johnson.  Mr. Johnson asked the question, “was that between your property and Orville Embrocks…”  I did not realize at the time he was referring to an event a couple of years ago, where he snagged the water shut off pipe for my house, failed to let us know about it until after pipes burst in a severe cold snap and water began flooding out of my garage and they could not shut the water off because of the damage to the water shut off at the curb. 

Building permit on the Sunnyside Storage- This is where a retaining wall was called for on the building permit and the wall was not built.  I asked the question was the final inspection done, it has been reported to me that several building permits were issued and fees were charged, but there was no final inspection by the Code Ordinance officer.  So why isn’t the Finance Officer following up on this.  I believe there is to be a report of approval of the work issued to the permit holder to clear the permit and so the city cannot come back and accused the permit holder of failures.  Who is not doing their job?

-Executive Sessions– the present council and councils going back to 2012 do not have a working grasp of proper Executive Sessions.  I found a tutorial on Executive Sessions from a 2015 Association of School Boards of South Dakota which gave a simplified explanation of Do’s and Don’ts of Executive Sessions to keep the council from violating the Executive Session statute 1-25-2.  It takes Executive Sessions from proper Motion entering Executive Session to ending an Executive Session.  The Mayor and each council person got a copy of the handout and city attorney Sam Nelson got a copy with the copy write permission from the author of the piece.  (http:// http://convention.asbsd.org/wp-content/uploads/ts-of-Executive-Session.pdf)

Website– still waiting- asked FoPat – still no launch date.  I did ask if it would be in 2021.

Jeff Nohava– I asked if the ambulance had a covid clean process.  Mr. Nohava stated the ambulance complies with the protocols.  I have seen how the ambulance has complied with other protocols in the past. Yeah.

I emailed this question to the Finance Office, “Who is the President of the Alcester City Council and is there a Vice-President?  I seem to remember Councilman David Larsen was President of the Council, is that correct?  Folks  this is FO Pat’s response, her email to,” Mayor Dan, Please address Ms Larsen’s questions…Thank you in advance..Pat.  So I asked again, Councilman David Larsen responded he was and I was told by another council person that Councilwoman Linda Talbott was the vice-president of the council.  I had asked this question because when I got the boot, I did not know if the president and vice-president positions had changed.  Now we all have the answer.  Simply put the President of the Council takes over in the absence of the Mayor.  The Vice-president takes over if both the Mayor and President of the Council are indisposed.  So why was the question so far out of the FO purview she had to email Mayor Haeder to respond?  Makes a body wonder, doesn’t it.

No one else had any input, but given certain responses given to me, I can see why other members of the public might not be willing to respond.

Agenda Item #6– Alcester EMS- Jeff Nohava- reporting the service has 10 EMT’s/Nurses (RN, LPN), 6 Drivers and 6 Student attending the Akron class.  So are these 6 students taking the class in Akron going to be NREMT?  Mr. Nohava mentioned the ambulance had received a grant for a Lifepak 15 AED. 

Agenda Item #7 – Department Head Updates-

Streets-Lonnie Johnson reported the need for an upgrade of the electrical panel in the city shop ($1800.00).  Electrical Panel upgrade approved.  Street Vehicle Discussion- again-so we go from needing another truck with the capability to pull a trailer to the proposed purchase of a 2015 Nissan Rogue S (compact sport utility vehicle) 45,500 miles, no warranty, all wheel drive, 4 cylinder, trailer hitch unknown (per Lonnie) for an “out-the-door price” $15,000 with the now stated purpose to go to conventions, trainings, read meters (do ya’ll have drive-by capabilities now?) (25:40.90)and FO Pat and Wanda drooling.(we get a car, we get a car) Now folks key here is where is the money coming from,  Street Department?  I will direct you back to Mr. Johnson’s statement about the losing our streets (11:13.80) and the proposal to take $15,000 from the 2nd penny fund (29:56.53) which was originally limited to capital assets expenditures to pay for a run-around car? We keep playing games with the condition of our streets; FDR which was a joke, intermittent patching of streets are like plastering 30 minute wrinkle cream on a 90 year-old woman who worked in the great outdoors most of her life, and too many streets with no curb and gutter to stabilise the street.  But we apparently desperately need a “company car” to do what, shop?  What are the drawbacks to this model of vehicle, reports of seven (7) recalls on the 2015 model – one of which involved the shift selector knob, complaints of vehicle control and engine failure but it does have a towing capability up to 1,000 pounds when it is properly fitted for towing.  Motion was made to purchase the new toy and motion passed.  My question is do we have to take a temporary loan out until the second penny sales tax fund has recovered enough to allow a $15K expenditure?

Cemetery-Parker Dooly- No substantive update other than we need a new mower.  Wish list— a Hustler commercial grade mower with a 60 inch deck with add-ons.  Instructed to do more research (until the next meeting?)

Water/Wastewater– Dale Pearson reported the department is working on the wiring and installation of the new pumps.

Police – Officer Schuller reports the past month’s activity and reports the continuing recovery of Police Chief Christie.

Golf Course– Councilman David Larsen reported the golf course is closed up for the season.

Library– Councilman David Larsen reported the library is doing well.

Agenda Item #18 – Executive Session – if needed Councilwoman Kay moved to enter Executive Session 1-25-2 for Personnel, Second came from Councilman Ireland, with no discussion the quorum of four moved in to Executive Session at 6:46 P.M.  Everyone but the Mayor and Councilman Larsen, Councilman Ireland, Councilwoman Reppe and Councilwoman Kay was dismissed into the hallway including Alcester City Attorney Nelson, FO Pat and Wanda Halvorson.  Mayor Haeder and the four council members remained in Executive Session until Mayor Haeder declared the council of Executive Session at 7:21 P.M.  No action was taken.

Agenda Item #8 – Legal Updates – Alcester City Attorney Sam Nelson gave a report on city actions against the property owners of 307 Iowa and 205 Ofstad.  No Executive Session was not needed.

Agenda Item #9 – 2021 Retainer Agreement – Frieberg, Nelson and Ask.  No fees were disclosed during this discussion.  There was an amendment regarding the mileage charge for attending regular meetings.  The amendment was bungled.  Councilman Ireland moved to approve the Retainer with the second coming from Councilwoman Kay.  No discussion and a quorum of four aye vote.

Agenda Item #10 – Official Newspaper – Alcester Union-Hudsonite was declared the official newspaper with a quorum of four aye vote.

Agenda Item #11– Official Bank- Premier Bank was declared as the official bank of the city of Alcester with no discussion and a quorum of four aye vote.

Agenda Item #12 – Covid 19 Quarantine Policy- discussion.  Working off the SD Department of Health version of a quarantine policy discussion was initiated with Councilwoman Melissa Kay apparently not sufficiently read-in to discuss.  So why make any motions or decisions until the policy is in black and white and documented?  Tentative language was discussed but not in document form for the meeting.  Councilwoman Kay appeared to want to shove the policy through seemingly to cut corners of procedure, pushed for motion.  So the council approved in a quorum of four aye vote on a Quarantine Policy.

Agenda Item #13 – Masks- To mandate or not to mandate, that is the question.  FO Pat does not want to wear a mask!  (1:44:36.07) FO Pat says she is a team player.  As I said in the session, if the city mandates Masks the city office is the ‘face’ of the city.  Lead by example, Madame FO you are the example.  The language for any mandate will be available at the next meeting to be approved or amended.

Agenda Item #14 – Finance Office Updates

– Warrant approval- December warrants were approved by a quorum of 4 aye vote.

– CRF submissions – Covid Relief Fund  $116,623.80 in claims submitted by Alcester.  Need a complete listing.  How many of the listing are wish list versus Need claims?

– 2021 Resolution of Fees dither-dither-pass

– 2021 Municipal Elections – Sign up

*Councilman David Larsen leaves the meeting due to indisposition at 8:46 P.M.

– 2021 Wages and Salaries called.  I questioned the ‘quorum of three issue’.  City Attorney Sam disagrees, saying it is in statute.  I asked which statute?  I was told by City Attorney Sam, you can look it up.  Nice response Sam.  You know I have often wondered why Ol’Glas and FO Pat wanted to dismiss a seasoned, city attorney as Mr. Haugland.  Now I had suspected Pat had a ‘working’ relationship with the Frieberg firm and wanted to send some ‘tit for tat’ business their way.  So the city replaced a seasoned attorney well versed in municipal law with a young ‘whipper-snapper’ whose Bar membership was shiny with new and in need of practical on-the-job-training in the area of municipal law.  Councilman Ireland was kind enough to share the statute of SDCL 9:8:8 which I have read and will be researching and Yes, Mary Jane I still do read!  I yield to the SDCL 9:8:8 with its most recent update of 2017.  Still have a problem with merit raises for ‘perp’ walk experience. The motion to allow a 3% cost of living raise for full-time and part-time employees was passed with a ‘quorum of three (3)’ aye vote.

-Reminders and Updates.

Agenda Item #15 – HRC update  – the Sh*House is near completion and no rent increase for the four-plex.  I can see why they might not raise the rent on the four-plex when their view is now a Architectural Oxymoron.

Agenda Item #16 – Community Building Update.  Report by FO Pat devolved into a We did this, We have that, we will , we will.  There was an amusing moment when Councilwoman Kay asked the question, ‘who is we’.  Shoot I figured the ‘WE’ was Pat and the Lint in her pocket.

Agenda Item #17 – Update of the Volunteer Roster- Add three, omit two.  Again a quorum of three (3) vote of aye.

Agenda Item #19 – Adjourn –  Again a quorum of three (3) vote of aye. 

Meeting was adjourned at 9:09 P.M.

Contact City Council

Mayor Dan Haeder                   605-934-2287

Councilman David Larsen        605-934-2434

Councilwoman Melissa Kay     712-557-0689

Councilwoman Darla Reppe    605-934-2602

Councilwoman Linda Talbot    605-934-1849