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