11/15/2021 A Voice From the Gallery

A river cuts through a rock not because of its power, but its persistence.

          Mayor Haeder called the November 15, 2021, city council meeting to order at 6:00 p.m. recited the pledge of allegiance with Councilman David Larsen, Councilwoman Darla Reppe, Councilwoman Cyndi Peeples, Councilman Lukas Driesen and City Attorney Sam Nelson present for the city. 

          Mayor Header then called for the approval of the agenda.  The agenda was approved. 

Agenda Item #4 – Vacant Ward II seat interviews – None,  No one wants a “Pat on their back”   

Agenda Item #5 – Alcester Chamber of Commerce presentation by Kim Erickson and Christine Hakl.  The two young women gave a presentation on the December 3, 2021, event planned for ‘main street’ Alcester and which necessitated the closure of a portion of Iowa Street and Second Street.  Motion to block those portions off for the event was unanimously approved. 

Agenda Item #6 – Banner Engineering/Tanya Miller.  Ms. Miller was unable to make the meeting and would be rescheduling.

Agenda Item #7 – Public Input

(13:09.13) Councilwoman Cyndi Peeples wanted to point out a proof reading error in the minutes of the November 1, 2021.  Apparently the payment the city awards to the Alcester Fire Department of $1400.00 has become on more than one occasion $1,400.00.00.

(13:48.50)Vickie Larsen asked the following questions; the status of the Chesterman/Coca Cola sponsorship, Missing months of FOI request missing VISA payments for the months of May 2020, July 2020, September 2020, and September 2021.  (14:35.20) Payment was contingent upon a visual inspection by Lonnie Johnson of the street department.  But a check was cut on October 30, 2021, before Mr. Johnson ever left town to go to Cedar Rapids and before the vote by the council. 

(15:08.83)  I asked about a check in payment for a bill submitted by the city of Hawarden for $97.02 called maintenance.  I asked, “…did a resident ask for this?…”  FO Pat’s response (15:28.57) Care to try that one again FOPat?  You see I served a FOI on City Administrator Michael De Bruin and it proved to be interesting.

(15:53.27) I asked about a warrant for a clothing allowance payment of $115.98 for Wanda. Pat’s answer, Wanda gets a clothing allowance because she reads meters…Really? What does she need, extra long sleeves when she holds the meter reader? Does she need special boots to wade up to windows? By the way, FO Pat, where is the inventory of these pieces of clothing so if Wanda quits they can be check back in? H-m-m?

(16:22.63) Councilwoman Darla Reppe repeated the concern about alcohol being served in this event.

(16:39.90) Reporter Gordan Richard asked about the opening date for the Alcester Community Building.  (17:02.97) Pat’s response among many excuses was, “a water situation” which translates into the building cannot be opened to the public due to a fire code problem regarding water pressure or the lack thereof which may trace back to the water source hook up being before the water tower connect or after the water tower connect.  So tell us about the water hook up short cut that caused this oopsy-doodle.

(17:31.00) Councilman David Larsen moved from his seat at the council table to “stand and deliver” his rebuttal of perceived ‘mean’ comments.  (18:03.53)  “…45 years in town…Best city staff”  So what about what appears to be your Freudian slip by not including the finance office in that statement speaking of the ‘best city staff’  Let’s speak of the comment, “…Chamber Chair…”  the person writing on Facebook was not writing as the Chamber Chair anymore than a city councilperson singing in the front pew of her church is not singing as a city councilperson but as an individual penitent.  And yes sir, MY siding is dimpled and it shows.  (22:16.83) Councilman Larsen says, “..like Pat and Wanda whenever I was doing that stuff, I did not charge for the time spent or any mileage…”  Now sir you have been on the council for eight (8) years I think you said, did you or did you not see the OT hours accrued by that pair, did you or did you not hear and witness the health insurance stipend for Wanda and did you or did you not hear and witness that outburst by Wanda asking for on-call time.  (22:26.67) Councilman Larsen says, “…those of you that don’t like and I’m talking not to the group here but anybody in that camera, those you who don’t like the way the city is being run, Run for office…”  Sir, I Vickie Larsen did and was appointed, but you know how that turned out, don’t you.  In fact YOU voted to expel me.  You cannot have it both ways. Mr. Larsen goes on to say, “…Next April we have an election…there is going to be, I know three (3) spots available…petitions you can start circulating in February…The job pays $125 a month, we have at least two meetings, probably more, there are few benefits…there are some headaches and some sleepless nights and if you’re one of those people that would like to do that, sign on for the long term, ’cause it’s going to take you 6 or 7 months to know what’s going on… and for those of you who like the way things are going, might not hurt to tell somebody on the city staff you like the way things are going, ’cause like anybody else we like a “Pat-on-the-back” (23:40.50)

Agenda Item #8 – Jeff Nohava  (24:05.30), Mr. Nohava (26:01.36) states he, “was hired by the board”  So how much money are they paying ya.  You do realize that,

“…No part of the net earnings of the Corporation shall inure to the benefit of, or be distributable to, its directors, officers or other private persons, except that the corporation shall be authorized and empowered  to pay reasonable compensation for services rendered, to pay any necessary costs and expenses, and to make payments and distributions in furtherance of the purposes set for herein…”  (Articles of Incorporation NSO14556) (28:09.37)  

Mr. Nohava goes on to claim, (28:19.10) “We have hired an accountant and an attorney…”  and (28:57.23)  “…just part of my squad!…” 

(29:51.30)  Councilman David Larsen asks a question on funds.  (30:00.37) Mr. Nohava’s answer.  Mr. Nohava speaks of a power cot, folks these devices Stryker brand 6500 Power Pro w/XPS Power load combo runs $33,045.00 (30:27.90) and a 12 Lead PHYSIO AED will run somewhere around $36,000.00 to $50,000.00.  Mr. Nohava speaks of sharing the expenses. (31:24.63)  So does that mean the sharing will includes some portion of ownership, too? 

(32:53.00) Former President now Ass’t Director Jon Serck takes over speaking.  Mr. Serck speaks of the South Dakota Department of Health, Deputy Administrator of Rural Health Marty Link contacted the Alcester EMS about state interventions.  Folks Mr. Serck neglects to tell all.  I resigned from the ambulance in or around 2012.  Around 2020 I started getting calls regarding the ambulance from folks the ambulance owed money to, insurance company’s who were not getting billings and delinquent billing.  In fact there was a time frame billing for transports had not happened for three months.  You see folks, my name was on the documents as being one of the incorporators.  I was embarrassed to hear an entity I worked hard to get running, was running amok.  I contacted Mr. Serck asking pointed questions and was promptly lied to.  I asked was bill such-n-such paid and Mr. Serck told me it was.  I called the complainant and told him it had been paid and to let me know if he did not get it.  The complainant called me again, this time I told the complainant I would take care of the situations.  Mr. Serck got Vickie Larsen – the collector.  In that period of time, I did speak to Mr. Link and was not at all impressed.  All Mr. Serck and Fire Chief Kast could do was to whizz and moan about a fellow EMT.  Boys the situation to which I was treated was on your watch!  Trip reports had to be on time, Billing had to be on-time and bills had to be paid on time. 

          Regarding Mr. Serck’s (33:33.93) and Mr. Kast’s exuberance over the number of calls they have been experiencing.  On my watch our ambulance ran an annual average of around 100 ambulance calls.  This should not to be confused with the current number of calls because comparison is not apples to apples.  ‘Cause the powers that be,  mandated somewhere around 2020 the ambulance was to be paged out on every Fire call.  We had trouble with crewing during the day due to employers resistance to their employees leaving during the workday.  NOW all of a sudden no problem?  H-m-m! 

          Serck, Kast, Nohava and Mayor Haeder’s elation over the number of members on the ambulance roster.  Again not comparing apples to apples.  Our ambulance roster consisted solely of Nationally registered EMTs and Paramedics.  Today’s ambulance roster is made of a handle full of EMT’s, non- EMT Drivers, Nurses given special permissions and so on due to changes in regulations.  (34:48.03) 

          Again I do want to draw your attention to the financial side of the ambulance’s inability to generate funds.  You do the math, when I was on the ambulance we had calls to Hawarden, Canton, Sioux Falls, Sioux City and Vermillion.  Load fee was $300 with $8.00 per loaded mile. so Hawarden was $364.00, Canton was $484.00, Sioux Falls was $660.00*, Sioux City was $684.00 and Vermillion was $556.00 billable.  Spread that over 100 calls at a simplified average amount for the sake of example. $549.60 (100 calls) =$54,960.00.   Now, all transfers go to Hawarden and at $364.00 (100 calls) = $36,400.00    You do the math.  I was there, folks we paid a brand-new ambulance off in five years. *majority of our calls were going to Sioux Falls, where the patient or family wanted to go.

Agenda Item #9 – Legal Updates

Agenda Item #10 – Redistricting  Here we go again and again, and again and again.  Redistricting happened without us.  We had Attorney Sam advising us, yet we managed to miss the train.  We dinked around and dinked around, wasted our attorney’s time and our money.  No resolution but we sure did manage to whizz legal fees down our collective pant legs. (40:21.53) Nope, We’re Not Happy!

Agenda Item #11 – Updated 2021 Council committee and Chairperson.  How many revisions does that now make.

(43:57.97)  Mayor insists there are no classes for Elected Officials,  Au contraire Monsieur Maire, there are classes, seminars, tutorials, and SDML handout manuals for Elected officials (https://www.sdmunicipalleague.org/vertical/Sites/%7B2540DC39-A742-459F-8CAF-7839ECF21E89%7D/uploads/Aldermanic_Form_for_Packets_2021.pdf.

Agenda Item #12   Chair person Updates –

Agenda Item #13 – Police Dept  pushed back Chief was called away.

Agenda Item #14 – Golf Course

Agenda Item #15 – Community Building- Hiring more staff for an uncertain start

Agenda Item #16 – Finance Office

Agenda Item #17 – Executive Session SDCL 1-25-2.1 In executive session for approximately 1/2 hour with no decisions made in open session.  Both Pat and Wanda were included in the Executive Session.

Agenda Item #13 – Return to Police Department  Chief Schuller has returned.  Austin was awarded his on-call time as he presented again with chafing from Mayor Haeder perhaps he should have refrained from the Pat-on-the-Back he allowed with the previous police officers.

Agenda Item # 18 – Adjournment  7:53 p.m.

Contact City Council

Mayor Dan Haeder                             605-934-2287      605-770-7929

Councilman David Larsen                  605-934-2434

Councilwoman Darla Reppe               605-934-2602

Councilwoman Linda Talbot              605-254-3074

Councilwoman Cyndi Peeples

Councilman Lukas Driesen

Patricia Jurrens                                  605-934-2517

11/09/2021 A Voice From the Gallery

You as a patient have the right to tell the ambulance where to take you, and, if they’re able to do so safely, they usually will. However, some ambulances are assigned specific “zones” and are not allowed to transport patients outside of those territories.

insert photo

Folks I heard about this impending fiasco, so I went down to see for myself. As you can see from the photo it is true.

It is sad to watch something you helped build be ripped down and stomped into oblivion.

In 1996 after what I believe was a long absence of an Alcester Ambulance, the PA Diane Weber started recruiting to restart our city ambulance.  I remember her coming across the street, asking if I would take the class so we could get an ambulance back in town.  I was a Girl Scout leader at the time and every time I took the girls on a trip out of town, I have to find a nurse or first aider to come with us.  I immediately said yes, I could smite two birds with one stethoscope.  So I took the class.  Our first class was somewhere around 30 people willing and eager to take the training and testing to become EMT’s and bring our ambulance back.  And so began our journey.

As we journeyed through the anatomical systems of the body, wandered through the lobes of the brain, learned signs and symptoms, the treatment of catastrophes caused by trauma’s of all kinds, how to extricate without causing further damage to the patient, how to keep ourselves safe on scene, have situational awareness and EVOC (Emergency Vehicle Operations Course)  We had our practical testing which was hands on treatments and then we had the written test.  I had my National Certification as an EMT Basic.  Little did we know that was the easy part.

Now we had to purchase an ambulance because the city had donated the old ambulance to Hawarden, we had to find a place to keep it, radios and pages and equipment. $$$$$  We had limited access to the funds left over from the previous ambulance group, but now we had to raise money to pay for the ambulance vehicle, cots, radios and all the stocking of an operating ambulance.  We were so proud and excited.   Our community backed us all the way, but it was slow going.  It took almost two years and in 1998 we were up and running our own ambulance, but we did it. 

The crew was entirely voluntary.  Some runs over a meal-time we got a quick meal on the ambulance tab.  Some runs we didn’t even make it back to Alcester before we were called out again on an emergency, but we always, always took our patients to the hospital of their choice.  Our rate was $300 load fee, and $8.00 per loaded mile which put a trip to Hawarden at $364.00 and a trip to Sioux Falls at $620.00  Paula handled the administrative action, I handled the books and the laundry when I couldn’t trade dirty laundry for clean at the hospital and Dan handled all the maintenance.

When I left in 2012, we had $250K in the ambulance account.  We were saving our money to be able to build our own ambulance facility because due to HIPPA we were obligated to keep all records secure and confidential plus we needed an upgrade ambulance.

Unfortunately around 2019 I began to get phone calls that an ambulance check had bounced, ambulance payments were very late or insurance companies did not have patient trip billings yet.  I was shocked and embarrassed our ambulance had reached such condition.

I would like to acknowledge the current members of the Alcester Ambulance who have worked hard to get their certification/training and are willing to donate their time to the residents of Alcester.

However I do not condone paying Mr. No-hava no-sense $22,000 consulting fee and taking that money off the top.  Add to that it appears that Mr. No-hava no-sense has promoted a program where the Alcester Ambulance can only transport Alcester residents to Hawarden and IF you do not want to go to Hawarden they just will not show up.  I sure hope that is not the case!  Some lawyer is gonna  make a whole lotta money.

Folks when we took the class we were warned if we did not take the patient where they wanted to go, that would be the equivalent of kidnapping.  If ya’ll took them across the state line, well then that was a federal case!

Mr. No-hava clue, you ranted and raved about me.  I asked reasonable questions after I identified myself, you told me  “…I gotta go, I have an ambulance call…” and hung up.  When I called the Hawarden City Office to ask those questions, is Hawarden ambulance an arm of the city or an arm of the hospital and was the city of Hawarden aware you were being paid a fee of what I believed to $22K consulting fee by the Alcester Ambulance you were busy calling me back.  According to the message you left you managed to resolve the ambulance call within the space of three minutes  So Mr. No-hava-clue do you have an answer for us on how you were hauling in a substantial consulting fee while the City of Hawarden footed the bill of YOUR training.  I had more questions but you just wanted to rant at me, telling me, “…You sit and listen…”  You kept hollering I was wrong!  Well sir, I was trying to get truthful answers to my question.  Like the $22K and you told me, “…it is none of your (Vickie Larsen’s) business…”  I beg to differ with you.  It is my business!  It is the business of my neighbors.